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May 9, 2012

Vintage Tea Tins

Vintage and modern tea tins have become a trending topic. Pinterest and special interest magazines are brimming with photos. Ebay, Etsy, and other sources offer a variety of shopping options as well as engaging history.


Ever since tea (Camellia sinensis) began to emerge as a healthy elixir during the Qin Dynasty (3rd century BC), innovation was not just reserved for processing and classification, but also toward creative packaging. The first goal was obviously to protect the fresh tea leaves from spoilage; however, throughout the centuries, packaging soon became a way to attract the consumer. As if tea was not enticement enough, enthusiasts had elegant and colorful cannisters to lure them into the pleasurable potions contained within.


On an investment level, there is always joy in finding any antique in immaculate condition. Yet vintage tea tins seem to have more character with a few blemishes here and there. Even with rust, dents, scratched or chipped paint, the tins evoke fond connections to slower and simpler times.

With a longtime fascination for tea, I am surprised that I haven't already begun to collect these charming containers. Yet, it makes me happy that I can walk by something for years and finally see it for the first time. We will never exhaust discovery.

I am seeing vintage tea cannisters "upcycled" as jewelry, hanging lamps, sculptures, and mobiles. Fresh picked flowers have found a new home in modern and vintage tea canisters.

As vases, the tins add a spark of vibrant energy to tablescapes, coffee tables, and vignettes. Try showcasing one tin of florals or clustering several similar or dissimilar tins together. Whether using mixture or unifying elements, you'll love the results!

NOTE: I had some artistic fun with some vintage tea tin photos. I thought the results were interesting.

1 comment:

The HopeChest said...

I love any kind of old tin or canister. They portray what is inside so elegantly, charmingly, and are of another time and world. I'm going to check out Pinterest, too.
Thanks for your post.
Marsha