How to Cut Aluminum Cans

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According to the Can Manufacturers Institute, Americans drink 380 cans' worth of beverages each year. While aluminum cans are now one of the most recycled materials, many cans do wind up in landfills---a pity, because they are not only recyclable, but are also a cheap and readily available source of an easy-to-work metal for crafting and home decorations. With some protective equipment, a pair of tin snips and patience, you can turn your old aluminum cans into luminarias, planters, garden decorations or even jewelry.

Things You'll Need

  • Empty aluminum cans
  • Leather work gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Sharp scissors
  • Tin snips
  • Rinse empty aluminum cans well, then allow to dry.

  • Put on gloves and protective goggles.

  • Use the scissors to poke a small hole on the side of one of the empty cans.

  • Insert the blade of the tin snips inside the small hole, and begin cutting the can into the shape you desire.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use long cuts to cut straight lines smoothly. Use smaller cuts when cutting curves and intricate shapes.
  • The edges of the cut aluminum cans will be sharp. Take care when handling them.
  • Dispose of scrap aluminum carefully. Crush or bend the scrap do that the sharp edges don't cut you when you place them in the recycle bin.

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