Introduction: Aluminum Bottle Tumbler Cup & Cook Pot for an Alcohol Stove

Picture of Aluminum Bottle Tumbler Cup & Cook Pot for an Alcohol Stove
Roll a rim on an Aluminum Bottle to create a Tumbler Cup, or a Cook Pot for a backpacking stove.

This instructable walks through the process of making a mouth-friendly edge on an aluminum bottle turning it into a Cool Reusable Metal Tumbler Cup.

The steps outlined here are, stand-alone, instructions to make a complete Metal Tumber from an aluminum bottle; suitable to use as a lightweight tankard for all your favorite beverages.
(I recommend the chilled kind. Remember science?...aluminum is an excellent heat conductor; you don't want hot cocoa burns on your fingertips as well as the tip of your tongue!)

However... those of you familiar with the Aluminum Bottle Backpacking Stove,
( ) will also recognize the technique demonstrated here, as a means for creating light weight cooking tools to accompany an alcohol stove.

The video below shows these Aluminum Bottles & Tumblers in use as a lightweight backpacking cook / storage system.

Step 1:

Picture of

I have gotten inquires about the availability of this style aluminum bottle.
The bottles are obviously used for beer (and I know at least one soft drink) however, availability of either (or any for that matter) varies by region.

As an added note: I had reservation about posting an instructable that featured an alcohol container as it is not appropriate for all. I would have perfered to use a soft drink bottle however due to availability in my area, I only have found the beer bottle variety.
But ultimately, its the aluminum bottle that we're interested in, not necessarly the beverage. Dispose of the contents as you deem appropriate, or seek out empties through another source.

(Along the same lines: I am pretty sure not everyone who has built a bar-b-que from a steel barrel personally bought, and consumed the 50 gallons of Crude Oil inside to get to an empty drum.)

Step 2: Cut the Neck Off

Picture of Cut the Neck Off

Cut the neck off the bottle at the location shown in the picture. It should be at the full diameter of the bottle; below where the neck starts to taper.

Aluminum bottles are a thicker gauge than aluminum cans so utility knives won't work.

I use a hack saw to cut the bottle. Cut around the diameter rather than trying to cut straight through. The saw teeth will catch on the edge of the bottle and leave ragged edges.

Step 3: Start the Flare

Picture of Start the Flare

The edge of the bottle needs to be rolled back on itself 2 times this tuck the sharp edge under the second roll and away from contact during sipping.

Start to flare the edge of the bottle. A 1" diameter wooden dowel works well.

Start by placing the dowel in the bottle so it is resting on the bottom. Rotate the dowel around the edge of the bottle.

Use a "stirring" motion as you press the dowel outward against the bottle's edge.

Gradually pull the dowel up off the bottom of the bottle while stirring to increase the angle of the bend.

Step 4: Rolling the Edge

Picture of Rolling the Edge

Flare the bottle with the dowel until the bottle has a flange as shown.

At this point, place the bottle on a flat surface. A soft wood surface works well. The bottle will slightly press into the soft wood giving it some grip. This helps keep the bottle from slipping while rolling.

Tilt the bottle it so that only a portion of the edge is in contact with the wood. Press down on the bottle and rock it in a circular motion; keeping only a small portion of the edge in contact with the wood at any given time.

The second photo shows the rolling in a sequence of pictures

Do not try to do all the bending in one rotation.

Gradually increase the downward pressure on the bottle as you roll it around several times. You want a nice controlled edge without any kinks or variation in flange length.

The third photo shows the flange after rolling

Step 5: Increase the Roll Angle

Picture of Increase the Roll Angle

As the Flange starts to roll back on itself, gradually increase the angle of the bottle slant while continuing to rock the bottle around

Eventually you will be rolling the bottle almost on its side to get the cut edge of the flange as close to the bottle's side wall as possible.

Step 6: Closing the Edge

Picture of Closing the Edge

Use the wooden dowel to finish working the cut edge of the flange against the bottle side wall.

The edge needs to be "tucked in" for the start of the next roll. The goal is to not collapse the cross section of the rim with a hard crease. The edge wants to curl inward.

Step 7: Second Roll

Picture of Second Roll

Start to flare the rim for the second roll.

Use the dowel to flare the rim just like for the first roll. Then rock the cup on a flat surface just like before.

Be careful that the first fold does not coming unrolled as you start the second flare and roll. The cut edge needs to be tucked into the second roll.

Reference the second picture.

Step 8: Finish

Picture of Finish

Again use the dowel to finish pressing the second roll tight against the can.

Adding just the start of a third flare, will help to close the gap between the sidewall and the second roll.

