Something as mundane as an old pop can can become a fanciful piece of dollhouse furniture through the art of tin can curling. This craft became popular in the 1950s and '60s. You can bend, twist and curl thin strips of can into ornate, Victorian style furniture. One of the more common forms is the rocking chair, the seat of which commonly serves as a pin cushion.
Things You'll Need:
- Spray Paint
- Needle-Nose Pliers
- Fine-Tip Marker
- Soda Can
Cut the top off an empty aluminum can. Wash out the can and dry it with a dish towel.
Mark off 1/8-inch segments all the way around the can with a fine-tip marker. Cut straight up the can from the edge to the base of the can bottom with scissors or tin snips. There should be 47 equal strips.
Starting anywhere around the circumference of the can, cut seven strips in a row off to 1 inch in length. Hold the end of a 1-inch strip in the tip of the needle-nose pliers and (working on the outside of the can) curl it up tightly toward the base of the can. Repeat with the other six 1-inch strips. This is the front of the chair.
Take the ends of strips cut off the can and cut them into 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside.
Working clockwise around the can, cut the next two strips off at 3 inches. Leave the next two strips full length. Curl the end of the first 3-inch strip up 1 inch. Curl the end of the second 3-inch strip up 3/4 inch. About a 1/2 inch from the bottom of the can, bend the strips in toward each other, the first two from one direction, the second from the opposite side so all four strips lie flat against each other. The curls at the bottom of the first two strips should be stacked one on top of the other and be curling in the same direction.
Wrap one of the 1/2-inch strips you previously set aside around the stack of four strips at the base of the curl at the bottom of the first strip. Wrap the strip tightly, securing all four strips and press together with your pliers. Bend the two long strips back at a 90-degree angle. This forms the left front leg of your chair and half of one rocker.
Cut the next strip off at 1 inch. Starting with the next strip, cut one strip off at 3 inches and the next at 1 inch, until you have a series of four 1-inch strips with three 3-inch strips. Curl all the 1-inch strips tightly up to the base of the can. Gently bend the three long strips up above the base of the can, curling all their tips counterclockwise 1/2 inch. Pull the three strips together and secure them under the curl of the first 3-inch strip with a 1/2-inch wrapping strip. This will be the left arm of your chair.
Leave the next two strips at their full lengths and cut the two following strips off at 3 inches. Follow the same process as for making the front left leg. After securing the strips, bend the two 6-inch strips at a 90-degree angle toward the two strips that form the first half of the rocker. Curl the tips of all four strips back and secure all four with a 1/2-inch wrapping strip under the curls. This is your chair's left rear leg with the rocker completed.
Bend the next four strips up over the base of the can so they are sticking straight up. Secure the first two upright strips to the arm of the chair with a 1/2-inch wrapping strip under the second curl of the arm piece. Bend the two strips (those just fastened to the arm piece) toward the next two strips in line and curl under their ends. Curl under the tips of the next two strips and leave unfastened. This is the first half of the back of the chair.
Cut the next two strips off at 1 inch and curl them up toward the base, which is the seat of your chair. Bend the next four strips up over the seat of the chair. Take the third strip in this section, bend it and curl its tip to match the second strip in the first half of the back of the chair. Take the first two strips of this section and the third, curled strip and join them with a 1/2-inch strip to the third and fourth strips from the first half of the chair back. Catch the curl of the second strip in this bunch as well.
Curl the tops of the four strips in toward each other. Wrap the first and last strips on each side of the chairback to the four center strips with a 1/2-inch strip. The chair back is complete.
Make two more chair legs and an arm to mirror the first set.
Paint the chair with spray paint for aluminum.
- Add a seat cushion by wrapping a cardboard circle the same size as the can bottom with batting and cloth.
- Wear gloves to protect your hands while working with the sharp metal edges.
Patricia Hamilton Reed has written professionally since 1987. Reed was editor of the "Grand Ledge Independent" weekly newspaper and a Capitol Hill reporter for the national newsletter "Corporate & Foundation Grants Alert." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University, is an avid gardener and volunteers at her local botanical garden.