To make this you'll need:
- One tall Arizona Tea can. Get a flavor you think will look good. I absolutely love the Green Tea kind in every way, so I used those.
- Thin, light string. Fishing line will work very well here.
- See through tape. I used packing tape because it's very clear and will stick to almost everything. Alternatively, if you want this to be really really durable and more legit you could use hot glue.
- A pocketknife you don't care about. You wouldn't believe how easy these cans are to cut with a small knife, but there's absolutely no way that can be good for the blade. I had my old leatherman that I broke when I was little hanging around so I used that. Alternatively, if you have tinsnips and an awl to get the cuts started, that would probably work better. In my case, I have neither and it's the weekend so the shop's closed, and the little knife works splendidly.
- A straightedge
- A good sharpie
- You might want scissors, and maybe a little awl, but you don't necessarily need them.
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Step 1: Mark Up the Can for the First Cut!
Okay, there really isn't any measuring in this project. I mean, you're making a wind chime, it's going to be kind of whimsical and unique in the end anyway, right?
But you're going to need to divide the can into five pieces.
On the Green Tea can there just happen to be some graphical elements that you can line up to guesstimate the cuts, and for everyone else, just draw two vertical lines a little more than two inches apart on the can, and check out the last picture for reference.
So if you've got a Green Tea can, line up the 'A' of "Tea" and the 'T' of "NATURAL" with your straightedge and draw a line. (first picture)
Then line up the 'G' of "Green" and the little tiny uppermost little bud picture and draw that line. (second picture)
It should look like the last picture when you've got it.
Step 2: Cut the Can!
Okay, we're ready to cut the first strip out of the can! This is where I have to remind you to be very careful cutting this- the can can have sharp edges, and if you're using a knife be sure to go VERY slowly.
Don't worry about how straight the edges are. Later we're going to fold them over anyway, to get any sharp bits out of the way, and you can use that step to get them more even by folding.
Just cut down along those lines you just made, and then horizontally on the top and bottom to cut out the strip.
If you have a little awl, that would help start the cut by making a hole for the knife to go in.
Step 3: Estimate the Next Cuts
So you've got one strip cut out of the can now. You're going to need five. Instead of just guessing, or actually measuring, you can use the strip you just cut out to mark approximately where the next cuts should be. Just keep in mind that you want to end up with five equal-sized strips when you're done.
Once you've got those approximate marks made, you can use the straightedge to clean them up if you want.
Now cut them out, just like you did the first one.
Continue being careful and going slow!
Step 4: Cut Four of Those Strips in Half
Sweet, you've got five strips of can cut out! Thing is, we actually need a few more than that, and they have to be smaller. Choose one good uniformly shaped one and set that aside. Take the other four strips and cut them in half.
Continue being careful! At this point you're probably using something sharp to cut something sharp in half to make more sharp things!
Don't worry about the sharpness of the edges being a problem with the final product though, we'll deal with them in a second.
Step 5: Deal With the Sharp Edges
Okay, so now you've got eight little strips and one nice big one. And more sharp edges than ever.
Let's deal with that.
Fold over ALL the edges and press then against a table to flatten them down. You can also mess with how much you fold over to get your pieces more evenly shaped if you want to.
Just make sure to leave a small space in the middle with only one layer of metal, because you'll need to be able to poke holes in all of these to hang them by later!
The second picture is the back of my big piece after I folded the edges under.
Step 6: Poke Holes, String String
Okay, no more sharp edges! Now we have to poke holes and start tying the strings onto our little strips.
I used the knife to poke a small hole near the tops of them, but if you have an awl that would probably work better.
Organize your little strips by size- string together ones of similar weights. That way you can be pretty sure the thing will be balanced front to back, and then you can place the sets by weight left and right to balance it that way.
The amount of string you use is up to you, but I found that around 5 inches between the strips is a good amount.
Step 7: Tape the Pairs Onto the Big Strip
Okay, you've got all your little strips strung into pairs, now you need to hang them from the big strip. Think about balancing the thing here.
I tested the way mine was balanced by hanging it on my finger a couple times.
This is where I think if you wanted to make it a little stronger, you might want to use hot glue. However, the packing tape I used works pretty great if you smooth the bubbles out of it.
Leave a good amount of space in the center between the two sets of pairs because we're going to hang a couple other things on this in there before we're done.
Step 8: Poke Moar Holes!
Okay, you got all those sweet little strips hanging on this thing now, and it probably looks pretty good. But it's probably not too noisy yet.
Remember how I said we were going to put more stuff in the center? We have to poke a couple holes for that stuff.
First, guesstimate or otherwise find the center of balance. Note that this might not be the exact center of your strip, unless you're a wizard and got the thing like perfectly balanced in the last step.
I found mine by balancing it on my finger and then marking about where it was.
Now guesstimate about halfway between that center point and where you hung the innermost set of strips on either side. poke two holes through there with the knife or an awl.
Step 9: Prepare the Ends of the Can
Remember these bits? Hope you didn't throw them out, because they're what's going to go in the middle.
First thing to do is to get the tab off the can. I got it off just by pulling on it pretty hard, but there might be a better way. Google it if nothing works. Save that, we'll use it later.
Now, we have sharp edges again, on both ends of the can.
To fix that we're going to do just about the same thing as before, but it's a little harder since they're circles this time.
Bend over the edges as much as you can. It helps to make little cuts in it so that it can fold better.
Squish it down using the table and brute force aka your weight and a hand or a foot.
We want these pretty compact and pretty smooth.
Also, you're going to have to poke a hole through the bottom of the can somewhere near the edge to hang it.
Step 10: String on the Ends!
Okay, we're ready to attach these things! First, choose an end and tie string to it. Start with too much string here, since it's kind of hard to estimate, and it will depend on how you want these things to hang and where you put the holes in the big strip. I started with about 7 inches and had to cut a bunch off, but it worked better than not having enough.
Tie the string to one of the ends and snake it up through one of the holes in the big strip. Now snake it back down through the other one.
Tie the string to the second end piece.
Check the balance with your finger.
Step 11: The Last String
Okay, this thing's almost done! Take the tab from the can and tie a few inches of string to it. Tie the other end of the string to the piece running across the top of the big strip where you just attached the ends of the can, around the center of balance you got before.
Before you try to pick it up, use two pieces of tape or glue to hold down that string running across the top so it doesn't just pull up. Make sure that's on there good.
Step 12: You're Done!
Check it out! You just cut up a tin can with a knife and made a wind thingy! Hang it up somewhere with a breeze.
Hope you enjoyed it!
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