Upcycle cans and tins into jewelry!

October 7, 2011

Metal shears, a metal tin and the completed metal pin!

We all know recycling is a good thing, but upcycling is even better! Aluminum and tin cans can easily be turned into jewelry, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. Metal edges can be wicked sharp. Make clean cuts and file off any jagged points. Quality jewelry metal shears make this much easier! Most tin snips and other shears from hardware stores are difficult to grip.
  2. Aluminum cans and most tins are too thin to be durable enough for jewelry by themselves. We suggest layering the metal you cut from recycled items. Three ways of doing this are riveting, gluing and/or coating the metal pieces.

Here are a few examples of how to turn packaging into lovely adornments:


Polly’s tin pins and pendants

Polly sandwiched her recycled metal elements between brass fairy doors, disks and gears. She riveted the pieces together using Crafted Findings’ riveting tool. Learn more about the riveting tool system here.

soda pop can necklace

The holes are lined with large eyelets from a scrapbooking supplier.

For this Soda Pop necklace, we cut disks out of cans and then glued them to brass disks to make them thicker. A circle template makes this task easier. Get more info in our design gallery.

soda can bobby pins

Layers of flowers punched from soda cans form these fun bobby pins.

Instructions for how Toni coated these pins with liquid polymer clay to make them safe to wear are in our design gallery.

Start looking at soda cans and other product packaging in a different way! I for one always check the bottle cap design when deciding on a beverage.

How I wish every city had an Upcycle Exchange Market (yikes! Link removed in 2019 … that link goes to something COMPLETELY different now). It is a brilliant idea for reusing and redistributing crafty supplies and recyclables! Until then, ask your friends and family to help collect interesting materials for you. You might just upcycle something wonderful!

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  • Jen Crossley December 1, 2011 at 4:00 am

    loves these very cool

  • Fiona July 24, 2012 at 4:45 am

    I love these, I buy alot of similar items online, recycled bottle lid earings & plastic bag purses – but have never considered doing it myslef, it always looked to complicated but I might actually give it a go

  • Polly July 26, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Hi Fiona,
    Check out Rings & Things jewelry design gallery (https://shop.rings-things.com/cart/pc/Design-Gallery-c4074.htm) for lots of ideas and how-to’s, for both upcycled and new-component jewelry. If you have any questions, let us know!