Tin Can Quilled (Filagree) Heart Pendant




Introduction: Tin Can Quilled (Filagree) Heart Pendant

I was cleaning my craft area and found some of those Makit & Bakit styrene plastic crystals - the kind that you put into metal frames and melt in the oven to make suncatchers. I also had some tuna fish cans in the recycle bin...  here's the result.

You will need:
* Makit & Bakit high flow styrene plastic crystals see http://craftsuppliesforless.com/kidscraftsupplies_makitbakit.html or type Makit & Bakit in search engine of your
choice and you will find lots of sources.
* Clean tin can from tuna fish or other food.  You want a small can that has smooth sides, taller cans are often ridged and are no good for cutting into strips
* craft stainless steel scissors (NOT your good ones) or tinsnips
* small pliers, round nose, chain nose etc.
* lead free solder
* soldering iron
* flux
* coarse sand paper
* aluminum foil
* baking sheet
* small spoon or plastic straw with the end cut at an angle
* oven - gas or electric - must be radiant heat - NOT a microwave, with an exhaust fan and/or open window nearby (ventillation)
* heat-proof bowl

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Step 1: Cut Metal Strips

You need some thin, EVEN metal strips to coil into a heart shape.  Be CAREFUL, metal can give you a nasty 'paper' type cut.  Use goves to protect your hands.

1. Select a CLEAN, small tin can.

2. Using a tinsnips or stainless steel scissors to cut off the top edge of the can (the part with a rolled lip).  Cut as straight as you can.

3. Carefully cut a metal strip, spiralling down the side of the can.  Cut about 3/4 of the way along the scissors blade, then open the blades and cut some more.  DO NOT cut all the way to the end of the scissors blade or you will have little, sharp notches in your metal strip.  Width
of the metal strip should be 1/8 - 1/4 inch wide.

4. SAND the edges of the wire strip so they are not sharp.  Sand twice, just to b sure the edge will n ot cut you later.

Step 2: Shape Metal Strips in a Heart Shape

Use pliers to shape and coil the metal strips in desired shape.  If you want ideas, look up 'Quilling' online.  (Quilling uses thin paper strips to make designs and shapes.  I read somewhere that qulling may originally have been done to mimic the look of metal filigree.  Kind of funny that I am using metal to mimic quilling to (maybe) mimic metal filigree).

1. Make sure strip has a flat bottom, and is even along its length.

2. Grasp one end with small pliers and wrap metal to form a coil.  Remember the length of metal strip that you used to form the coil.  Tighten or loosen the coil until you like the shape.

3. Cut the other end off, keeping the same length of metal that you used for the first coil. 

4. Coil the metal to match the first side of the heart. 

5. Add a sharp bend to form the point of the heart.

Step 3: Solder the Bail

1.Cut a small length of wire strip in half, lengthwise.  SAND edges smooth.  Bend a small, u-shaped bail.

2. Sand ends of the bail and the center of the heart swirls.  Clean well to prepare surface for soldering.

3. Brush end of bail with flux.  Heat with soldering iron and tin the ends of the bail.

4.  Flux the metal between the heart spirals.  Insert bail and solder in place.  Make sure the bottom edges of the metal strip are flat.

5.  Wash with soapy water and dry well.

6. Check to make sure the bottom edge is flat, lightly sand if needed.

Step 4: Make Faux Stained Glass Center

Be careful of HOT surfaces, wear baking mitts or use a hot pad holder to protect your hands and fingers from heat.  DO NOT touch melted plastic while it is still molten, WAIT for it to COOL.

1. Preheat oven to 375 F & turn on exhaust fan or open window = ventillation

2. Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil

3. Place Heart Frame on the foil.  Make sure the bottom edge is flat against the foil, don't want melted plastic to leak.

4. Use a small spoon or cut straw to carefully scoop enough plastic crystals into the heart.  The plastic crystal shrink as they melt, so heap crystals higher than the top of the metal strip. Try not to spill crystals onto the foil, remove any that do fall there.

5. Return baking sheet to hot oven and bake 15 minutes or until crystals soften and flow into and even layer.  The plastic should be flat and glossy.

6. Remove from oven and let cool.

7. Add cord or chain and enjoy.

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    8 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 4

    what kind of plastic though? like pony beads?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I used Makit & Bakit hi-flow styrene crystals (see materials list on the first page). I've wondered if you could use other plastics or broken beads, but I haven't tried anything besides commercial styrene crystals. Please share your results if you try any other types of plastic. Thanks, Sharon


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    oh my gosh if i die from plastic fumes u can have my crafts xD


    8 years ago on Step 2

    If you want to create Metal Filigree and need ideas rather then looking up quilling (Paper Filigree) you might want to look up Filigree.

    Metal Filigree is what inspired quilling. Nuns used paper rolled on quills (hence the name quilling) to mimic expensive metal filigree.

    Filigree can be done in a variety of medias including glass, metal, wire, cans (there is a whole art form of "furniture" created from cans) Heavy metals (such as Iron, think of massive Iron gates and such), paper (quilling), plastic, straw, and others.

    I work in many types of mediums but the one I've done the longest is Quilling/Paper Filigree.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    It's funny, I love the effects of paper quilling but struggle to do it because I'm clumsy with glue and paper. I am busy trying to use the more intricate designs of paper in my tin work.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    There are tricks to gluing your quilling.

    What type of tool are you using to apply your glue?

    Email me off list and I'll try and help you. quillingdiva@gmail.com Put Iinstructables/gluing help in the subject line.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I do tin can curling and am always looking for new patterns. this is great and much simpler than my usual work. I would also use it to make a candle to set on a tin curled chair.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is also really very cool! It's clear the materials are very versicle!