Glowing Keyring

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This is a simple instructable that will help you turn your cans into a beautiful art inspired keyring with a glowing center. Perfect for Halloween, to spruce up your car keys, give as gifts, anything you want to do. Show your school spirit by drawing your school logo, etch in a date to remember, or just have fun being artsy!

Supplies:

What you will need:

2 soda cans, any cans will do; Resin (I used Art Resin which is 1:1, but you can use 1:2 resins as well); UV resin (you cannot use on the inside because the UV light won't get as deep but you can use it to touch up the outside); small battery operated lights (DHL has some that you can buy in blue or red); keychains; sturdy scissors; Dremmel with various tips; mask; eye protection; and most importantly, patience.

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Step 1: Cutting the Can

This part really just requires a good sturdy pair of scissors that can cut aluminum. What you are after is the rounded bottom of the can. I like to use the sides of the can for other projects, so I first cut the top part off, then the sides, which leaves me with the bottom piece. The bottom piece has to be cut further to get just the rounded part. A Dremmel with a sanding wheel can be used to sand the edges, and then rubbing the rounded edge on a piece of sandpaper will flatten it. This part only takes about 30 minutes, and remember you need to cut two because you are after two of the rounded bottoms.

Step 2: Drawing and Cutting Your Design

I decided to draw an Egyptian cat on my piece. You can do a logo, a pumpkin, a dog, just remember though, you only want silhouettes that are stand-alone. Any little pieces that are completely cut out but need to stay in the piece will require extra work at the end with the resin.

I first drew in pencil, but you can go over it in sharpie. Use a small Dremmel bit similar to the one I have in the picture to work at cutting out your design. Wear a mask and eye protection because a lot of little bits of aluminum will go flying in every direction. Also, wear pants. I was wearing shorts and the little microscopic pieces of aluminum shards were embedding themselves into my skin and made me itch for several hours afterward. Not fun. You can use several different bits to cut out the design, and then I used a burr to roughen up the aluminum to create an interesting effect. I did it on both pieces. You only want the design on the one side, the other is the back.

Step 3: Tape Up the Sides

This part is a little tricky. You need a sturdy piece of cardstock that is cut straight. Mine is approximately half an inch wide and I cut it with a paper cutter so it would be the same width all the way across. This is important. Hold both pieces of the aluminum creating an empty space in the middle. This is where the resin is going to go. The paper is only there to create a gap and keep the resin from pouring out. The gap will create an interesting light effect at the end. Try to keep it at the same distance when you are taping the paper to the outside. Use more tape to reinforce the paper. You don't want resin to leak out of the design.

Step 4: Mix Resin and Pour

I mixed an ounce of each of the resins together. If you aren't familiar with resin, you can use either a small torch to make it flow a little easier and to also get rid of bubbles on the surface. You don't necessarily need to be a resin ace to do this step. Just follow the directions for the type of resin you bought. I used a small cat food can and some flour to hold the piece, it also helps hold in the resin that will try to ooze out if you didn't tape as well as you liked. It can all be cleaned up in the next step. But I used 2 ounces total and it was plenty for this project. I even had some left over to make some little gems and cover other art projects. The resin I use takes about 12-24 hours to set fully, so I do this step right before I go to bed. Use a plastic cup to mix the resin, and you may want some gloves because the resin will stick to you, and it is hard to get off. If your resin is too thick, you can microwave it for a few seconds or put the cup in a bowl of hot water. Don't torch the plastic cup to heat up the resin, it will warp and your resin may spill out. Once it is completely mixed, gently pour the resin inside the piece. It's ok if you spill a little on the outside, the next step will clean it up. Fill it to the top, it will settle and you will need to add more resin later, but for now, just go as high as you can. You can't get it all the way to the top because the curve won't let you.

Step 5: Sand Again

Once it is fully set, about 24 hours or according to the resin you have on hand, you can pull it out of the holder you had it in, and start removing the tape. I had a little leak over despite taping well. Once you have removed as much as you can, grab the Dremmel and put a sanding bit on it, larger or small, either one will work, and start sanding off the paper along the sides, and the excess resin that leaked out. Again, wear a mask, because you will have resin dust flying everywhere. Once it is sanded smooth, wash it and let it dry so you can see how much resin you need to add.

Step 6: Tricky Bit

So you can either use some more of the resin you had used before, or you can try a little of the UV resin. You just need a little bit. I used UV resin because I didn't want to make up another batch and wait 24 more hours. I put in a little of the UV resin and let it set with the light until I was able to fill up the image to the top. Once it was filled, I sanded it smooth.

Step 7: Lights

I bought a bag of lights from DHL, they were cheap and they came in 3 days, which was nice. They had multi-colored lights, red or blue. I bought the red ones. They work pretty well. They also came with some keychain rings which was a bonus. I wanted the light to shine down through the image, so I placed my light where I thought it would look best and used a sharpie to outline it. Then I used the Dremmel again and the burr and cut out the circle until the light fit into it. Resin can be used to secure the light.

Step 8: Finished Project

I actually did two of these, one of the Egyptian cat, and the other was the Eye of Horus. You can see how the light comes out of the gaps in the side, which I thought was cool. I covered the whole thing in more resin and then allowed it to hang from a dowel until it was dry. I didn't want the aluminum to oxidize and turn funny colors, and I wanted everything to be shiny. It turned out better than expected and will try this with other designs. It was a labor of love because it does take some tweaking and sanding and tweaking some more. I hope you have fun with this project and can show me some additional cool designs!

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