All Time Best #8: Aluminum Can Ornaments

by Ivory Soap on 11/10/2014

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In honor of our 1000th post in October 2014, we are counting down our most popular posts of all time. Each has received over 100K hits, and some as high as 500K! This week, at #8, is Aluminum Can Ornaments!

Today’s post began where so many of our posts seem to originate: The Recycling Bin

What you need:

Empty aluminum beverage cans
Sandpaper (sanding block is helpful but not necessary, or wrap sandpaper around a bit of wood)
Pen or pencil
Ribbon or cord for hanging

Start with an aluminum drink can.







Cut off the top and bottom with scissors. (Wear gloves and glasses to be extra safe.) A knife is good to make the first cut so you can get your scissors in there. Cut down the side–if you haven’t done so already to get the top and bottom off–and flatten it out.



Trace your object. I like leaves, but you could use a drawing or just freehand it. (Snowflakes? Fruit? Use your imagination.) Bear down with your pencil or ballpoint or other pointy thing so you make a cutting line.







Cut along the lines. Be careful. Cut aluminum is sharp.

With your pointy thing and using your object as a reference, whether it is a leaf like mine or what-have-you, emboss your cut-out with veins, other details, etc. Take a nail and make a hole for hanging the ornament.

Sand the piece to remove any burrs and other hazards and to give it a nice pewtery surface. A sanding block or its equivalent is handy for this. I sanded the front and back. If you prefer, you can sand the color off entirely, but I left it for a distressed look. The veins or other details are emphasized by the sanding so you want to make sure you emboss before you sand for this effect.



Add a ribbon, cord, or a length of raffia to hang it up. That’s it.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelley November 10, 2014 at 7:57 am

I like that this starts with the recycling bin. That’s where I start much of what I do around my house: what have I already got?

Janie November 11, 2014 at 5:57 am

Great idea except the sharp edges are certainly not kid or family friendly.

Cat Lady November 11, 2014 at 10:34 am

This is a fantastic idea! It could also be a good idea for scaring off birds in your garden.

Daisy November 12, 2014 at 8:18 am

Cat Lady–We should try it! Couldn’t hurt.

Daisy November 12, 2014 at 8:22 am

Janie–Not something you want to hand to toddlers, but surprisingly less lethal in real life than they look. Aluminum cans of today are faint shadows of the aluminum cans of my childhood.

Janie November 12, 2014 at 11:05 am

That is a good thought which could be overlooked. Thanks!

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