Instructables
Picture of Drink Can Craft
Make a dragonfly, butterfly, flower, festive decoration, plant marker or anything else flat out of drink cans. The cans are easy to cut with scissors.


Step 1: Sample drink can craft

Picture of Sample drink can craft
Here's a sample of what you can make using simple tools like scissors and a small blade screwdriver for adding texture.


Edit: In answer to a couple of questions the edges aren't sharp and don't need to be filed or sanded. But if you were making something with corners then that would be a little sharp. So just stick to curved things or cut just the slightest curve on any corners you do have.

Edit: The painted label can easily be removed with 320 grit sandpaper. I haven't tried any other grades.

Update: See http://www.instructables.com/id/Drink-Can-Butterflies/ for an excellent instructable that features a more 3D look and uses permanent markers to add color. It also has good butterfly patterns there to trace. Thanks clintonmc


Step 2: Materials and tools

Picture of Materials and tools
You'll need a drink can of course.

--Scissors
--Small blade screwdriver


Step 3: Prepare

Cut the can open. First of all 'stab' the can with one point of the scissors. Use this hole to get a start cutting around the top of the can. Then cut down the can to the bottom. Then cut off the bottom.

Roll out until it sits flat.

Step 4: Draw your design

Picture of Draw your design
Use a non permanent felt tip marker or soft pencil to draw on your design.

Step 5: Cut out the design

Picture of Cut out the design
Cut around the outline of your design. You might be pleased with how it looks. Or if you want a more 3 dimensional textured look, go on to the next step.

Step 6: Texture added

Picture of Texture added
The designs come to life when a little bit of texture is added. This is easily done using a screwdriver.
 
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clintonmc3 years ago
Hi, I have just published an instructable for making drink can butterflies and whilst I did search for similar instuctables before putting it together I somehow mange to miss your's, my apologies. Our methods are slightly different but even so I would probably not have published had I seen this first. Your's is a great instructable with some brilliant ideas.
bauble (author)  clintonmc3 years ago
Thanks for your comment, I know exactly what you mean, it can be hard to find similar Instructables until you actually publish and look in the related column. It's happened to me too.

Your butterflies are beautiful. You definitely needed to publish as your embossing techniques are more advanced than mine and your use of color is great. Great job.
Thanks the understanding and your kind comments.
sunshiine3 years ago
This is totally awesome! Thanks for sharing your hard work and great talent!
jakyo3 years ago
This is a fab' ible'.I have made 'sunflowers' using soda cans.They look pretty good. This is a different approach and I am going to try it .So many possibilitys
with this one. I will spray paint mine I think* I love the springy stems too .
Thanks for this one ***
bauble (author)  jakyo3 years ago
►►I have made 'sunflowers' using soda cans◄
Ooh, I must try that. I'm assuming you used the bottom of the can as the central bit and cut petals out of the sides and folded them down. I've done similar things with soft drink bottles but using the top of the bottle as the middle of the flower; but why oh why didn't I think to do it with cans. That's a great idea.
jakyo bauble3 years ago
This can craft is fun, You are right about the method . Too easy! I have used mine as quirky markers in my garden.
Love it! I'm thinking I'll probably string a bunch of these together - maybe a snowflake design - and put them up as garland when we get a bit closer to the winter holidays.
bauble (author)  mooseinakilt4 years ago
Thanks for the great idea! I've added a snowflake and a star to step 12.
Aw, thanks - I really like the way yours turned out! I'll have to post up a picture for you in the comments when I get the garland done.
Pretty!
redlizard54 years ago
how do you get it flat
bauble (author)  redlizard54 years ago
It will have a natural tendency to curl up with the painted side on the outside, so lay the painted side facing up and gently roll it the other way. When you let go it should lie reasonably flat. Or roll again if needs be.
safya4 years ago
very very nice thank you
EmKay734 years ago
I wonder if you could emboss texture from other items... like making a pencil etching from an engraving. I think an embossing wand over an engraving would work nicely!

