Ultimate Guide to Recycled Aluminum Can Crafts

Recycled Aluminum Can Ornaments

Because aluminum is light and reflective, it's an ideal material for holiday ornaments. Aluminum ornaments sparkle in the Christmas lights, and you can hang them almost anywhere without worrying about whether they're too heavy.

In addition to craft scissors and safety gloves, you'll need a nail and a ballpoint pen or dull pencil. (If you have one, you may want to use an embossing tool, but the pen will do the trick.) You'll also need a way of hanging the finished ornament. Ribbon can be beautiful, but a partially unfolded paper clip also works.

To make an ornament, cut the top and bottom off the can, and make a vertical cut all the way down one side. You should be able to flatten out the sides of the can into a single rectangular sheet.

You can use this sheet to create almost anything you can imagine. Use the pen or pencil to score an outline into the metal before you cut out a shape. You can use the same technique to emboss details or create fold lines on the shape. You can keep the ornament flat, or bend it into a three-dimensional shape. You can cut strips and weave an airy lattice, or even make them into leaves [source: Little House in the Suburbs]. It's up to you.

Use the nail to poke a hole for hanging in the top of the ornament. Once you're done embossing and poking, sand the whole thing to remove sharp spots and get an even finish. Sanding will also get rid of the color from the can's previous life as a beverage container and prep the surface for painting, if you want to paint. Thread your ribbon or paper clip through the nail hole, and you're done.

Don't throw away the bottom of the can! It's a beautiful reflective disk. Use the nail to punch a snowflake design into it, smooth out the edges, and turn it into a second ornament.

Decorating the house is fun, of course, but on the next page, we'll look at a way to decorate yourself with aluminum can jewelry. Read on.