totem pole idea from Family Fun Magazine. Instead of coffee cans, we used #10 cans.
We had sisters in the ward save and donate the cans and then purchased extra lids (you need two plastic lids for each can) from the cannery (.10/ea). We soaked off the labels in the tub and scraped off glue with a dish scraper.
For paint, we went to a local hardware store and purchased the sample size of a bunch of colors (we did red, yellow, blue, purple, orange, green, brown, black and white). The YW each decorated their own cans. The exterior paint really only needs one coat and dries quickly. You may want to take a blow dryer or two to speed up drying between layered coats (like for eyes, etc.).
I found a website that had more traditional totem pole designs and copied and pasted a bunch of designs into Word so I could print them out for the YW to look at and design their cans. Encourage the YW to draw out their designs on paper before committing them to their can! Their designs can be more traditional or more modern (as in the illustration from Family Fun).
To put our totem pole up at camp next week we will be using a fence post driver (borrowed from someone in the ward) to put in a fence post (borrowed from someone in the ward - we borrowed enough fence posts to hold up our totem pole and our trees!). The fence post will hold up our pole (we purchased inexpensive pvc and our pole will be about 15' tall when finished!). I will take a picture of our final totem pole and upload it when I get back!