Aluminum Can Wall Hanging

Not all aluminum cans have beautiful printed graphics, so this aluminum can wall hanging makes the best use of upcycling the plain unadorned silvery metal!

Phyllotaxis Patterns in Nature

Nature is full of wondrous patterns. All you have to do is look at the seeds of a sunflower to see a set of two spirals forming in opposing directions to each other known as the Fibonacci sequence. Today’s upcycle project (shown below) is based on the beautiful Fibonacci pattern immortalized in can and developed by the artists Hannah and Nemo. So if you’d rather buy than DIY, please go support them!

By the way, in case you’re interested, the Fibonacci sequence is based mathematically on the golden ratio. But since I couldn’t do math if my life depended on it, I’ll show you step-by-step how to create your own template using an easy cheat with GeoGebra’s Disc Phyllotaxis generator. I wasn’t sure what the difference is between Phyllotaxis and Fibonacci so this is what I found on Google:

A phyllotaxis is the arrangement of leaves around a plant stem. This is a natural pattern that utilizes the golden angle or fibonacci spiral pattern. A fibonacci spiral is a general pattern of numbers arranged around a center, as well as the sum of the previous two numbers.

Now that we have all that straight, let’s move onto something more fun than math – upcycle art!

Do It Over Designers

Today we’re taking part in the Do It Over Designers blog Hop hosted by Ann at The Apple Street Cottage.

We’re a group of bloggers who take something old and/or unused and ‘do it over’ into something new. These items can be found in closets, barns, garages, yard sales, thrift stores, you name it!

Check out the other ladies’ projects at the very bottom of this post. And be sure to drop back in throughout the week to visit them all!

aluminum can wall hanging Video

If you’re a visual learner, watch our video. Or read on for the full tutorial!

Gather Aluminum Cans

We scrounge the neighbourhood on recycle day for eye catching aluminum cans with bright, colourful graphics. But just when you think you’ve found a gorgeous graphic like this Rose cider can….

aluminum cans on table top

… it turns out to be plastic wrapped. Wah-wah! After removing the plastic you’re left with this plain shiny metal:

peeling the plastic wrapper off a can being used for Aluminum Can Wall Hanging

But, as you’ll see, this shiny metal can look just as spectacular in its own right as all-out colourful designs like the cabinet door art you see below! You can find the video for this more advanced project here if you like a challenge.

Cabinet door art

Aluminum Can Wall Hanging Supplies

[If you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered (disclosure): As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Clicking on the links in this post means we may receive a commission. But don’t worry, you don’t pay a cent more. Thanks for helping to support our blog!]

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Create the Phyllotaxis Template

You may be wondering why we don’t just give you the template. After all, we do have a  freebie library at Birdz on the Fly if you are a subscriber (where you’ll find a template for our innovative DIY tool to cut cans!). But this Fibonacci design is an idea developed by Hannah and Nemo, and as such, they may want to sell their own template one day. As a matter of fact, they just started selling templates with some really pretty mandala patterns, so check that out if it interests you! Anyhoo, if I show you how I did it, you may learn something about making your own templates if this is a craft you want to pursue for personal use.

First, go to GeoGebra the website. When you open it up, you’ll see a spiral with 100 seeds. I experimented to see what would fit into my wood round. I did a few different sizes (15″ and 22″) using a 3/4″ circle punch. If you’re using a 1/2″ punch, you might have to experiment more by changing the size of the magnitude and the number of seeds. Truth be told; it may take a bit of trial and error.

Phyllotaxis generator image

I’m using Illustrator as my graphics software.

Artboard

Step 1. Set up the size of your artboard. In the example below, the artboard is set up for a 22″ wood round, but my final artwork for this project is actually 15″.

Along with the artboard, I create a 22″ inch circle and fill it with blue (it can be any colour). Set that aside for later.

Artboard setup for Aluminum Can Wall Hanging

Aluminum Punches

Step 2. Create a circle to represent the discs. In my case, I create a 3/4″ circle in Illustrator using the Ellipse tool. That’s because I’m using this rabbit, from my days as a fashion designer, that punches 3/4″ circles. But if you have another size punch, you’ll want to adapt your own particular template accordingly.

