Can craft is high up there on my list of favourite upcycles! That’s because cans are free and there are so many creative uses. We’re not soda drinkers, so I enlist the help of my sisters to broaden the range of can colours beyond our Spirit Tree Cider and iced tea cans.
But cans aren’t the only thing we’re upcycling today. We have a very unusual substrate to display our artwork. We’ll show you that in the reveal. Unless you ‘can’ not wait. In which case, watch this video:
International Bloggers Club (IBC)
It’s time for another IBC challenge. As you may have guessed, this month’s theme is I ‘Can’ Upcycle! You’ll find all our friends’ upcycle projects at the bottom of the post – and they are all incredible! So don’t forget to check them out before you go. And if you don’t have time to browse today, pop back in later in the week to pick up where you left off.
We hope you use this tutorial to inspire your own sustainable craft projects because good planets are hard to find!
Materials for Can Craft
- Aluminum cans – rinse them out first before using
- Utility Knife (I find this one actually works best)
- Microplane cut resistant glove
- Clear adhesive book cover vinyl / contact paper
- Rubber brayer/roller
- Double side tape (use one that leaves a thin adhesive, not the kind with mounting foam)
- Small self healing cutting mat (only needed if cutting straight edges
- Utility knife
Can Craft Template
When you’re making tin can mosaic art, you’ll need 3 templates. Two will be regular images and the third will be a mirror image (which you’ll use last).
Notice the extra thick black lines? That’s so the background substrate will show through and look like grout lines.
How to Cut the Cans
I like to start at one end and slice all the way around with a utility knife. I borrowed the Microplane glove I’m wearing from the kitchen. It’s a cut resistant glove. In case the knife slips while I’m cutting, it’ll keep me safe!
Then cut down the can where the bar code and nutritional info is located (this part is waste anyway)
I find it helpful to make a double cut down the centre so I can get my scissors in to make the last cut.
The edges may be a little rough so trim them so they’re relatively smooth.
However, in the case of the background tiles, I like to use a ruler and score a straight line instead of cutting the edges free form. That way, I can line up all my straight cuts along perfectly straight edges.
To flatten the can, I hold it at each end and run the piece along the edge of a table in the opposite direction of the curve. Now we’re ready to cut!
Cut the Cans into Pieces
Cut the template into pieces. I start with the background.
Use double face tape to stick the template to the cans and cut around each piece.
I was running low on double face tape so you can also roll regular or painters tape back on itself and use that to stick the pieces down as shown below.
As your pieces are cut, put them onto the second copy of the template, leaving the paper on. That way, if the pieces get jumbled you still have all the numbers on each one and can quickly identify where it goes.
Adhere the Tin Can Craft
Now we’re temporarily adhering the tin pieces to clear adhesive vinyl contact paper. Whether it’s matte or shiny, doesn’t matter; It just needs to be see-through.
Cut the vinyl about 2″ bigger all around. Now take the mirror image template and turn it upside down onto the front of the vinyl. Tape it down around the edges.
Flip it over and piece off the backing, but save the backing for later. The sticky side is now facing up. Fold in the right and left edges and tape it down to the surface (I’m using the back of my cutting mat).
Now you can transfer the cut pieces onto the sticky adhesive vinyl. First, remove the paper. Then each piece is laid over top face side down.
Once all the pieces are stuck down it will look like this.
Bring back the paper backing and place over the metal tiles. Use a rubber roller to carefully roll over the surface to ensure a good bond. I used the one we used to install our luxury vinyl flooring, but any brayer will work.
Transfer Tin Can Craft to Substrate
When you flip over the vinyl, you’ll see your tin can craft mosaic come to life. But now it has to be transferred onto the final backing.
In order to prepare the piece for transfer onto the substrate, tape the vinyl adhesive backing shiny side down onto the back of the mosaic. Then cut around three edges, leaving the bottom as shown.
Now flip it around again and fold back the backing to expose the metal. At this point, I was going to glue the tiles but I couldn’t find a glue with a long open time that would stick to both metal and glass. So instead, I’m cutting pieces of double sided tape.
Once there’s double sided tape on all pieces of the metal, you can peel off the tape backing. After the adhesive is exposed you can cover it again with the backing from the vinyl to protect it until it’s transferred. To see how the mosaic can art is transferred, you’ll have to watch the video (you’ll also find more tips and tricks on the video) :).
Can Craft Sustainably!
As you can see, our unique substrate is a computer monitor! When we found it curbside, I had actually hoped it worked. But alas, it was meant to be upcycled into soda can art!
Isn’t is un-‘canny’ how well the monitor frames our can craft mosaic? The black screen does a great job masquerading as the car windows and mosaic ‘grout’.
Leave us a comment to let us know if you enjoyed this tutorial on how to make soda can art!
We’re all about sustainable crafting here at Birdz of a Feather. Check out what else you can make with empty tin cans, like these tin can crafts! Spoiler alert – it’s even more unique than our can craft mosaic :).
Pin Can Craft Mosaic Art
We love it when you share our craft ideas! Pinning is always welcome and much appreciated 🙂
International Bloggers Club Projects
Don’t forget to visit these awesome ‘I Can Upcycle‘ projects from our creative friends below:
- Unique Creations by Anita
- A Crafty Mix
- What Meegan Makes
- Birdz of a Feather – that’s us!
- Interior Frugalista