Tole Painting Ideas for Your Home

Tole Painting

If you love to paint, there’s a good chance you already have a preference for painting on canvas, paper, or fabric. But sometimes, trying a new type of paint or testing out a new surface is the best way to get your creative juices flowing!

Running out of ideas of different things to paint? 

If you haven’t already given it a try, you might want to experiment with tole painting.

So break out your favorite acrylic paints, grab a clean, dry brush, and start thinking of a color palette you want to use or a design you want to create. Here are seven fun and creative tole painting ideas for your home.

What is Tole Painting?

Tole painting is a folk art style of painting done on the tin. 

You’ll often find traditional tole designs painted on everyday household items such as: 

  • Teapots
  • Utensils
  • Trays
  • Storage containers

The word tole comes from the French phrase tôle peinte, which translates to painted sheet metal. It became popular in America in the 18th century but had a resurgence in the 1960s. That’s why most of the tole paintings you’ve probably seen in recent years (even if you didn’t know they were tole) tend to have a vintage vibe.

Tole painting is a technique as much as it is a style. Typical tole painting motifs include natural elements such as flowers, birds, and fruits. But you can also paint geometric patterns and abstract images on tin to create a modern tole-inspired design. 

Painting on the tin is slightly more complicated than painting on wood or canvas, and that’s because it requires some preparation. Before you take your paintbrush to a piece of tin, be sure to prep it by cleaning it thoroughly, applying a metal paint primer, and allowing it to dry.  

Ready to get creative? 

Here are some objects and items that are perfect for painting in the tole style!

Tole Tin Pail

A tin pail serves as the perfect canvas for a tole painting.

Paint one with flowers or leaves and set it outside on your patio for use as a flowerpot. Paint one with dots and stripes as an art supply storage container for your office or kid’s room. Paint one with birds or fruits to create a vintage-inspired catchall in your entryway or kitchen.  

Tole Tea Tin

If you’re a tea drinker, you probably already have a selection of tea tins in your kitchen pantry. Instead of throwing your next empty tin away, peel off the label, prep it for painting, and add a decorative design in your favorite acrylic colors.

You can also paint a tole tea tin and fill it with tea leaves to create a great personalized gift for a friend or loved one that loves tea. Just be sure to buy tins with airtight lids so that your loose tea leaves stay as fresh as can be.

Tole Canister Set

Looking for a cool way to add some personal style to your kitchen? 

Paint a canister set in the tole style to give your modern kitchen a warm, vintage farmhouse vibe.

Most canister sets come in varying sizes, so you can make this project even more distinctive by painting each canister in its own design. For example, if you choose a fruit theme for your kitchen, paint one canister with lemons, one with pears, one with apples, and so on.

Another way to make a tole canister set look super cool is to paint each tin in the same motif but in a different color.

Tole Vase

Add some vintage romance to your entryway or a bedside table by painting a tole vase in a colorful floral motif. A flower vase painted with a decorative floral design is the perfect way to display buds and stems.

Vases aren’t just for displaying flowers. Small, slender vases are also perfect for holding pens, pencils, and markers. You can also use vases to store cosmetic brushes, paintbrushes, hand tools, and all sorts of other household items.

Tole Chalkboard

Looking for a creative project that you can turn into a functional work of art? 

Paint a tole chalkboard to use as a message center in your entryway, kitchen, or office. Chalkboards are great for making to-do lists, writing daily greetings, and jotting down reminders.

A tole chalkboard is ideal for hanging in a room decorated with a modern farmhouse vibe. They’re versatile, useful, and when painted in a folk art tole motif, yours can provide function and serve as a unique piece of wall art.

Tole Serving Tray

Nothing screams folksy like a tin serving tray. If you buy a flat tray, you can paint the top surface. If you buy a tray that has some depth, you can paint both the flat inside serving surface as well as the edges and sides.

Painted with colorful birds, pretty flowers, or other natural elements, a tole serving tray can provide various functions.

In your living room, you can display it on your coffee table or place it on an ottoman to hold remote controls or candles. You can store it in the kitchen and use it to carry snacks and beverages around the house. When you’re in the mood for some rest and relaxation, use it as a meal tray and enjoy breakfast in bed.

Tole Candles

If one of your favorite hobbies is making your own candles, you probably already have some candle tins in your craft room. These are perfect for tole painting.

We love the idea of tole painting a candle tin with an image that echoes the scent of the candle inside. For example, paint a vanilla bean or a vanilla leaf on the tin of a vanilla-scented candle. Paint lemons or oranges on a tin with a citrus-scented candle. Paint holly berries or a Christmas tree on a pine, cinnamon, or bayberry candle. 

The options are endless … and they make great gifts!


Whether you’re an experienced painter or a novice looking for some new ways to experiment with paint, tole painting is a fun technique to try.

All it takes is an inexpensive tin surface, a bit of prep work, a few acrylic paints, and a creative idea. For just a few dollars, you can turn any tin or metal object into a one-of-a-kind work of art to display in your home or give as a handmade gift.

Read Also: The Importance of Painting Your Home

Author Bio

Caitlin Sinclair is the Property Manager at The Eleanor with five years of property management experience and many more in Customer Service. She shares her passion for her community and looks forward to making The Eleanor the place to call home.

Tole Painting Ideas for Your Home

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