How to Turn a Soda Can into a Spring Flower Brooch

comments (26) March 15th, 2012     

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Sister_Diane Diane Gilleland, contributor
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An ordinary soda can provides pretty graphics and shiny metal. They combine to form a bold and beautiful flower brooch.
The beads and wire you see here not only decorate the flowers center, but they also cleverly hold the layers of metal together.
Soda cans are made of very thin metal, so you can easily cut them with a strong pair of scissors.
An ordinary soda can provides pretty graphics and shiny metal. They combine to form a bold and beautiful flower brooch.

An ordinary soda can provides pretty graphics and shiny metal. They combine to form a bold and beautiful flower brooch.

Photo: Diane Gilleland
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I love crafting with metal and even more so when I can find a cheap source of raw materials. Try plucking a few interesting-looking soda cans from your recycle bin—you can cut them apart with scissors, and use the metal to make all kinds of things. I like these little flower brooches as a first foray into metal crafting. They're simple to make and lovely to wear.

What you'll need:

  • One empty, clean soda can (per brooch)
  • Utility knife
  • Strong scissors
  • Fine-point Sharpie
  • Masking tape
  • Cardstock
  • Cork or cardboard sheet
  • Steel wool (optional)
  • Push pin
  • 24-gauge colored craft wire
  • Five or six glass beads, any size you like
  • E-6000 glue
  • Pin back

A note on safety: Any time you work with cut metal, be extremely careful of the edges—they can be sharp, and they can inflict deep cuts. Watch out as well for any tiny shards of metal that may appear while you're cutting—these can cut your hands or fly into your eyes. You may want to wear gloves and eye protection while handling the metal.

If you have concerns about the safety of the finished project, then I would recommend reading the comments on this post. You'll find additional information and some project variation ideas.


Carefully pierce the wall of the can with a utility knife.


To begin cutting the soda can, carefully poke a utility knife through the metal near the top of the can. Be very careful with this step—steady the can with your other hand, and use gentle pressure on the utility knife. I usually rock the blade back and forth a little while pressing lightly, and the blade pierces the metal pretty quickly.


Cut off the top of the can, then cut along one side, and lastly cut off the bottom.


From here, you can switch to scissors. You'll need strong ones for this project—I usually use my kitchen shears. Insert them into the slit you made in the first step, and cut around the top of the can. Next, cut down the side of the can, and then cut around the bottom, as shown.

Take a look at the top edge of the metal in this photo—the edge on the left. See how ragged it is? That will happen. When I've cut both ends off the can, I always go back and trim away this ragged edge so it won't be a safety hazard later.

Lay the metal out flat and tape it to your work surface. Cut yourself a couple of flower templates from cardstock. I used my computer's page layout software to create mine. You can also search for flower clip art online, or use Zefrank's Flower Maker, or draw them freehand.


Trace or draw a flower shape on the metal.



Place these templates where you'll capture a nice bit of the can's graphics. Trace two flowers, one large and one small, onto the metal with a Sharpie. (The can will accommodate about a 3-inch-diameter flower or smaller.)


Cut the flower out with scissors, being careful of the edges of the metal.


Peel up the tape and then cut the flowers out along your traced lines. This metal has a tendency to tear, so it's a good idea to cut into corners from both sides, as shown.

If you like, you can gently rub the cut edges with some steel wool to reduce their sharpness. This can also rub off some of the graphics, so try it out with a scrap of leftover metal first.


Cut one large flower and one smaller flower from the metal.

I usually use one flower with the graphics facing up, and the other with the graphics facing down. You can also cut the two flowers out of different kinds of cans for a more colorful look.

Don't worry that the metal is still curved like this. We'll take care of that in the next step.


Carefully curl the tips of the petals around a pen or pencil.

 

Gently curl the ends of the petals upward, using a pencil or the Sharpie as a form. This curling will counteract the curve of the can, allowing the center of the flower to flatten.


Place the flowers on a padded surface and pierce them with a push pin.


Place the two flowers together on top of a cork or cardboard sheet. Make sure the flowers are oriented as you like them. Then, use a push pin to pierce through the metal as shown. Make five or six holes in a small circle at the center of the flower.


Punch a second set of holes 1/8 inch outside the first set.


Add a second circle of holes, about 1/8 inch outside the first one. Match up the outside holes with the inside ones, as shown.

 


Be sure to push the push pin deeply through the metal to make fairly large holes. This will make the upcoming wiring step easier.


Poke the end of a strand of wire through the first hole, leaving about a 2-inch tail at the back of the flower.


