How to Make a Tin Cup Out of Sheet Metal

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Sheet tin requires cutting, folding and seaming to make a tin cup.
Sheet tin requires cutting, folding and seaming to make a tin cup. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Tin is an ideal material for making cups, pots and other storage devices. Tin is a malleable metal that doesn't oxidize easily, so won’t rust when used with liquids. Hardware stores commonly sell sheets of tin; because of its malleable nature, it's easy to work compared to other metals. To make a tin cup, access to a machine shop is recommended, but it's possible to work tin with hand tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Sheet of tin
  • Metal cutter
  • Grooving machine or hand groover
  • Bar folder
  • Wire
  • Turning machine or metal pliers
  • Seaming machine or hand seamer
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder and flux
  • Rivet
  • Rivet gun or rivet hammer

Instructions

Cut out sheet metal for the body, handle, wire and a circle for the bottom of the cup. The body should be long enough to completely encircle the bottom, but ensure both the body and base have enough of an overlap for seaming. The handle need only be a strip of tin, long enough for a finger to slip inside when it's shaped. The wire goes around the lip and should be the same length as the body.

Create a groove on either end of the body. The grooves will later be seamed.

Bend the body on the bar folder so it forms a cylinder. Use the grooves as a guide to know how far to bend.

Place the wire on the top of the body. Turn the cylinder on the tuning machine and create a lip over the wire. Using pliers for this is possible but requires some strength and skill to bend the metal, as well as dexterity to hold the wire in place. The wire creates strength and prevents a drinker from cutting her lips.

Create a single seam on the body and place the circle base on it. Bend the seam over the bottom of the circle using the turning machine or pliers, if you have the strength. Make sure to leave enough of a seam for double-seaming the base and body. A double seam ensures the base is watertight.

Solder the vertical seam where it meets the base. A T-shaped solder should ensure no liquids slips through either the vertical seam or where it meets the base.

Bend the handle over the bar folder to form the desired shape. The top of the handle is folded over the wire of the cup, while a rivet is used to secure the handle to the body. The cup is now ready for use.

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