Recycled Metal Crafts: How To Transform Your Soda Cans Into Butterflies

It is not news that recycling scrap metal is good for the environment. Consumers are encouraged to find a new life for everything from the smallest soda can to the original Sydney monorail cars. One way that you can get rid of your soda cans is to place them in your recycling bin so that they can be melted down and used to make other products. However, if you are feeling crafty and have an hour to spare, you can transform your boring soda cans into stunning butterflies. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you make your butterflies hatch.

Things You Will Need:

  • Safety goggles
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Super fine sandpaper (320 grit)
  • Small Philips screwdriver
  • Soda cans
  • Coloured permanent markers

You can purchase the sandpaper, safety goggles and screwdriver from your hardware store. The rest of the items can be found at your local craft shop.

Making Butterflies

Once you have gathered all your supplies onto your working space, it is time to get started.

  1. Rinse out all of the soda cans you plan to use with cold water and turn them upside down to dry for an hour. This will get rid of any sugary soda that remains in the cans.
  2. Put on your safety goggles. While this project is not dangerous, there is a slim chance of the can metal chipping away and scratching the cornea of your eyes.
  3. Using one blade of the scissors, punch a hole in the soda can close to the top edge of the can.
  4. Use this hole as a starting point to cut around the top of the can to remove it.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to remove the bottom edge of the can.
  6. The tube of the can that remains can now be rolled in the opposite direction that it curls so that it will flatten out.
  7. Once the metal sheet is flat, use the sandpaper to remove the soda can label. You should also give each of the edges a quick sand to remove any sharp edges.
  8. Use a pencil to draw your butterfly design onto the can side that once showed the label. If you are not good at drawing butterflies free-hand, print out a picture from the Internet and trace around this shape onto the can.
  9. Cut out the shape of the butterfly from the can using your scissors.
  10. Next you can add texture to your butterfly by using the screwdriver. Looking at the old labelled side of the can, push the screwdriver against the metal. You want to apply enough pressure to create a bump on the other side of the metal, but not to puncture the metal completely. You can place bumps at 2 mm intervals around the wings to create a three-dimensional effect.
  11. Once the texture work is finished, you can colour in your butterflies using permanent markers. This is a fun task for children to do for you. If you are planning to wall mount the butterflies you only need to decorate one side, but if you are planning to turn them into an outdoor mobile you will need to decorate both sides. You can also use glitter or stickers to decorate the butterflies.
  12. To use your butterflies in an outdoor mobile, punch a small hole at the top of each butterfly using the tip of your scissors. You can then thread different length wire through each butterfly, and attach this to whatever you will use for the mobile top piece.

You can make other shapes such as sunflowers to intersperse between the butterflies. This craft also makes a great gift for friends and loved ones.

Recycling soda cans is just one small way that you can have help reduce your footprint on the environment by recycling scrap that you have around the home. It may only be a small item, but every soda can you reuse is one less that is headed for Australia's landfills.