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DIY: Recycled Aluminum Can Ornaments

I love upcycling items, but since I'm also a bit of a design snob, I want those upcycled items to look beautiful as well. Luckily, I've stumbled across an awesome tutorial that shows you how to make beautiful holiday ornaments out of the humble aluminum can. You'd never believe this pretty leaf started out life as an aluminum can to look at it, would you?
What You'll Need

  • Empty aluminum cans
  • Scissors
  • Sandpaper or sanding block
  • Pen or pencil
  • Ribbon or cord for hanging

To find out how to make it,


Here's how to make it, from Little House in the Suburbs:

  1. Cut off the top and bottom of the can 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.
  2. Trace your object. Use a drawing or just freehand it. Bear down with your pencil or ballpoint or other pointy thing so you make a cutting line.
  3. Cut along the lines. Be careful. Cut aluminum is sharp.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Add a ribbon, cord, or a length of raffia to hang it up.

To see the complete directions, including incredibly helpful photos, read the whole tutorial here.


Around The Web
Join The Conversation
endomental endomental 7 years
What's the other side look like?
aimeeb aimeeb 7 years
Indigo4320 Indigo4320 7 years
I would think this might be a safety hazard. What if you forgot you made these and next year when you stick your hand in the ornament box you lose a pinky??!!! haha
emalove emalove 7 years
What a cute idea!
Jane26 Jane26 7 years
I've actually been thinking of doing something like this, but are the edges still sharp?
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