Stretch the rim by placing the dowel in the bottle and repeat the stirring motion. This will bring the rim back from any "out of round" bending that might have occurred.

The stretching also increases the "hoop tension" on the rolled rim to finish pulling it tight against the side wall.

The photos show the finished product with a tight fitting rim.

Step 9: Ready to Use

Picture of Ready to Use

You now have an aluminum Tumbler cup. Just fill it with your favorite beverage. The heavier wall thickness of aluminum bottles adds just the right amount of heft to the feel.

The finished Tumbler won't crush or have that "oil can" flex like aluminum cans. They feel, and look like any other tumblers you could use and store in your cupboard.

Go ahead, make a whole dinner service worth of them!

Step 10: Additional Camp Use.

Picture of Additional Camp Use.

This Tumbler also works as a Storage Cover and Cook Pot for an Aluminum Bottle Alcohol Stove.

The video in step 1 shows both of these in action.

There are designs for aluminum can cook pots however they don't compare to the strength and durability of an aluminum bottle.

The Stove Instructable found at this link.

Note: Because the cooking pot also stores the stove, the bottle was stretched to fit over the stove before the edge was rolled.


weish (author)2015-05-06

this is great. my girlfriend drink a lot of coconut water, which comes in heavy steel cans, and I've always felt a bit bad that they just go to waste. they should totally work as tumblers like these heavy aluminum bottles, with the added benefit of being magnetic and even stronger. definitely have to try this.

RTmasPrime made it! (author)2015-04-06

Made a 2014 World Cup version, great instructable, just wish I'd taken a bit more time on the folding (got a bit excited) but can't wait to use it. Thanks
(Yorkshire, England)

camping crazy (author)2013-11-11

These are awesome!!! But you shouldn't cook in them, aluminum gives off really bad chemicals when heated. But still they are awesome and are probably fine for occasional use!!

spark master (author)2010-05-10

incredible, I thought you would need to fire the rim first, it might even be helpful. I wish I had gotten into making these BEFORE the bottles became extinct! 

can't really get them  here on LI w/o extreme expense, and if you do not like Bud, (me), or can't drink anymore anyway , (me) , then y'all screwed. I would love to try this out . Anyone out there know of any place out here that sell it on premise , so I could try to scrounge them ??



In Pennsylvania I first saw the aluminum bottles at the local bar for a special event. Mostly I don't see them at the bar but now the beer distributer sells Bud alum. bottles by the case. I suggest checking at your local drinking establishments, that is if you're still allowed to enter.

Hi Limb Reaper, DAD BURNIT IT! I found your reply the day I got back from Pennsylvannia !! AARRGGHH I even passed two beer distributors. I gotta say I hate Budweiser so I would never have bought the stuff, do they have Deposit bottles there? sparkie

Ha, I'm hot a big Bud fan either. No we don't have any deposits in my area North of Pittsburgh. I suggest buying a case and gifting it on the condition that the receiver returns the bottles to you.

Grey_Wolfe (author)TheLimbReaper2013-08-02

I did almost this very thing.

Having wanted the bottles for awhile to make the various Ible goodies, I finally found them at the local Safeway.

Bought a case for our anniversary BBQ and just told everyone to put the bottles back into the box when they were empty.

Still got a bottle sitting in my fridge waiting for someone with different tastes to visit, but I got my bottles. :D

spark master (author)Grey_Wolfe2013-08-05

By next year I am told Dinkle Acker will re debut here in cans, but drinkable beer/pilsner

TheLimbReaper (author)Grey_Wolfe2013-08-02

Wow! This was such an old post I almost forgot about it. I haven't messed with the stoves for a while. My design ideas ran their course I guess. I'm still sitting on a handful of the good bottles just in case though :-)

TheLimbReaper (author)Grey_Wolfe2013-08-02

Wow! This was such an old post I almost forgot about it. I haven't messed with the stoves for a while. My design ideas ran their course I guess. I'm still sitting on a handful of the good bottles just in case though :-)

Hi, Good Idea, gone flat. Anybody I know that I would willingly give a caser of beer to (at a very high price), would not be caught dead with a Bud in their hands. All of us drink german stuff. This week a big special by us is buy a case of Hoffbrau October fest, get a 1 liter Stein (glass, not clay :-( ) free. I have two now, (or soon will, they owe me one). I may buy a few (if I can find them) and just dump them out. I can drink maybe two then they destroy me, bad hamngover or futzie head next day. Drink the Deutch stuff, no worries. I just wish I had gotten your email B$ I left PA , I passed two beer distributors on way home. Of course in PA one must buy "cases" from a beer distributor, here in NY it is wacko, but I can buy onsies and twosies in a BD. ttfn sparkie

JoshuaSmock (author)2011-07-28

Venom Energy drinks come in thick aluminum bottles, as a non-alcoholic alternative, also it's made by Dr Pepper Snapple so it's widely available.

