How to cut an aluminum can for upcycling

Aluminium cans make for great smart art material. Rather than use precious space on the art shelf, cut aluminium cans for flat storage in preparation for future use.

WARNING: Aluminium cans are THIN and SHARP when cut. This is an activity that requires extreme caution and is NOT suitable for children or people with poor dexterity or poor fine motor control.

What you need:

  • Cans
  • Stanley/craft knife
  • Scissors
  • Your glasses if you need them for close work (like me)
  • Something weighted (telephone book, etc)

What you do to cut your aluminium cans:

  1. Rip the tab off and collect them for decoration/embellishment of other smart art projects.
  2. Top and tail the can: Using the stanley knife, make a small horizontal cut along the top and bottom of the can above/below the rim. Because aluminum is thin and pliable it is easily split and then cut.
  3. Using scissors, insert a blade into the split and start cutting around the rim. Thin long scissors (like hairdressing scissors make the most even cut but I have used kiddies safety scissors).
  4. Depending on your smart art project decide if you want a single long piece of aluminium or a doubled over joined piece (I store the cut aluminium as a doubled over flat cylinder…that would be a flat rectangle of course! To make the angels above, I draw a circle onto the doubled aluminium and, pronto, I have two circles – one for the body and one for the wings). If you prefer the long variety, cut down the side of the topless/bottomless cylinder.
  5. Lay your aluminium sheet flat and place it under the weighted object to help control its springy nature (I have a large envelope folder that I store my cut aluminium in – It holds maybe 25 flat cans which I then slide under my art and craft breadboards and paints).

What to make with the stored aluminium sheets? What ever your heart desires. I LOVE aluminium drink cans because they are colourful one side and silver the other. Here’s a few ideas on what to make from aluminium drink cans.

Get collecting and cutting aluminium drink cans. To get a “how to” sheet for the aluminium can angels, join up to get our newsletter: newsletter subscribers get free recycled craft sheets.

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