How to Make Purses Out of Aluminum Cans

Written by karla h
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Though aluminium is abundant on Earth, it takes energy and natural resources to produce it into the easily recognisable can. Aluminium cans are a popular choice for beverages and are frequently recycled. As an alternative to traditional can recycling, crafters also use the cans to create upcycled items. Upcycling is using a material that would normally end up in the garbage and making an item of value from it. This purse is an example of upcycling the common aluminium can.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Soda cans
  • Scissors
  • Heavy-duty stapler
  • Paper (cardstock weight)
  • Black marker
  • Metal ruler
  • Naugahyde™ (vinyl or pleather can be substituted)
  • Small nail
  • Hammer
  • Wire (heavy-duty lacing material can be substituted)

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  1. 1

    Select a purse pattern and print it out. Patterns can be selected from the link in resource list below.

  2. 2

    Trace pattern onto paper for sides of purse. The two sides traced should be the ones with attached handles. Draw different four-sided shapes (squares and rectangles) within outline; these will be filled with cans like patchwork. Number each square on the first outline. Copy the numbers to the second outline as well. This will become the master copy for how the purse will be assembled.

  3. 3

    Cut up the second outline, separating the numbered squares. Trace shapes onto soda cans. Allow 1/4 inch around edges. Using your original numbered outline as a guide, decide where to place the can patterns. Once you've chosen the layout, number the cans with black marker to match the squares where they will be placed in the pattern.

  4. 4

    Fold can edges over to hide sharp edges. This can be done using a metal ruler to bend the edges over. Begin stapling pieces together starting in the middle of the pattern and working your way towards outer edges.

  1. 1

    Trace remaining sides and bottom from pattern onto paper.

  2. 2

    Create a strip of cans to fit shape. You can either do small squares like above, or the same colour can depending on how you would like the sides and bottom to look.

  3. 3

    Cut out cans for bottom and sides and attach them with staples.

  1. 1

    Trace shapes of the purse sides onto the Naugahyde. This fabric will become the inside of the purse.

  2. 2

    Attach the fabric to the sides of the purse with glue. Allow glue to dry completely. See directions from glue container for appropriate time.

  3. 3

    Using a small nail, punch holes around edges of each side. Attach sides of the purse by lacing together with wire.

Tips and warnings

  • The easiest patterns for this project will be those with handles built into the design. See pictures in references for details.
  • Can edges are very sharp, so use caution when handling.

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