Ink Removal From Soda Cans

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 ki…

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.

Glue Challenge 2016

Participated in the
Glue Challenge 2016

3 People Made This Project!

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144 Comments

3
sikotik
sikotik

1 year ago

I just used my oven set to 425F or 218.333C for 45 minutes and then rubbed nail polish remover with steel wool on the cans and got the same results as i got with the pressure cooker.

0
brainlock
brainlock

Reply 7 weeks ago

Did you try lower temperatures and build your way up to 425 degrees? Thanks for posting. I don't want to do this to my brand new instant pot and it would take forever if I used it anyway with how many cans I want to do.

0
thescientistformerlyknownasNaegeli
thescientistformerlyknownasNaegeli

Reply 1 year ago

I have not tried this combination - did you get any odor from the ink when placing it in the oven at such high temperatures?

0
sikotik
sikotik

Reply 1 year ago

It smelled like i was baking brownies but that was likely some residue from the former contents which were Java Monster energy drinks. I've used the oven to flatten sheets cut from cans for years. The nail polish remover or lacquer thinner to strip the ink was the last piece of the puzzle for me so I'm thankful for your instructable.

0
thescientistformerlyknownasNaegeli
thescientistformerlyknownasNaegeli

Reply 1 year ago

okay - then I will also have a try.
I guess you have seen my instructable to flatten the sheets with an electric iron. Do you have a jig for the sheets when you put them in the oven?

0
sikotik
sikotik

Reply 1 year ago

Just a pair of bricks I found one day. I put it on top of 5 aluminium sheets to get them to lay down flat. I have two bricks, so i can do 10 sheets at a time. I didn't do any experimentation with the time or temperature since I got the result I wanted the first time. I did find that if you have too many sheets then not all of them will remain fully flat when the process is complete.

0
ardu11
ardu11

Question 2 years ago

How did you convince your wife before using HER loved pressure cooker? Mine did not allow me?

0
brainlock
brainlock

Answer 7 weeks ago

Buy your own... or are you assuming that only women can own pressure cookers?

0
thescientistformerlyknownasNaegeli
thescientistformerlyknownasNaegeli

Answer 2 years ago

... sometimes you just have to start an experiment ... and you don't ask for permission. I guess if you are married for a long time you can anticipate the answer in advance and then act accordingly (smile)..... but you know my wife has a hard time with me anyway. I just recently had to buy my own fridge because she did not want to have the worms I need for fishing in the same fridge anymore ..... so compare this to the pressure cooker problem.....wish you happy family life - I am now married for 22 years!

1
JohnJ428
JohnJ428

1 year ago on Step 3

Cheaper to buy lacquer thinner than nail polish remover. Same product without the perfume.

0
Grammajuju
Grammajuju

Question 1 year ago on Introduction

Hello, this tip will come in very handy for my garden art business. I’m wondering however if I can do this in an electric pressure cooker, and if so what would the settings be? Also, is it safe to just wash the pressure cooker insert afterward and still use it for food?

0
thescientistformerlyknownasNaegeli
thescientistformerlyknownasNaegeli

Reply 1 year ago

Actually I don't know what you mean by electric pressure cooker. In case it is just a closed pan generating saturated steam inside with a high pressure then it should work.
Is it safe? I don't know! I do not have any safety data. But for myself (and my family), I use the same pressure cooker for food and for removing the ink since 3 year known. I always clean the pressure cooker after I have used it with soda cans. Consider that after the soda can is taken out of the pressure cooker no debris or residues on the inside can be found. So I really think it is just the vapor (saturated steam) going inside the lacquer and making the surface susceptible for the solvent. Hope this helps.

0
JonQ11
JonQ11

Question 2 years ago on Step 3

Can you use a normal pan with a lid or does it have to be a pressure cooker?

0
thescientistformerlyknownasNaegeli
thescientistformerlyknownasNaegeli

Answer 2 years ago

You really need to use a pressure cooker! If you just boil it in a pan of water it does not work.

3
Miniature_Music
Miniature_Music

3 years ago

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

0
ardu11
ardu11

Reply 2 years ago

YESZ, tell us more.

0
thescientistformerlyknownasNaegeli
thescientistformerlyknownasNaegeli

Reply 3 years ago

... 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

0
JerryL1206
JerryL1206

3 years ago

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

0
Anthonypiquell
Anthonypiquell

Reply 2 years ago

Actually I think you can get more back for them if you strip all the paint, you just have to go to the recycling center to turn them in tho