How to Turn a Soda Can into a Spring Flower Broochcomments (25) March 15th, 2012
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
After you make this project, show off your work to other members!
Post your project in the gallery