Could be a great idea for visitors at the Vietnam War Memorial instead of paper.
bauble (author)  EmKay734 years ago
Hi, I've had to think about what you meant. I'm not really familiar with the etching/engraving example you gave. Do you mean pressing the can over something textured and then rubbing on it? I didn't think it would work, but I had a quick go rubbing the can over a metal grill pen holder. It worked reasonably well. I just can't find anything better than that right now to experiment with. I'd be interested if you have any ideas.
mgroodt4 years ago
I think you will like this site - it's all about recycling cans.  I have made the stars for Christmas.

www.aluminouspublishing.com
bauble (author)  mgroodt4 years ago
Thanks for that link. There was some amazing stuff there. Just goes to show what a wonderfully versatile material these cans are.
Avasar100004 years ago
If you have a Harbor Freight in your area, you can purchase steel lettering punches in 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 sizes.  Generally they run extremely good pricing on these punches (3.99 to 8.99) for a full alphabet and numbers 0-8 with the 6 and 9 being reversible.  You could even buy an extra set to make your own punch designs through annealing the metal, creating your design, and re-hardening the punch.
oooh, i could use these for homemade arrow tips! yay thx
tbeatty4 years ago
Very creative. We drink alot of soda, and this gives us a way to recycle them into something functional. I'm picturing decorative light switch covers, some fish for the bathroom wall... Thanks for the inspiration. =) 
bauble (author)  tbeatty4 years ago
Glad to be of help. If you do make the light switch covers it would be a good subject for an instructable for you to make.

I like your fish idea. Funny I didn't think of it considering my avatar is a fish. There's lots of scope for fine detail in the fins and scales. I think I'll make one. Thanks for the idea.
GodIsLove4 years ago
 Sorry I didn't read it yet I'm a bit busy right now. But from what it looks like I would love to make a heart.
bauble (author)  GodIsLove4 years ago
That's a very good idea. I'll make one tomorrow and post a photo.
bauble (author)  bauble4 years ago
Have added three hearts. Thanks for the idea. That cross in you avatar would work well too.
 Thank you for trying out my idea. Those look great, now I will just have to get a can and make some. I bet some of my friends at church would love them. Also I just got the idea of trying to engrave words into one. I might try that if I get around to making one of these. Thanks again.
bauble (author)  GodIsLove4 years ago
Yes, after you suggested the heart idea I thought of writing on them too. But I didn't do a very good job and forgot to write back to front on some of the letters. So I put it aside. After reading your comment I gave it another go and have included it in the steps.
 Wow those look really nice, I was thinking I could write a verse on one thanks so much.
 Awesome thank you I will check it out. This is awesome.
suezq4 years ago
Very nice 'ible and one that i'll have fun with! They could be spray painted on the label side to hide the labels if one didn't want then to show. I might try painting the silver side with some butterfly colors etc. A grouping of all aluminum ones in a garden, swaying in the breeze would be awsome too! Thanks for the ideas.
bauble (author)  suezq4 years ago
Yes, painting over the label would make then nicer. I've just had a go at using 320 grit sand paper to remove the paint and it did it EASILY and QUICKLY. I was surprised.




Those are really cute.
I'm looking to make plant markers for my garden. I bet these would be great. I wonder if you wrote on them with sharpie or pencil, if the writing would last.
Really cute!
I've done this, you can indent the name of the plant in the metal so you don't have to worry about the ink comming off.
bauble (author)  wocket4 years ago
That's a great idea. I've already indented some writing but will wait for daylight to take a photo. But I didn't make the connection of using it for plant tags. Wonderful.
A china marker/grease pencil will work best. You can find them at any office supply store and perhaps craft stores. They are inexpensive, the markings can be removed at the end of the season, and your plant markers can be used again next season!

Happy Planting!
bauble (author)  LadyInRedwoods4 years ago
That china pencil sounds like it's suitable. Sharpies aren't. I've decorated plastic bottle whirligigs with them and they fade after a few weeks.
BeDub4 years ago
Very cool!  Are the edges sharp enough to cut fingers?
wocket BeDub4 years ago
they can and do cut if you hold them at the wrong angle.
bauble (author)  BeDub4 years ago
That's a good question. No the edges aren't sharp at all even before they are textured. I just rubbed the edge from a piece of scrap on my thumb and it didn't cut or hurt. But as BadVanGohpoints out the corners are sharp. But your finished piece probably won't have any corners.
emjayg4 years ago
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