Cut about a 24-inch length of craft wire. Poke one end through one of the inner holes in the metal, as shown. Leave about a 2-inch length of wire at the back of the flower.


String a bead on the wire, and pass it back down through the outer hole.


String a bead onto the other end of a wire, sliding it along until it rests on the front of the flower. Poke the end of the wire down through the outer hole, and pull it along until you have about a 1-inch loop, as shown here.


Twist the loop into a stamen with your fingers.


Gently twist that loop with your fingers, starting at the bead and twisting your way toward the tip. Leave a small loop at the tip. This forms a stamen for your flower!


Continue adding beads and making stamens. This will create wire "stitches" on the back of the flower.


Repeat this process to add more beads and wire stamens to the center of the flower. On the back of the flower, shown here, you'll be stitching the wire from one set of holes to the next.


You can make design changes as you add beads.

This design is pretty forgiving, by the way. If you're an astute observer, you may have noticed that I started out with six sets of holes in the center of my flower, intending to install six beads. But I decided that I liked the look of five beads. No worries— the beads have covered up that last set of holes, so no one will know. Well, except you, of course.


With all the beads wired on, twist the two remaining ends of the wire together and trim them.


When you're done adding beads, just twist the two ends of the wire together at the back, and trim them to about 1/2 inch. Bend the twisted wire flat against the back of the flower.


Apply E-6000 to the back of the flower.


Apply a generous dollop of E-6000 over the back of the wires. Cut a small circle from a scrap of soda can and press this over the glue.


Cover the wire with a leftover piece of the can, then glue on a pin back.


Glue a pin back over the circle, and let this sit for a couple of hours while the glue cures.

You can use these flowers for more than jewelry, of course. Imagine them lining a picture frame or the edges of a round mirror. Imagine them decorating a lampshade. Imagine them as package toppers or glued around the base of a pillar candle.

 

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posted in: metal, brooch

Comments (26)

shaji writes: Good
Posted: 1:48 am on February 4th
EchoLin writes: fabulous ideas.
Posted: 5:05 am on March 27th
Nodan writes: You are creative. Even though it is a little hard for me to wear the brooch made by soda can when I am out, I am willing to have a try.
Posted: 2:07 am on March 6th
cooproduct writes: Hi Diane,

This is also such a good reUse product with a great set of instructions. Can I ask if you would consider listing this and any other products that you have developed using waste materials on our website:
www.co-oproduct.org

We are a new organisation in the UK who are focusing on packaging reuse and open design. We are currently looking for exemplar projects which really demonstrate how you can turn a material that is normally regarded as waste, into a valuable product. We think this idea is exactly that!

Thank you

Tracy
Posted: 4:57 am on May 18th
MarshallAngelique writes: One admits that humen's life seems to be not very cheap, nevertheless some people need cash for various issues and not every one gets big sums cash. Therefore to get some business loans and student loan would be a correct solution.
Posted: 1:28 pm on September 16th
melinda54 writes: these are great , what if you folded the edges under and then
backed with craft foam,that would take care of the sharp edges
Posted: 5:48 pm on July 15th
lindaisrael writes: Diane,

I found this entry when I was looking for an idea on crimping metal, as I have been cutting up cans for a while and had a new idea I wanted to try... When I landed on the site and saw that it was you I laughed and thought, well I better leave a comment! Great job on the photos and instructions. I use a sharp pair of Fiskers to cut my cans. I basically stab the can and then start cutting. Another tip, I picked up some gloves from Harbor Freight, they are made by Western Safety (black nylon with nitrile palms), these are thin enough that I can feel the can but protective enough that I don't get cuts from the can.

Anyway I'm so glad that I have found your creative spots on the web, you are appreciated!
Posted: 5:24 pm on January 18th
nicart writes: I stuck the cut cans on a sheet of sticky foam from the craft store & cut the shapes with the foam backing. It helps flatten out the cans & keeps the edges from being sharp. I also use a die cutter to cut shapes from foam-backed aluminum cans & it's not sharp.
Posted: 12:04 am on May 20th
gossamer_wings writes: I have used my sizzlet machine to cut old soda cans....and you could use alcohol ink or sharpies to color the cans as well

I am going to try this in one of my altered books.....