Grey_Wolfe (author)JoshuaSmock2013-08-02

Venom are one of my preferred crafting bottles as well. The resealable top is a huge plus. And they aren't as narrow as the beer bottles.

However the bottle is not nearly as sturdy as the Bud and Coke bottles. Also, and this is my main reason for seeking out other sources than Venom, they do not have a bottom shape that allows them to be used effectively as a die.

tinkrtur1 (author)2012-12-03

I contacted Budweiser HQ and gave them my zip code. They provided me with the names of places to purchase their beer in my local area. You might want to try the same with coca-cola, pepsi-co, coors, etc.

AbbieX (author)2012-06-01

Dollar Tree sells cheapo aluminum water "bottles" guessed it...$1! Yeah, I would rather go this route than to choke down a budmiloors!

WayfinderAli (author)2010-09-20

a few matching pairs of these would make a great inexpensive wedding present if you have friends that are big drinkers. We have friend who are HUGE drinkers and wish I could have made them some for their recent wedding.

nodnol (author)2009-09-24

What kind of lining is in the aluminum bottle? Doctors and food safety specialists often say not to store food or beverages in opened aluminum containers, or re-use the containers because the aluminum may leach out. Aluminum consumption is linked to Alzheimer's Disease. However, if the bottle has a protective lining, it should be ok to re-use.

hpstoutharrow (author)nodnol2009-09-24

I believe most metal food and beverage containers are sprayed with a food grade epoxy coating to prevent contact (and chemical reactions) between the food and metal.

mrsayao (author)hpstoutharrow2009-09-25

Some cans are lined with BPA. The use of BPA has become a huge debate. The food packaging industry is clearly for the use of BPA as it does exactly what you two are stating, however the flip side of the debate mothers, doctors have begun to voice their experiences with it. Canada has begun to ban the chemical in all food grade containers. It's sad to come to know that since a lot of things in this world can cause cancer, it would be extremely difficult to stay away from everything that is "cancer causing." I'm against BPA use, but I am TOTALLY for these aluminum tumblers!!! Good job, I've always wanted to know how to roll an aluminum lip like that!

kill-a-watt (author)mrsayao2010-09-02

My understanding is that the entire industry is phasing out that type of plastic liner for all types of cans. I think I saw a news story on that only a few weeks ago.

jaberwok32 (author)2009-10-08

hpstoutharrow ,  I think your instruckable is fantastic.  I made the backpackstove, it works great.  I have a question though, when I try to roll the edge of the tumbler, I get to the point when you work it on the wood, the lip is beveled out flat and when I start the rolling over process on the first roll I constantly get a crack .  Im having trouble getting the first roll to lay flat against the can.  Ive tried so much my fiance is beginging to think Im an Alcoholic.  Lol   Am I putting too much pressure? Going to fast?  If you could enlighten me that would be great.   Im sure your an expert and these are just amature mistakes but I would really like a tumbler set lol.

hpstoutharrow (author)jaberwok322009-10-08

A few split when I first started. I hope something here helps:
1. Make sure the cut edge is free of saw nicks, burrs, and file marks. There should be no edge imperfections that could initiate a crack.
2. The cut edge should be flat. After any cutting or de-burr filing turn the edge on emery cloth placed on a flat surface. Removing material this way eliminates high spots on the edge and ensures the edge has a full wall stock thickness.
(see the first photo below)
3. When the flare is started make sure the edge is not too wide.
4. When rocking the bottle on the wood to roll the edge, do it gradually and evenly. It will take a number of turns. Periodically stop and examine the edge to make sure it is rolling evenly. Adjust downward pressure accordingly.
5.  Make sure the bottle stays round while rocking the bottle do not apply so much downward force that the edge of the bottle takes on an extreme oval shape. Stop occasionally and use the dowel or push bottle over the neck end of another bottle or use a PVC pipe connector (photo 2 below) to "stretch" the edge back into round.

Good luck and keep trying. Let me know if you succeed.

Ah gee, looking at your pics. I guess I can't add much useful as I too figured out to use the PVC collars also. I can suggest to use the shortened bottom of a "cottle" and a leather mallet to help form an "inside" rolled lip. This works especially well if the bottle bottom is streached first. Also some single use propane cylinders (Worthington brand) when cut open (extreme caution warning: Be certain cylinder is completely empty before cutting open) have a dished bottom wish is handy in forming an internal bead. The "forming" can bottom must have a small hole drilled in it to avoid a vaccum. I hope that's helpful to somebody.

