How to Turn Film Roll Canisters Into Rad Invites!


Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Film roll canisters: these little but sturdy metal containers protect our precious film.

Yet for all their help, they get discarded during the film process, made to wander aimlessly through a sad landfill.

Restore them back to life (and glory) by turning your film roll canisters into nifty little invitations!

It’s the perfect way to give your pals the FYI about your next snazzy summer shindig or announce that wedding bells are a-ringing.

Recycle and indulge in your love for all things photography with this DIY!

Make Film Roll Invites


Cuz This is How We Like to Roll

beforeIt’s a photog’s take on a message in a bottle—but with no ocean needed to deliver it!

Inspired from the film roll wedding invites of photographer couple Trevor and Larissa, these would make fun unique snail mail that recipients are sure to “oooo” and “ahhh” over.

Besides making neat-o invites, they’d also be fun alternatives to any plain-old letter, notecard or postcard you’d normally send to your bestie or awesome pen-pal.

It’s made with easy-to-find materials: just get some film roll canisters from your local photo lab or buy ‘em online in bulk for about a dollar each from B&H.

A simple DIY that converts neglected film roll canisters into awesome ambassadors of paper messages—what are ya waiting for? Get on a roll!

The Ingredients:

  • Film roll canisters (with extras as back up)
  • Optional: Film roll canister opener or bottle opener
  • A 1.375″ x 11″ strip of paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • A pen

STEP 1: Tab It

beforeTake one end of your strip of paper and use some scissors to cut its corners to make a triangle-shaped tab.

Use your pen to label the tab you just made with the word “pull.” This so your recipient will know how to eventually read your message!

STEP 2: Put a Message On It

beforeNow it’s time to write that important/secret/ message on your paper “film”!

With the tabbed side on the left, start penning your prose—or poetry—on the strip of paper.

Make sure you don’t write too close to the right end of the “film.” Leave about 1.5″ blank, cuz this side is where you’re going to tape it onto the film roll’s spool (Step 4).

STEP 3: Make It Pretty

beforeThis is an optional step, but feel free to add some fun details to your message like we did with our sweet star hole puncher.

Other decorative things you could add:

  • Little doodles
  • Stickers
  • Stamps

STEP 4: Pop Goes the Film Roll

beforeNow take your film roll canister and carefully pop the metal donut-looking top off with your fingers so you can get to the plastic spool inside.

Use a film canister opener or regular bottle opener to remove the top if it’s taking ya some effort to do with your bare fingers. There’s a chance you might scrape the film canister if you use an opener, so have some extra film canisters on hand just in case this happens!

Note: If you’re getting your film roll canisters from a photo lab, make sure you’re getting the spools inside of of them, too!

STEP 5: Taping Time

beforeTape the right end of your strip onto the spool with your paper laying on top of the spool’s core.

STEP 6: Slip ‘n Slide

beforeTake your spool and slip it back into the film canister, making sure the strip of paper you taped on it slides through the canister’s slit where the film would normally come out of.

Then pop the canister’s lid back on the film roll canister.

STEP 7: Wind It Up

beforeNow take your film roll, hold it with both your hands, and turn the top of the spool towards you to wind up your paper message into the canister.

Make sure you don’t wind up the tab you made into the canister. If so, no worries, just turn the spool in the opposite direction to unwind the tab out.

Mark the outside of the film canister with your pen if ya want, and ta-da! Your film roll message is ready to be sent to into the world.

On A (Film) Roll

  • Customize it up with blank film rolls like we did above!
  • Try using different paper for your “film”, like vellum paper.
  • Make film roll place cards, a cute idea by Gianna of Chic Celebrations.
  • Here’s another rad use for a film roll canister: a handy USB drive!
Posted in DIY