Things You'll Need
- Aluminum can
- Tin snips
- Protective gloves
- Paper or card stock
- Fine-point marker
- 1/2-inch long flat oval bead
- Hot-glue gun with hot-glue sticks
- Rhinestones (optional)
- Fishing wire (optional)
Instead of tossing your used soda cans in the garbage or recycling bin, consider making a piece of art out of the aluminum. The thin metal is malleable and can be transformed into butterflies with a few tools and an hour’s worth of work. The result is a soda can butterfly that is light enough to move in a gentle breeze. Give your butterfly realistic details by gluing on embellishments or with paint, or leave the shiny metal surface as it is.
Wash the aluminum can with hot soapy water. Rinse the can thoroughly and shake it to drain most of the water. Dry the can thoroughly by flipping it upside down in a dish rack or on a towel. Put on a pair of protective gloves.
Place the can on its side. Cut through the aluminum with a pair of tin snips and remove the top and bottom so all you have left is the single smooth inner ring. Cut the tube of aluminum down the center so you have one rectangle of aluminum. Leave the slight curvature in the aluminum.
Draw a butterfly shape that is approximately 4-by-4 inches on a piece of paper or card stock. Cut out the shape and place it on the nonprinted side of the aluminum. Trace around the butterfly with a fine-point marker. Cut the butterfly out of the aluminum with the tin snips.
Stick the pointed end of a nail over the metal and hit it with a hammer to add embellishments. Make the holes go all the way through the metal or gently hit the hammer for a slight impression.
Attach the oval bead down the center of the butterfly on the unprinted side with a small amount of hot glue for the butterfly’s body. Attach rhinestones with hot glue over the wings in a predetermined pattern or at random for embellishments. Bend the wings into even more of a natural curve after you finish decorating the butterfly, if desired.
Apply hot glue in the center of the backside of the butterfly and attach the end of a length of fishing wire to hang the butterfly, if desired.
Draw one butterfly wing from the paper or card stock and use that single wing for both sides of the aluminum butterfly by flipping it over and tracing it twice. This will give you a perfectly symmetrical butterfly. Cut out a smaller butterfly and turn it into a broach by backing it with a pin. Glue a magnet on the back for an office or refrigerator decoration. Make miniature metal butterflies to use for crafting projects, jewelry pieces or scrapbook embellishments.
This project is not appropriate for children as they could cut themselves with the sharp edges of the can.
Miranda Brumbaugh enjoys covering travel, social issues, foster care, environmental topics, crafting and interior decorating. She has written for various websites, including National Geographic Green Living and Dremel. Brumbaugh studied in Mexico before graduating with a Master of Science in sociology from Valdosta State University.