Recycled soda can crafts

Written by lauren vork
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Recycled soda can crafts
Future work of art? (pop top image by Tammy Mobley from Fotolia.com)

When you transform those old, empty soda cans into arts and crafts projects, creative recycling and metal crafting combine. Aluminium pop cans are some of the best recyclables to transform into craft supplies, as they are durable, attractive, and easy to work with using household tools. Use your old cans to create both decorative and practical creations suited for any level of experience.

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Squashed Animals

For these creations, use a clean, flattened soda can. Crush the can so that the middle of the can is spread out between the top and bottom circles rather than lined up with them. Decorate the squashed can with acrylic paint to create a flat sculpture of a fat, squishy animal (pigs, cows and fat cats are good choices). Use the bottom round portion of the can as the face.

Dollhouse Miniatures

Use the bottom of the pop can, along with some tin snips and polymer clay, to create miniature knives and swords to add to your dollhouse miniature collection. Use the tin snips to cut simple knife shapes, making them as long as both the knife and a handle-length tang. Make the handle of each knife or sword from polymer clay by wrapping it around the tang portion (make a beige and brown marble mixture for realistic-looking wood grain), then bake according to the clay manufacturer's instructions.

Flower Planters

Empty pop cans are durable and waterproof, yet easy to make holes in. Take advantage of this to create miniature flower planters. Use tin snips to cut off the top of each can. Make tiny snips in the side of the cut top so that you can roll down the sharp edges and make them smooth. Use a hammer and nail to poke about a half dozen holes in the bottom of the can to allow excess water to drain out of the bottom of the planter. Use this planter as a means of germinating new seeds.

Christmas Ornaments

Transform pop can aluminium into workable sheet material by cutting out the middle section of the can, trimming the cylinder into a sheet with a single cut, then flattening it by storing it under heavy books for a few days. Create star Christmas tree ornaments from the sheet aluminium by cutting out two identical, five pointed stars (use a hand sketch or piece of clip art as a pattern). Glue the two pieces back-to-back using a contact adhesive, placing the sides with the printing in and the silvery sides out. Punch a hole in the top of the star with a hammer and nail for stringing. If you like, decorate the stars further with rhinestones, glitter or transparent paint.

Pull Tab Chainmail

Set aside pull tabs from day-to-day aluminium can use until you've collected enough to make pull tab chainmail. Attach the pull tabs to one another using fine craft wire; make each row by linking the tabs side by side (one wire loop in both the top and bottom hole of the pull tab on each side). Attach the rows top to bottom with additional wire loops linking the bottoms of the tabs to the tops of the tabs below.

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