TheLimbReaper (author)2010-08-21

I wouldn't get too excited about posting the "beer bottle" stove since most kiddies know what beer is. I do have to agree with the comments against using the cans as the primary cooking vessel as they certainly are lined (at least the soda cans). With that said; I have thrown caution to the wind and made a coffee percolator from Bud bottles myself.

lostdragon (author)2010-08-02

I wouldn't use one of these to cook anything in. They are usually lined with something that isn't made to be heated and you'll end up eating it. Somebody e-mailed Heineken in a different 'ible about making a cook pot out of their beer cans and they replied with as much. Be careful.

TANZMEISTER (author)lostdragon2010-08-02

They're lined with plastic. Though any that will vaporize will burn off the first time you use it. And you don't eat the flames (I hope).

TANZMEISTER (author)2010-07-17

using another bottle as a pot is a neat concept. However, it seems that with the flames racing up the sides your losing at least half your heat to the surrounding system rather then transfering it to your desired heat reservoir (your pot). If having better efficiency is not an issue, then using the bottle as a pot is great. If better efficiency is an issue, then I'd recommend a pot with a larger base, twice the diameter of the heat source is usually recommended for gas camp stoves. your pot design is still the best I've seen here on instructcables!


fail! I ment to say stove design at the end there

SasquatchKid (author)2010-06-25

Great ible

ch5 (author)2010-04-21

I didn't think that putting such a neat finish on the borders could be done by hand without some kind of weird specific tool.
I'm doing this to my alcohol stoves soon :)

Thanks a lot.

kimbe mtumbo (author)2010-02-27

Quite cool.  I wish I had a set of these.

junits15 (author)2009-09-17

what brand of soda uses these?

smn368 (author)junits152009-09-21

there were a few limited edition mt dew and other pepsi products that were in the same bottles

junits15 (author)smn3682009-09-21

as soon as i read, "limited" i went, DARN

The "Venom"  brand energy drink also uses these bottles.

speaking of the Venom brand, i bought two last night and remember mentioning them here. So, naturally, I followed this instructable lol 

 Nicely done!  The Venom graphic looks great as a cup.

I agree. I am contemplating buying the other flavours just for the purpose of a full set, to give as gifts to those certain people who are obsessed with energy drinks.. 

 I found some Mt. Dew aluminum bottles with Halloween designs this last October.  How's this as an "eye for an eye".   Though I think I like the Venom eye better.

ha! Eye for an Eye! That was pure genius! I never woulda thought of that! :)

hpstoutharrow (author)junits152009-09-17

I received comments there are bottles of Mountain Dew. I have not found them myself.

one of my friends had one il ask him!

junits15 (author)hpstoutharrow2009-09-17

ok, I have sen bottle like this with coke in them, but they are a diffrent shape.

msw100 (author)2009-11-19

Great job, you must have had plenty of practice to get to this standard

jdc187 (author)2009-09-26

while I love the commitment to craftmanship couldn't you just sand the upper edge smooth and role once

shamanwhitewolf (author)2009-09-25

(Along the same lines: I am pretty sure not everyone who has built a bar-b-que from a steel barrel personally bought, and consumed the 50 gallons of Crude Oil inside to get to an empty drum.)

Hehe You don't know my uncle down in S.E. Texas!

This is really cool. This was part of this week's email and the timing is perfect- it helps with some ideas for something I'm looking for. As a biker, I find it a pain in the butt to fill the tank. The McCuff is a rubber-like device that makes it super easy, but you have to put it on, take it, etc. (I'm lazy, I know) So I'm thinking of trying to build something out of aluminum or stainless that stays in the take-fill hole and is collapsible. Basically, you'd open the fill hatch, lift the multi-section device with a twist (which locks it in the 'up' position, fill the tank, and collapse the device back down with a reverse-twist, close the hatch and go. Any ideas how to add your brilliance to my idea and make it, you know, actually work?

dpainter (author)2009-09-24

Is the end of the dowel, the end in the can, cut square or rounded?

hpstoutharrow (author)dpainter2009-09-24

It is square cut. But, there is really nothing particularly critical about the dowel or its dimensions. The point is just to use something with a friendly surface to start the flare. A small diameter PVC pipe might also work. I just wouldn't use anything harsh like a steel pipe. Also something with a small diameter,like a pencil, might cause a crease in the flare edge given the small surface area, point contact.

soundmotor (author)2009-09-22

Nicely done! Have you had any problems with cracking or splitting when you did this?

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