Upcycling a Vintage Canteen with a Flannel Shirt

Upcycling a Vintage Canteen with a Flannel Shirt

Even though my book is completely and utterly finished, I’m STILL thinking up ways to craft with flannel. And this project started when I spotted a vintage canteen that a vintage-selling friend had posted on her Instagram page.

Vintage canteen to be decorated with flannel fabric

Now, it’s no secret that I have a soft spot for vintage cabin/camping inspired decor. Remember these picture frames that I Hudson’s Bay blanketized?

camping decor with repurposed picture frames

But anyway, back to the vintage canteen. Old and weathered, it was perfectly fine on its own. But…my fingers itched to give it a little plaid love. Especially when I was thrifting and reached for a flannel shirt that turned out to be damaged.

Flannel crafts with a torn shirt from the thrift store

I mean, that’s fate, right? That the first flannel shirt I looked at was badly torn and ripe for repurposing?

An image formed in my mind…so I grabbed one more thing from the thrift store (a woven belt) and got to work.

Woven belt at a thrift store

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Flannel Crafts for Plaid Decor

First things first, of course, was laundering the flannel shirt. No need to iron, or anything like that.

Just a nice hot bath to kick things off!

Upcycling a vintage canteen as plaid decor with a flannel shirt

My plan was to simply cover the sides (or maybe just one side?) with flannel fabric. And while I could have made a paper pattern first, I decided to jump right in.

First, I placed a couple of pieces of removable double-sided tape on the middle of the vintage canteen. Then, I laid the flannel over the canteen, centering the plaid design as much as possible.

Next, I used pins to mark a circle where the lip of the canteen was.

Covering a vintage canteen with flannel

Then, I simply cut out the flannel circle and trimmed it as necessary.

Cutting out the flannel fabric to decoupage on a metal canteen

When I was happy with the fit of the flannel, I kept the tape in place to hold it. Then, I simply lifted up the sides and used a thin coat of decoupage glue to adhere it to the vintage canteen.

Decoupaging fabric to a metal canteen for plaid decor

Adding a Strap to a Vintage Canteen

Once the Mod Podge dried (which was just a few minutes), I could finish up my vintage canteen. And the finishing touch would be adding a “strap” to it!

Vintage canteen to use as mountain cabin decor

A strap in the form of a woven belt from the thrift!

Adding a strap to a vintage canteen with a woven belt

Because I didn’t have access to the inside of the canteen, the “strap” was going to be attached to the exterior only (i.e., no hardware). So, it would be purely decorative and not meant for hanging on a shoulder for long periods of time.

First, I cut off the worn leather ends that included the buckle and the punched holes.

Cutting off the leather ends of a woven belt

I would have preferred to use my mixed media craft shears for this task, but I haven’t found them post-move! Thankfully, regular Fiskars scissors worked pretty well.

Next, I used a soft measuring tape to figure out how far down the vintage canteen I wanted the strap to go. I marked it with a sharpie and simply hot glued the belt ends to the canteen.

Woven belt as a canteen strap

I made sure to do it in stages- first I attached the leather, then a little more glue on the woven section so that the strap was attached in a way that followed the curve of the metal canteen.

And just like that, my canteen makeover was done!

Transforming a metal canteen into mountain cabin decor

Upcycling a Vintage Canteen with a Flannel Shirt

Just in time for autumn decorating, eh? My cozy canteen fits in perfectly with my vintage thermos collection.

Flannel crafts for making the mountain cabin decor

I love a little mountain cabin decor feel during the Fall months. It just…fits…you know?

Mountain cabin decor with a metal canteen and flannel crafts

And don’t forget, if you love crafting with flannel shirts, then make sure you check out my book ! It’s now available and is full of other upcycling projects and crafts that use flannel fabric.

Flannel craft ideas and projects

If you enjoyed this upcycling project for plaid decor, then you may also be interested in this rustic table runner, as well!

rustic table runner

Craft on!


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plaid decor with a vintage canteen

vintage canteen and upcycled flannel shirt

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. I’m totally in love with this Flannel DIY and definitely will be try this one! I’ve been saving flannels for years. All I need to do is find a canteen. Thanks for sharing

  2. As always, a very nice upcycle. Love it !

  3. Edie Wendland says

    Love this plaid canteen. Think I’ll start looking for one to do something similar. Maybe a fairy idea. Love your ideas as usual.

  4. Mimi’s Attic says

    Really cute❤️

  5. Mary Loveland says

    Very very cute! I think you all should start saving for your own cabin!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thankfully, I still get to enjoy my inlaws’ gorgeous cabin! They took it out of the rental program, so they spend a lot more time there now! It definitely scratches that itch for me.

  6. great project, as usual. I love how your mind just thinks up this stuff! I am getting better at it but you are the Queen!

  7. So cute – great little DIY – thanks!

  8. Girl, you are the Recycled Flannel Queen – hence the book. This is adorable!

  9. Just because we don’t post a note much doesn’t mean we don’t love you! THe fact that I’m still subscribing means I do. You always have great ideas! tfs 🙂

  10. Sadie, you are just too clever! I’m always in awe of how your mind works when you see something very “usual” and turn it into something so “cleverly unusual”!! Great idea!!

  11. Love this, I am always buying stuff with plaid on it.💕

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