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 ...

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.

3 People Made This Project!

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128 Discussions

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JerryL1206

1 year ago

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

9 replies
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AnthonypiquellJerryL1206

Reply 5 weeks 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

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nancyjaneyoungJerryL1206

Reply 1 year ago

And, at 5 cents a tin, that really is a major consideration :) Your post gave me a good laugh. I was thinking of the price of purchasing the pressure cooker!!

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RonGarzanancyjaneyoung

Reply 1 year ago

It's not tin (a cookie), Nancy (Mother), it's aluminum (a Fig Newton).

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nancyjaneyoungRonGarza

Reply 1 year ago

Ron, I am a Canadian! I was trying to be funny as well... My thought process was the same as yours, but different!! In Canada the difference between commercials and advertisements is that commercials are watched while advertisements are read. Mostly I call them TIN CANS even though I know that they are made from aluminum . My cheeky reference to Nancy Mother was to point out that, in our convents [I am a Catholic} the leader is called Mother. So I commented the words should be inverted :) And finally, Fig Newtons are sold in Canada; but I do not like them \yuckkkie/ I think that, sometimes, my humour is only funny to me ???? It is better to hear my humour, rather than read it :)

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RonGarzanancyjaneyoung

Reply 1 year ago

Hi, Nancy. I understand, texts don't carry the intent like the spoken language does. Emoticons try to help but fall short. I WAS chaffing you on the use of the word "tin". BTW, we don't use the word chaffing (teasing) nor cheeky (brash) here either. I've traveled the world.

I endured 8 years of parochial school, Mother Superior and her gang of physical child abusers, et.al.

Also BTW, I found the Fig Newton TV commercial on Youtube; it's a hoot!

Laters, (I mean, Cheers!)

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RonGarzaRonGarza

Reply 1 year ago

Nancy, I was trying to be funny. We (Americans) used to get an advert (we call them TV commercials here) where the child would justify to his mother that it was okay because he was not actually eating a cookie (a biscuit, across the pond). We use the word "can" instead of "tin", hence my It's not a cookie, Mother, its a Fig Newton (It's not a tin, Nancy, it's a luminum).

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nancyjaneyoungRonGarza

Reply 1 year ago

Well, am sitting in front of this computer, but I stand corrected....I do not like Fig Newton biscuits, so I would not even try to respond :). By the way, the Mother is written before Nancy in most cloistered convents!! like this: The Reverend Mother Nancy but just call me when the stew is ready to eat....

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JerryL1206nancyjaneyoung

Reply 1 year ago

I'm glad I could put a smile on your face. Mission accomplished. ;-)

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KISELINJerryL1206

Reply 1 year ago

Buahahhaa.... You gave me a good laugh :)) But couldn't You "reprint" the "bar-code" oooh..my bad.. e.g. my printer want print on round surface neither will it stick on aluminium :)) joke, joke, but true

The method will work for both. It depends how thick the plastic coating over the metal is. The thinner the plastic coating the easier it works regardless if aluminum or tin can. In case you find it hard to remove the ink after the pressure cooker, you can try steel wool additionally. As an examples see the pictures below with black currant tin or chocolate cans. I use this polished cans for arduino projects. Just try it and post your pictures please.

image1.jpegimage2.jpeg
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kathug55

2 years ago

Aren't the cans too hot to handle manually, after having been in the pressure cooker? How did you get round this?

5 replies

I did not make this clear during the Video (sorry). But there is absolutely no need to work while the cans are still hot. Just let them cool down and then start working with the solvent (or nail polish remover)

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mike.mcclure.3990kathug55

Reply 1 year ago

the cans are low in mass (weight) and high in surface area... SO...

They will cool down really quickly.... seconds..

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nancyjaneyoung

1 year ago

Wonderful idea! It has made me want to buy a pressure cooker. A few questions though, if you please. Do you need to put the nail polish remover on the tins before you put them in the pressure cooker, or just afterwards? Secondly, if you leave the bottom on the tin and just remove the top, will the inside eventually rust while using it as a vase?? Lastly, can you suggest some other uses for these shiny tins? Thank you

1 reply

1.) There is no pretreatment of the cans required before the pressure cooker. After the cans have been exposed to pressure cooker you use the solvent (nail polish remover).

2.) The inside will not rust. The inside of an aluminum can or tube is coated too otherwise the liquid e.g. beer would be exposed directly to aluminum which would then leach into your beverage.

3.) See my other instructable how to make a wind spinner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBMxhTyhRPk&t=19s