Introduction: Recycled Can Icosahedron Ornament

About: Geeky artist. MUST. MAKE. STUFF. More stuff at:

First, this is my variation on Instructable's paper craft ornament. I decided to create my ornament out of metal, and even better, recycled metal.

Second, this was way harder than I expected! I have a lot of metalwork experience and thought this would be a simple problem. Nope. Also, I usually say don't worry about precision - But not with this project. The more precise you are, the better assembly will go.

Anyway, I think the results are worth it, but don't say you weren't warned :-)

Step 1: What You Need

3 or more empty aluminum cans

1" punch

Scrap of card stock or chipboard (at least 1")


8" Ribbon

E-6000 glue

Aileens Tacky glue (or other similar)



Step 2: Prepare Cans

Aluminum cans are very thin and easy to cut with scissors.

Punch the scissors into the side of the can and cut off the lid and the base as shown. Cut the remaining cylinder open so you end up with a large rectangle. You can use just one can or prepare a couple so you have different designs to mix and match.

NOTE: If your cans had sugar soda, you probably want to rinse them before beginning. I didn't need to do this with diet soda cans.

Step 3: Punch

Punch out 20 circles with your 1" punch.

I like to use different cans and patterns and prefer to avoid the lettering, but you can punch any patterns you like. If you're not picky you can probably get up to 8-10 circles per can.

Step 4: Folding Template

Punch 1 circle out of the card stock or chipboard.

Then mark off a 1/2" edge of the circle. Meeting one end of the marking, make a second 1/2" mark, repeat a 3rd time, so that you have inscribed an equilateral triangle in the circle.

Cut out the triangle. This is your template. (Mine s the green piece)

NOTE: If you use a size different than the 1" punch, go to the Instructable's instructions for more direction.

Step 5: Fold

This is where you have to be as precise as possible.

Center the triangle template in the center of a metal circle on the colored side.

Fold the edges up at a 90 degree angle around the template.

Repeat with all the metal circles.

Step 6: Plan Assembly

Arrange your folded triangles into 3 groupings:

2 groups of 5 triangles with triangle points meeting in the centers.

1 group of 10 triangles, alternating direction.

Step 7: Glue the Groups

Working on one grouping at a time, spread a thin layer of E-6000 on each flap that will be joined in that group. Wait 2 minutes for the glue to dry. Then carefully match up 2 of the flaps. They will stick together, but the bond will be weak for the next few hours.

Repeat matching the flaps, but don't join the final two pieces. This will allow the group to dry flat, color-side-down, until the glue is set.

Glue up the next 2 groups in the same way and lay flat, color-side-down.

Let the glue set for a few hours and then add more E-600 along all the seams to strengthen each group.

Let the glue set fully overnight.

Step 8: Form Dimensional Shapes

Fold the ribbon in half and tie a knot at the loose ends.

Choose one of the 5-piece groups and spread a layer of glue on each of the unattached end flaps. Set the ribbon into the top center with the knot on the inside. Wait about 2 minutes and then join the glued flaps. This will form a dome. If needed, tape the ends together until the glue is completely set.

Repeat with the second group of 5, but without a ribbon.

Again, add more glue to the inside for stability. Let these domes dry overnight.

Step 9: Form the Center Band

Create a circle out of the strip of 10 triangles in the same manner.

It helps to bend the circle shape by hand before gluing.

Again, add extra glue to the inside seams for stability. Let the band dry overnight.

Step 10: Put It All Together

Now you get to see how precise you were. Without glue, see how your sections match up. Dome, band, dome.

Every flap should line up with a flap in the adjoining group. Rotate the pieces so you like the pattern.

Glue the flaps just like before. Glue one dome to the center band and then the final dome to the other side.

You should now have a sphere!

You will probably need to keep everything together with tape.

Let dry overnight.

Step 11: Glitter

Remove all the tape.

Sprinkle some glitter on wax paper or in a bowl.

Draw a thin line of Aileen's Tacky glue on several flap edges.

Dip he glue edges in the glitter. Repeat until all the edges have glitter.

Hang by the ribbon for a few hours until the glue is dry.

Step 12: Ready to Hang!

When the glitter is dry your ornament is ready to give or hang. I hope you enjoyed this - And maybe had an easier time than I did :-) Let me know!

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