3/4" rabbit punch used to punch discs for Aluminum Can Wall Hanging

In Illustrator, you can hold down the shift key to get a perfect circle, but it’s not really necessary. Since you can use the transform tool to enter in the exact width and height you want, just enter your size, as you see below.

Now, create another circle for the nail hole. Since I’m using a 1.5mm metal hole punch plier, this circle will be close to .059″.

3/4" circle in illustrator

To position, I create a 1/8″ box to space it and ensure it’s 1/8″ from the edge of the circle. Once the nail hole is where you want it, delete the box and group both circles together so they move as one.

3/4" circle in illustrator showing spacing between larger circle and 2nd one for nail hole

Scale the Artwork

Step 3. Place the Phyllotaxis you generated at the GeoGebra website on the artboard. Then scale it to the size of the artboard, holding the shift key to scale it up evenly. Phyllotaxis artwork placed on artboard before scaling up

IMPORTANT: create a second layer before proceeding to the next step.

Step 4. Copy and paste each circle over the green circles generated by the Phyllotaxis generator. Because you’ll eventually delete the graphic, leaving just the circles, be sure you are pasting on the second layer. Once done, that makes it easy to trash Layer 1. circles being moved onto artboard to cover phyllotaxis template

For the 15″ wood round I’m doing today, there are 244 discs to copy and paste (and 534 discs for the 22″ round). Yes, it is tedious to drag and drop hundreds of circles and I’m sure there’s a faster way. But this is how I did it. close up of circles on illustrator artboard

Step 5. Delete the original graphic on Layer 1, leaving just the pattern of the discs with the nail holes. Move the blue circle onto the artboard (move to back if it covers it) so you can see the pattern and ensure it looks good.

Final mid section of Aluminum Can Wall Hanging artwork with a blue background

Print Template

Step 6. Print Template. You can now remove the blue background (you don’t need to print that) and create a tiled PDF which you’ll have to tape together. Or, as an alternative, print it at a place that can do large scale prints, like Staples. I set up an artboard with several other patterns to maximize the largest size blueprint that Staples can print. It was worth it; it cost around $10 for one sheet with five templates which is only $2 a piece.

Aluminum Can Wall Hanging

Now that you have a paper template, find aluminum cans that are plastic wrapped.

Remove the plastic to expose the plain aluminum.

Check out our new video on the best way to cut the cans. We also have a written post on how to cut tin cans using an innovative new tool that we designed!

Or watch the video below that explains how to punch the discs into circles and assemble. It has everything you need to know if you’re a beginner aluminum can artist (but includes our older, slightly slower method of cutting cans).

We have a separate video on how to make your own DIY can cutting tool for our new and improved way to break down the cans for crafts!

You’ll also need this 1.5mm Beadsmith metal hole punch plier to punch for the nail hole after you cut the discs.

Punching the nail holes into the Aluminum Can Wall Hanging discs

Preparing the Wood Round

Paint the front of your wood round (in our case we painted dark grey).

We always install the hanging mechanism on the back first and then remove it so the piece will lie flat while working on it. Also, doing this first will make sure it won’t interfere with any of the nails on the front.

Back of wood round with ruler and pencil before mounting hardware

If you tiled your paper template, tape it together and then tape it to the wood round. Again, this one is 15″.

Painted wood round with template taped to front

Use an awl or push pin with a hammer to make a pilot hole for each nail. However, if you use a push pin, it’s better to use a metal one; the plastic ones can shatter after repeated hammering.

Awl and hand holding push pin used to mark nail holes for Aluminum Can Wall Hanging

Try to hammer straight up and down when you mark. As a result, you’ll get better alignment of the nails.

Hands hammering the push pin for pilot holes

Nail the Discs

Remove the template. Add a silver disk onto the nail. Then use a nail guide or a needle nose plier to hold the nail as you hammer it into each pilot hole.

Using a red plastic nail holder to hammer in discs for Aluminum Can Wall Hanging

Hubs made me this tool, a 1/4″ piece of plastic with a slot, that ensures each nail is the same height. Such a simple DIY tool, but it does the job!

1/4" plastic diy tool for setting the height of each nail

Crank up those tunes and go to work.  And before long, your Phyllotaxis pattern will take shape.

