Gun casings are also known as cartridges, cases, shells or cartridge cases. A casing is the metal or plastic cylinder that once contained the projectile part of a bullet. An empty, or spent casing, is harmless. Many gun casings can be reloaded and reshot, however many gun enthusiasts prefer to throw away the spent casings and purchase pre-loaded shells or casings. These spent plastic or metal (often brass) casings can be used to make numerous cylinder-shaped crafts.
A .45-calibre, 9 mm (3/8 inch) or .22-calibre brass casing is just the right size to make large and small canned goods. Print miniature can labels in modern or reproduction antique versions and glue or tape the labels around the casing. Position the "can" onto a dollhouse shelf or table with the open end facing down. The .22-calibre casings make miniature "drinking glasses" without doing anything to the casings. Oatmeal boxes or kitchen canisters can be made from .45- or 9 mm (3/8 inch) casings as well with a printed or drawn label. Watch your local supermarket advertisements for small photographs that can be cut out and taped or glued around the casing.
Emergency or match kits
Uncrimp with pliers or cut the crimped top away from an empty shotgun shell to make an even, level top. Fill the casing/shell with wood matches, a threaded sewing needle, safety pins, a couple of adhesive bandages or whatever else you might like to include in a little emergency purse or backpack kit. Place a cork into the top opening. The Exciting Scout Craft website suggests wrapping the empty casing in duct tape to make the shell waterproof.
Child-sized musical shakers
Use two spent shotgun casings to make child-size musical shakers. Fill one casing with dried rice or beans. Stack the open ends of the casings together and secure with duct or electrical tape. Cut strips of coloured paper to fit around the joined shells and glue or tape into place. Children will love decorating their shakers with crayons or stickers. Hold the shaker and shake it up and down to make "music."
Bud vase or floral arrangements
A spent shotgun casing decorated with paper and weighted with one or two marbles inside makes an innovative bud vase. For a larger floral arrangement, press multiple spent shotgun casings into florist foam and insert the foam into a basket. Insert individual flower stems into the casings, such as tulips or roses, and cover the foam with dried Spanish moss to conceal.
Press multiple spent shotgun casings in two or three rows in a rectangular block of foam. You may need to use a craft knife to carve out the foam for an exact fit. Lay a piece of fabric large enough to wrap around the top and four sides over the top of the foam block. Use chalk to outline where the gun casings are beneath the fabric. Cut the circles from the fabric. Glue the fabric over the foam aligning the holes with the casings. Place the fabric-covered foam in a basket or box. Insert pencils, pens and other slender desk supplies into the holes. Use a bandanna instead of the fabric and place the bandanna-covered foam into a basket for a country-look desk organiser. Glue a red or bandanna bow to the basket front or handles.