Introduction: Make a Soda Can Ring

After seeing how much useful material was put into aluminum cans, I was inspired to make something out of them, instead of trashing them.

These are fairly easy to make, can be made quite quickly with repetition, and make for interesting gifts. With some practice, you can even determine what parts of the can will show on the ring.

And what isn't to be loved about recycling?

Step 1: Tools and Materials

You need the following:
  • Empty aluminum can
  • Pen (with smooth sides)
  • Clipboard
  • An assortment of pliers
  • Scissors
  • Electrical tape (used in optional step)

Step 2: First Cut

Carefully insert the scissors near the top of the can, as shown in the second picture. Take care not to spill any leftover liquid inside. Then starting from the first cut, cut around the top of the can, until completely separated (Picture 3).

Be sure to clean up any shards that came off while cutting. (No fun stepping on those!)

Step 3: Rinsing

Rinse out any of the leftover soda under a faucet, then use a towel to dry out the insides.

This makes the whole process much cleaner.

Step 4: Continued Cutting

Make a vertical slice down the length of the can using the scissors, then cut around the bottom, the same way we did to the top. Now both the top and bottom should be removed.

Take caution while cutting, more sharp metal is exposed.

Step 5: Removing Sharp Edges

Hold the sheet of metal up flat, and cut away a thin strip of metal on each side. The strip should only be wide enough to remove the jagged edges.

After that's done, flip the colored side down, and roller it across the edge of a table to flatten it.

Step 6: Measuring

Measuring Circumference: The easiest way is to find this, is to use a bit of yarn (I used a broken rubber-band) and wrap it loosely around your finger. Then simply mark it where it meet itself, and measure the length. I came out with roughly 2 3/8 inches.

Measuring Width: Depending on how wide you want the ring, you should make this part 3x wider. Ex: If you wanted a 1/2 inch wide ring, it would be 1 1/2 inches wide.

I wanted my ring about 1/4 inch wide, so I measured a little over 3/4 inches downward. Then I measured 3 3/8 inches perpendicular to the width line (length-ways). I marked these points with a pen. (Pen works okay on the shiny side, not so well on the colored) Cut all of this as pictured.

Step 7: More Measuring, Then Folding

Lay the piece we just cut out flat, shiny side up, then mark it length-ways into uneven thirds. If that sounded confusing, take a look at the picture. The measurements don't have to be as drastically uneven as they are pictured.

In case you were wondering, this is where the clipboard comes in. It helps tremendously with folding in straight lines. Push the clip open, then slide the piece of metal under it until it meets evenly with the widest line. Slowly fold the rest of it up, take it off the clip, and use the pen to crease all but the very end of it.

Repeat this with the other side, when completed, it should look like the sixth picture.

Step 8: Even More Measuring

Mark the circumference of your finger long-ways on the piece of metal we've been folding. Add about
1/4 of an inch for good measure.
In other words, the piece of metal should be marked with the distance around your finger, plus 1/4 inch.

Don't cut it at this mark, measure about 3/4 inch from it, then cut. Cut the end at an angle, as diagrammed in picture 3.

Step 9: Bending

Use the pen to start bending the piece of folded metal into a circle, then push the tapered end into the other end, under the other two folded parts. It should form a squished down looking circle.

With the mark we made earlier meeting the end of the other side (the one we just pushed the tapered end into), bend the ring into a complete circle.

Use a pair of pliers to squish down any "bubbles" formed on the inside of the ring.

The ring should now comfortably fit your finger.

Step 10: Optional

The inside of your ring should be smooth, but if you feel the need for added protection, continue.

Cut a piece of electrical tape to the length of your ring's outside. Trim it to a little less than your ring's diameter, and slowly press it to the inside of your ring.

Step 11: Finished!

We're finally finished, go out and show off your newly recycled ring.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment.


weibbed made it!(author)2010-09-17

It is the bends in the aluminum that make it sharp, if you have a clean edge it is relatively dull. I have cut up literally hundreds of aluminum cans (I make earrings and necklaces from them) and I have never cut myself. The secret is to never close the scissors completely to the tip when you cut, the same as it is when you cut paper. If you have 4" blade scissors, make a three inch cut, and slide the scissors down to continue. I use a pair of $2 Ikea kitchen scissors. It also helps to use the Ikea $2 sidecutting can opener to take the top off the can.
Also, after you have cut your straight lines to a finished edge, use a regular emery board to lightly sand them.

Great instructable, thanks for the inspiration!

TheGOTUS made it!(author)2015-09-10

Thanks for this tutorial, it's simple and pretty much everybody can make it, unlike some rings...
I rate this 10/10.

rtortice made it!(author)2013-12-25

I tried to make the rings, but the metal kept splitting. I made a lovely bracelet the same way, but used a glass bottle to shape it :)

chloelynn made it!(author)2013-07-04

Spelling errors. I meant paint the rings or make them so only the metal shows

chloelynn made it!(author)2013-07-04

I would paint the ribgs or invert it do only the blank side shows

twighahn made it!(author)2012-10-15


twighahn made it!(author)2012-10-15

and a little heat will help make these permanantly the right size

beardedantihero made it!(author)2012-09-27

i always forgot there are places in the world where you dont get a deposit for recycling cans and bottles, neat way of reusing

YOUgNeek made it!(author)2011-10-17

You can cover it with clear helicopter tape for a UV proof finish. Tape it on before folding in thirds and tuck one side in the other. If you make it good and tight, your ring wont fade or discolor.