Half the aluminum discs nailed onto the wood round

When you stand it up, the silvery discs take on the colours of the surroundings. They look like huge sequins. If you celebrate Christmas, and your decor is modern, this would look spectacular over the mantle.

Finished Aluminum Can Wall Hanging leaning up on top of table

Aluminum Can Wall Hanging

On Brick

It was a breezy day, so we took the aluminum can wall hanging out to film it so you can see how it shimmers in the breeze.

Unfortunately, this wall art isn’t suitable for outdoor use. We’ll have to source some stainless steel nails and waterproof wood if we want to do an actual outdoor piece.

Aluminum Can Wall Hanging on brick wall

Back inside we installed this metal french cleat to hang it.

It’s just amazing that something as humble as a beverage can can be upcycled into a beautiful aluminum can wall hanging!  We now have our can craft hanging by our staircase where it fits in with our collection of black and white artwork. It’s mesmerizing whether or not there’s a breeze. But be sure to watch the video if you want to see it shimmer!

Aluminum Can Wall Hanging hanging in the hall with other black and white artwork

If you like this aluminum can wall hanging, you’ll love our other can craft ideas!

Our newest project is this geometric wall art; perfect for winter decor or to hang in any space you want a touch of modern flare.

Pin Aluminum Can Wall Hanging

Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!

pinnable image for diy Aluminum Can Wall Hanging

pinnable image for moving mosaic Aluminum Can Wall Hanging

Do It Over Designers

Our talented blogger friends have some amazing and inspiring DIYs for you! Don’t forget to visit these posts for more upcycled do-it-over transformations!

24 thoughts on “Aluminum Can Wall Hanging

  1. Another lovely design, Sara! You’re right, from humble can to outstanding wall art…and a perfect holiday gift!

    • Thank you Kim! You’re right – it would be a great eco-friendly gift for the holidays!

  2. Wow, so impressive! You certainly have a lot of patience! It’s an amazing conversation piece, too

    • Thanks so much Patti! I actually find it so relaxing. It’s a great project to listen to some tunes and just enjoy the process. And before you know it, it’s all done!

  3. This is such a beautiful piece of artwork, Sara and I love the tool you have to keep the nails at an even height. You are one talented gal!

    • Thank you Ann! My talent is only that much better with my partner in grime; couldn’t do it without him lol.

  4. I loved the door version, but this one is really striking, Sara. I’m not sure if it’s because of the plain colors or the fibonacci pattern. It’s always been a favorite of mine, probably because art school drummed it into us over the years 😀 Pinned

    • The fun thing about this one is that it picks up the colours around it. If I stand in front of it, it reflects what I’m wearing, so it’s an every changing work of art. I could never get bored of this one lol!

  5. Wow, Sara, this is incredible and so impressive! It’s really amazing what you can create from soda cans! Your wall hanging is a gorgeous work of art!

    • Thank you so much Gail! It reminds me of huge sequins, which I love because it’s so sparkly and glamorous!

    • I know, right? With the exception of our fireplace in the winter, it’s my favourite thing to stare at lol.

  6. This is stunning. Our mathematician son is a big fan of the Fibonacci sequence, I bet he’d love to make himself some very cool artwork like this!

    • Ha, that’s so interesting Julie! You’ll have to let me know if he makes one!

    • Thanks Tuula! Love your description. When I finished it, I couldn’t believe it was made of cans either!

  7. Such an impressive project. I am not sure if I could make one of these as pretty the first time. Definitely pinned this one!

    • Thanks Donna; all it took was blood sweat and tears lol. Now that this one is out of the way, I can’t wait to work on a new design I have in mind!

  8. WOW, love the color reflection and your tenacity to do this. Its awesome.
    I visited you via BUSY MONDAY 597
    I linked up this week with = 84+85. Hope you will join us M-S SeniorSalonPitStop and W-S #WordlessWednesday. You will find both under BLOGGING.

  9. I’m featuring you when the next To Grandma’s house we link party starts – thanks for sharing with us!

  10. Thank you for sharing this with us on Farmhouse Friday last month! It’s super cool. Featuring it tomorrow. Hope you link up again soon. pinned

    • Thanks so much Cindy for dropping by to let me know; that’s exciting news! Happy New Year!

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