Melissa
Posted: 7:09 pm on February 8th
foxysandora writes: What a fantastic idea. I'm a newbie to this site, actually to any site for that matter. I'm so EXCITED! I love to learn ways of using what is around us to make every day things. I was saving bottoms and tops of can goods for awhile, but couldn't come up with a way to use them. I had enough to build a small house ;). Now that I have seen your soda can brooch my mind is going in all kinds of directions on how to make the edges really safe. I'll get back to you if I come up with any thing. I like the crochet idea but I would like something a bit more solid. Great work, you are so creative, wow!!!
Posted: 2:19 pm on August 1st
flowergirl19 writes: I've made about 20 now, and I am still making them! =]
I used almost all of the soda can's metal and I made a pin with one big flower, and two smaller ones. I also put a bigger bead in the middle of the 6 beads. Thank you!
Posted: 4:45 pm on June 23rd
flowergirl19 writes: I've made 4 of them, and I love doing it! They're not too sharp on the edges, and I put one on my purse as a decoration. The E-6000 glue is a little smelly, though.

Posted: 12:40 pm on May 16th
javadiva writes: I recently discovered using pop cans for crafts and I've stamped on the silver part and I've used different shape punches like butterflies and scallops. The punches get sharpened every time.
Posted: 1:42 pm on May 4th
Sweet_Dee writes: Very creative...could prob. make a rose out of a coke can.
Posted: 3:52 am on May 4th
Sister_Diane writes: mrsg3, thank you for all the great variation ideas!

eveh, I love the crochet concept - will have to play around with that.

ArtfulAileen, thanks so much for the rusting tips!



Posted: 8:24 am on May 3rd
mrsg3 writes: I liked eveh's idea but I don't crochet. I just did a test with poking holes and doing a whip stitch over the edge with different fibers and the heavier ones worked best, crochet cotton, heavy yarn, waxed linen cord. Also tried with strung seed beads on wire which worked pretty well too. So with my idea for covering the edges with stained glass foiling tape and theses new ideas spured on by eveh, I think we can all give it a try and feel safe!
Posted: 10:46 pm on May 2nd
eveh writes: I'll bet you could poke holes around the flower petals and crochet a soft edge.
Posted: 4:45 pm on May 2nd
tototwo2 writes: How do you get the edges of the medal to not be sharp and keep from getting cut on your final product?
Posted: 2:49 pm on May 2nd
mrsg3 writes: Hi all.
I tried this but used stained glass copper tape on the edges and burnished them down. It comes in several widths and finishes. Also there a not enugh attractive cans around here so I use any can and then use model paint for metal items to paint on my pieces. This opens up for lots of possibilities including different patinas on the foil tape.

Enjoy the possibilities! Marie
Posted: 12:49 pm on May 2nd
marylucille writes: A lady visited and demonstrated this to our garden club back in the fifties. It was rejected by all members as too dangerous to be useful. I still think the same thing.
Posted: 12:37 pm on May 2nd
ArtfulAileen writes: Unfortunately you can't rust aluminum but you can use Modern Options and paint on iron paint and then add the patina solution over that and it will rust and look like it had sat out in the weather and rusted. Here's a link to the product:
http://www.modernoptions.com/

Hope this helps,

Aileen~
Outside The Margins
http://www.outsidethemargins.com/
My Blog
http://aileensmusings.blogspot.com/
Posted: 12:28 pm on May 2nd
Char50 writes: I agree that this looks too dangerous to wear...if a small child should run up to hug you they could get cut by the edges or poked in the eye by the stamens. It would be beautiful if framed, though.
Posted: 10:15 am on May 1st
Sister_Diane writes: SantaClaus - that's an intriguing question. There are paints that create a rusted-look finish, such as:

http://www.paint-store.net/store/home.php?cat=2

And here's a natural method that apparently works for tin, so it might be worth a try on aluminum:

http://www.the-artistic-garden.com/rusted-metal-faux-finish.html

I haven't tried either of these myself, so if you do, I'd love to hear how it went.
Posted: 11:24 pm on April 27th
SantaClaus writes: I'm trying to figure out how I could use the flower with a stem to put in a vase & get it "rusty" looking. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated!
Posted: 6:19 am on April 27th
Sister_Diane writes: Maureclaire, I'd say that this design is safe as a brooch, provided that you take some precaution with the edges. The steel wool step is very helpful. I've worn mine several times without incident, but I'd certainly agree that I'd keep it away from small children, just to be extra-safe.

Another interesting way to use the soda can metal is to cut it in simpler shapes like squares and rectangles, and then wrap some metal tape around those edges to soften them.
Posted: 12:07 am on April 27th
Maureclaire writes:
Soooo cute; and, beyond creative... but, isn't it a bit dangerous as a brooch ? Maybe better on a frame that's just going to be up on a the wall where no one is going to touch it.. know what I mean ? Or does the steel wool take care of that ?
Posted: 12:09 pm on April 25th
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