Before you pop those aluminum cans in the recycling, are you ready for a reuse project? Below are a list of projects — from easy and practical to challenging and downright adventurous — that reuse your aluminum cans.
1. Light Redecorating
If you’re looking for a unique piece of décor, check out this pop-top lampshade from Sean in the Make Community. All you’ll need for this project is soda can tabs, a few basic tools, and lampshade top and bottom hoops. So, once you’ve snagged the tabs, please recycle the cans. With a little bit of effort and a lot of patience and time, you’ll end up with a distinctly stylish “chain mail” lampshade.
What you’ll need: soda can tabs (100 or more), pliers, flat blade screwdriver, needle nose pliers, side cutters, top and bottom lampshade hoops
2. Take It to the Bank
Literally put your can back into your wallet. Instructables explains how to create an RFID-proof soda can wallet out of two cans and some packing tape. Don’t forget to wash the sticky residue off your cans and watch out for sharp edges.
What you’ll need: aluminum cans (2), hobby knife/scissors, packing tape/duct tape, felt-tip pen, sandpaper
While a wallet chain may not be your style, we thought it was a super-easy and creative idea using soda can tabs. You’ll need to drink a lot of pop for this one — at least 132 cans, depending on the length of your chain. Instructables suggests visiting a local recycling center if you want to skip the obscene amount of soda ingestion.
What you’ll need: soda can tabs (132-152), heavy-duty wire cutters, key ring (1-2)
3. The Heat is On
Those attempting this project should use extreme caution. Instructables offers step-by-step instructions for making a fully functional stove from two aluminum cans. While the project may sound complicated, the materials needed are basic and can be found in the average household.
Bonus: The stove’s portability makes it ideal for your next camping trip. And forget that hot plate — this stove is small enough for the tiniest of studio apartments.
What you’ll need: aluminum cans (2), utility knife or single-edged razor blade, flue tape or heavy gage aluminum foil, thumbtacks or push pins and nail or drill, marking pen, ruler, a thick book, denatured alcohol for fuel. Optional: hammer and scissors
4. Holiday Ornaments
So, you’ve finally climbed up to the attic and dusted off the box of holiday decorations, only to find that your ceramic Santa smashed some of your favorite glass ornaments. Instead of spending time and money shopping for new ornaments, simply make a trip to your recycling bin. Daisy at Little House in the Suburbs suggests creating original ornaments from aluminum cans.
What you’ll need: aluminum cans, scissors, sandpaper, pen or pencil, a nail, ribbon, or cord
5. A Girl’s Best Friend
This tutorial from Rena Klingenberg shows you have to make stylish earrings from an aluminum can. While the construction is straightforward, an artistic eye will come in handy. Use acrylic paint to customize your earrings for that hard-to-match purple cardigan.
What you’ll need: aluminum can, kitchen shears, safety goggles and protective gloves, decorative paper punches, small-hole paper punch or jewelry punch, earring hooks, jump rings, chain nose/flat nose pliers, super-fine Sharpie marker, small charms. Optional: acrylic paints, finish varnish.