Ink Removal From Soda Cans

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Posted in TechnologyReuse

Introduction: Ink Removal From Soda Cans

About: Hello - I am the scientist formerly known as Naegeli and of course I was inspired by the artist formerly known as Prince. But in contrast to his royal badness I do not want be become the king of pop but the ...

Soda cans are involved in all kinds of "reuse" projects. If you have no idea just use the search bar on the instructable homepage desktop and type in "soda cans" and you received various results with projects where soda cans are reused.

However, if you need the can for some more decorative purpose the inprints on the outside wall of the can makes it useless. Therefore, this instructable demonstrates an easy method for ink removal on soda cans. As a result, you will end up with a can having a nice shiny outer surface as given on the picture. In this instructable a vase for flowers was built (see last step).

Step 1: Materials

Only few materials are needed for this project:

  1. Soda cans
  2. Nail polish remover
  3. Cotton pads
  4. Pressure cooker
  5. Hot plate

Please use various types of soda cans for your first project. Even so the procedure worked for almost all cans some did resist to the procedure.

Step 2: Method

Surfing through the internet you will find some procedure using sandpaper to remove the ink. However, with this procedure you will never end up with the polished shiny outer surface that you want for your decorative reuse project.

During the first attempts, various solvents were used e.g. nail polish remover or pure acetone directly. But as you can see in the attached video none of them did work.

Here is the trick: Put the cans in a pressure cooker for around 20 minutes.

Attention: ONLY ADD EMPTY CANS IN THE PRESSURE COOKER

Use the procedure that comes with your pressure cooker for sterilizing liquids. In my case I have to add a little bit of water to cover the bottom of the sterilizer. Then place all soda cans inside and close the lid. On the hot plate, I use maximum power to start (level 6 of 6). As soon as the pressure indicator reaches the second mark (2 of 2) power of the hot plate is reduced immediately to level 2 (level 2 of 6). Sterilize it for around 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes take away the pressure cooker from the hot plate and wait until the pressure is released. Then open the cooker carefully (hot vapor) and take out the cans.

Add some drops of nails polish remover to the cotton pad and start removing the ink.

Step 3: Make Your Reuse Project

As shown in the video the bottom part of the soda can was removed and the lid was opened using a tin-opener. A 300ml PET flask was found that fitted directly into the polished soda can. The PET flask was shortened to the correct length and then fixed into the soda can with hot glue.

I hope you like this creative reuse of a soda can which turned into a vase for flowers.

3 People Made This Project!

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125 Comments

Aren't the cans too hot to handle manually, after having been in the pressure cooker? How did you get round this?

5 replies

I did not make this clear during the Video (sorry). But there is absolutely no need to work while the cans are still hot. Just let them cool down and then start working with the solvent (or nail polish remover)

I guess the main factor in the experiment comes from the few drops of coca cola left in the cans. (Joke) Thanks for the sharing!

the cans are low in mass (weight) and high in surface area... SO...

They will cool down really quickly.... seconds..

Wonderful idea! It has made me want to buy a pressure cooker. A few questions though, if you please. Do you need to put the nail polish remover on the tins before you put them in the pressure cooker, or just afterwards? Secondly, if you leave the bottom on the tin and just remove the top, will the inside eventually rust while using it as a vase?? Lastly, can you suggest some other uses for these shiny tins? Thank you

6 replies

1.) There is no pretreatment of the cans required before the pressure cooker. After the cans have been exposed to pressure cooker you use the solvent (nail polish remover).

2.) The inside will not rust. The inside of an aluminum can or tube is coated too otherwise the liquid e.g. beer would be exposed directly to aluminum which would then leach into your beverage.

3.) See my other instructable how to make a wind spinner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBMxhTyhRPk&t=19s

I don't think putting flammable liquid in a pressure cooker is a good idea...

The author is not saying that. The pressure cooker is for sterilising / getting the old soda out of the cans

It was just that, on his clip the author had shown that the nail polish remover did not remove the ink until after the pressure cooker bath. It did not show whether or not he washe the can prior to boiling it in the cooker :)

In the comments here he keeps talking about saturated steam bath (in the pressure cooker).

Again, flammable liquid under pressure would be BAD if there was a failure and any sparks or flame nearby. (ie explosive atmosphere - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermobaric_weapon)

I have done this except I didn't use a pressure cooker but lightly torched it with some flaming methylated spirits then use nail polish remover and it came out shiny as silver

1 reply

... hey cool - after some many views to this instructable you are the first one presenting a constructive new way - I will definitely test it for shure .. thanks for your feedback

Ron, we probably should not be using this website for our philosophical discussions. Do they have a 'let's learn about' how to go off topic?? Respectfully, Your classmate :)

However, if I remove all the ink, I can't get my deposit back!

3 replies

And, at 5 cents a tin, that really is a major consideration :) Your post gave me a good laugh. I was thinking of the price of purchasing the pressure cooker!!

It's not tin (a cookie), Nancy (Mother), it's aluminum (a Fig Newton).

Ron, I am a Canadian! I was trying to be funny as well... My thought process was the same as yours, but different!! In Canada the difference between commercials and advertisements is that commercials are watched while advertisements are read. Mostly I call them TIN CANS even though I know that they are made from aluminum . My cheeky reference to Nancy Mother was to point out that, in our convents [I am a Catholic} the leader is called Mother. So I commented the words should be inverted :) And finally, Fig Newtons are sold in Canada; but I do not like them \yuckkkie/ I think that, sometimes, my humour is only funny to me ???? It is better to hear my humour, rather than read it :)