Zankul made it!(author)2011-06-19

I would like to add here, that when you use the pen to flatten the creases do not try and make the creases as flat as possible like I did. When you try to push 1 end into the other to finish the circle (as told in step 9) it won't fit right and you'll end up bending and mutilating the metal trying to get it in. I had to totally scrap it and start over.

poofrabbit made it!(author)2011-05-25

This is very cool! I'm going to give this a whirl tomorrow!

nickodemus made it!(author)2011-05-26

Awesome! Be sure to post some pictures! :D

Raza+Khan made it!(author)2011-01-28

Isn't is supposed to be the circumference, instead of the diameter of the finger?
first line: "Mark the diameter of your finger...."

nickodemus made it!(author)2011-01-29

You're right, thanks for letting me know. It's fixed now.

cornell556 made it!(author)2010-12-20

You can also make card board circles from
the card board in which the soda cans come in

The soda cans bottoms make weight ring like impressions
while they lay in the card board

paqrat made it!(author)2010-09-22

Brilliant use of a clip board. Very good instructable.

nickodemus made it!(author)2010-09-22

Thanks, my original idea was to use a ruler and C-clamp, but I ended up using the clipboard instead.

KreaKatri made it!(author)2010-09-21

Great instructable and great idea!
I always safe cans to use for earrings, necklaces, bowls etc., and I'm always looking for new ways to reuse them.
Now I can use them to make rings as well :)

nickodemus made it!(author)2010-09-21

Thank you! :D

ak08820 made it!(author)2010-09-17

Rinsing out the can as the first step may be better than after first cutting it. Just rinse a couple of times and leave - in the sun if possible - for a day or 2 and it will dry out, too. No need to risk cuts when drying with napkins.

jbeidle made it!(author)2010-09-16

Careful of those ragged, sharp edges!

MiltReynolds made it!(author)2010-09-16

Well done instructable! I appreciate the many photographs, all of them well-framed and clear. Good written explanations. Thanks for sharing this!

nickodemus made it!(author)2010-09-16

Thanks for the encouraging words! :D

Stubaby made it!(author)2010-09-16

Nice instructable! Finally, something to use those empty soda cans for :P

Llama+Nerds made it!(author)2010-09-16

Cool idea!

Editing tip: it would be a little clearer if you noted that the first paragraph on step 6 is measuring the circumference of the ring, and the second paragraph was the width of the ring.

nickodemus made it!(author)2010-09-16

Thanks for catching that (It was a little jumbled up), I added some bold titles to the beginning of each paragraph to clarify.


funkypam made it!(author)2010-09-16

I have worked with aluminum/ painted tin a lot and it is extremely thin, and therefore VERY SHARP. Like getting a paper cut, but with metal!! ouch. You can wear gardening gloves to keep from getting cut while making the ring.

As the creator shows in the instructable, he cuts the ring wide enough to fold over the edges. So when you're wearing it, there is no sharp metal exposed. You could make a tiny fold at the edge before doing that to be extra careful.

Filing the edges does help a bit, but better safe than sorry since this is something that is meant to be worn!

plasticpopcorn4 made it!(author)2010-09-12

to save yourself from sharp edges you could probably fold/roll the edges

butterbean made it!(author)2010-09-16

Good solution. I would cut the ring wide enough to fold the outer edges, then fold it in again to the middle. You could even fold the sides short, make that part face outward and slip another strip of can into it.

I really like this project. I'm thinking of all the cut out stuff I could make this with...

sniper69jr made it!(author)2010-09-16

srry i am lost can you make a video on how to make these

redrok made it!(author)2010-09-16

To cut the top off aluminum cans use a conventional can opener.
But use it in an unconventional way. Rotate it 90 degrees so the cutter is on the outside of the can.
Works great.

saehn made it!(author)2010-09-16

Just use some standard sandpaper to dull the edges, that will remove the sharpness.

%7EAeronous%7E made it!(author)2010-09-12

LOL. I like this, but wouldn't that cut your finger?

St+Jimmy made it!(author)2010-09-12

I imagine not, so long as you smooth off all the jagged bits. Nice instructable btw. I am definitely doing this with my next coke

%7EAeronous%7E made it!(author)2010-09-12

How do I smooth them off, and also the jagged bits are not the problem. Once you cut the thin sheet metal it becomes insanely razor sharp.

St+Jimmy made it!(author)2010-09-12

What are you cutting the metal with? Your scissors may be blunt or something like that, or you may not be cutting evenly

%7EAeronous%7E made it!(author)2010-09-13

I'm cutting it with a metal guillotine, that would be WAY more accurate than any other thing you could use to cut it.

nickodemus made it!(author)2010-09-12

From my experience, if you just use a sturdy pair of scissors to cut evenly across, it isn't very sharp at all.

Take a look at pictures 3 & 4 on step 5. At those points it wasn't sharp at all.

And if you're worried about cutting yourself, then do step ten.

%7EAeronous%7E made it!(author)2010-09-13

I'll take your word for it, and if it is sharp, I'm sure I'll come up with something to fix it.

srw724 made it!(author)2010-09-12

Another alternative would be a couple of coats of clear nail polish on the inside of the ring.

red-king made it!(author)2010-09-12

or you could take a file to the sharp edge.

jtobako made it!(author)2010-09-12

My hands are warm enough that electrical tape adhesive starts melting and slides all over, leaving a sticky mess.

Nice work finding the improvised bending brake : ) Any problems with the aluminum cracking?

nickodemus made it!(author)2010-09-12

Not at all, I've had one for about two weeks with no cracking at all.

And I agree with the electrical tape, I like it better without. :D

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