We all know cleaned out coffee cans are great for storing things or for kids to turn into flowerpots. But there are several other very useful things that can be done with empty coffee cans that will give them a second life before they hit your recycling bin.
Here is a sampling of ideas I found around the Web:
Bake bread in them. You can even leave the bread inside the can and give it as a gift by tying a pretty bow around the outside of the can or decorating with patterned papers. Just use your favorite bread recipe and put the dough into a well-greased coffee can instead of the typical loaf pan. Place the cans, NO LIDS, into the oven to bake. The result: perfectly cylindrical bread loaves! (via families.com)
Turn one into a dehumidifier. If your basement is too damp, try this easy-to-make dehumidifier. Fill an empty coffee can with salt and leave it in a corner where it will be undisturbed. Replace the salt at monthly intervals or as needed. (via Readers Digest)
Create luminaries for the holidays or a backyard shindig. I think everybody knows how to make these: freeze water in can, punch holes in a design with a nail, thaw and dump water, paint the can, put a candle inside and light it. Especially pretty lining a sidewalk. (via granny2shoes)
Protect growing melons. If you put your growing melons on top of empty coffee cans that have been pushed into the soil, this will protect them from insects, and the heat accumulated by the coffee can will cause the melons to ripen sooner. (via Associated Content)
Give soups and stews away in them. In the winter time, I make a lot of homemade soups and stews, so I can pass some on to other family members. As long as the cans aren't rusty, use them to put soups and other foods in them. Then, you won’t have to fuss with people to bring your Tupperware back! (via How Can I Recycle This?)
Protect cookies being mailed. Coffee cans are the perfect containers for mailing cookies to friends and families. Decorate the can with fabric or wrapping paper, add some ribbon around it, then pack the cookies in! Box it up and mail it -- it holds the cookies well, so they don't get broken. (via thrifty fun)
Do you have any useful ways to reuse or repurpose a coffee can before it hits the recycling bin?