Can Art: a Way to Recycle Some Tin Cans





Introduction: Can Art: a Way to Recycle Some Tin Cans

We all use some canned foods from time to time.  And we all probably use empty cans for one purpose or another.  This instructable shows how to decorate cans to be used as organizers for pencils, pens, paint brushes, etc.  It's a simple thing to do, and children would especially have fun making their creations.

Step 1: Collect Some Cans Destined for the Recycle Bin

Size doesn't matter, regular 14oz, is a good size, but all can be used.  I prime the can with a good primer as a binder for the glue to be used.

Step 2: Make Styrofoam "Tiles"

I use the hotwire machine to do this.  These instruments are available on line, or see my instructable:" Making The Mighty Goliath."  See pictures for procedures.

Step 3: Glue Tiles or Pattern to the Can

We want to make this tiled can look like a ceramic work of art, so carefully place tiles, gluing them no more than 1/8th inches apart.  The empty spaces will be grouted as though they were real ceramic tile.

Step 4: Grout the Can

Using regular non-sanded or sanded grout, mix up a batch for your project.  Apply grout with a gloved hand, or use a spreader tool.  Force the grout into the spaces between tiles so that there are no pockets of air, or missed places in the grout lines.  Let dry for 20-30 minutes. Picture from another instructable, but clearly shows the grouting procedure.

Step 5: Remove Excess Grout

After this initial drying period, remove excess grout with a damp, almost dry sponge. The object is to leave a hazy layer of grout over tiles, but leaving grout lines intact and even with the surface of the tiles. When dry (overnight) the tiles can be cleaned up, again using a damp sponge.  Project can be sealed with a grout sealer if wanted, but is not necessary for these projects.  I have used acrylic varnish (water based) and it appears to do a good job and leave a nice shine.

Step 6: Other Possibilities

Names, words, designs, messages, images can all be cut from your foam material and applied as shown.  Other possibilities would be to get some stone "gems", sea shells, metal objects, etc.



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    I recently came across this site and am intrigued by many of the projects. I had to retire early due to health problems and have a limited budget. But I have gobs of craft materials and plenty of craft foam. The "mosaic" cans are wonderful! Is there a problem if I use the project idea to teach at my senior co-op apartments? It'll fit into everyone's budget! Thanks for the great idea.

    You are welcome, and thank you for your interest. You are entirely free to use any and all of the ideas's a fun thing to do, and can keep some people busy for a while, anyway...good luck!

    Wow this is brilliant. Love it and can't wait to try make one or two or three!!
    Santa please send a hot wire machine in my direction!

    This is amazing! And I'm guessing the lid in the finished product is the lid from the original can, similarly decorated?

    Love this AND the craft foam instructable (which I found first). Thank You!! Love your instructables!!


    Going to do this project at the art camp I'm teaching this summer. Thank you!

    Just recently I was wondering how I could make something lovely out of a can.  Your tute will help me get started!  thanks!

    What type of styrofoam do you use for your tiles?  Would the colored "fun foam" sheets they sell work or are they too thin?