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Yes we can can craft.
November 9, 2008 8:21 PM   Subscribe

As much as you may enjoy using your discarded tin cans to have top secret conversations make yourself taller, you'd like to know if there's anything creative to do with tin cans. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Tin cans are useful when you want to get organized, and can be decorated to match the wallpaper, or look like a robot. They make good pincushions. Or bed frames. Cans can be used as electrical outlet or light switch plates, or as the light fixtures themselves. You can use them as an alternative to wallpaper, or, depending on your climate and how much soup you eat, build with them. They can be used to grow a wall garden, or herbs. If you're a musical type, you could use them to make an amp, a banjo, a thumb piano, or bongos. If art is more your bag, perhaps you'd like to make a Pac-Man or bird sculpture, or check out David Wasserman's work, or the Orlando Forge Metal Studio's tin can art gallery or this gallery for some inspiration. Just don't get too carried away, like Marge.
posted by orange swan (31 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Tin?
posted by caddis at 8:29 PM on November 9, 2008


Well, yes, tin. Since I'd already done aluminum can crafting.
posted by orange swan at 8:35 PM on November 9, 2008


:)
posted by caddis at 8:46 PM on November 9, 2008


Kerri Kwinter wrote on page 141 in the 1987 Re-Search book Pranks with reference to the IED's of the VC:

Cans were turned into grenades. One recipe called for a tomato juice can as an inner casing and a beer can as an outer casing (all of U.S. origin), utilizing retrieved American explosives and detonators.
posted by Tube at 8:58 PM on November 9, 2008


Also stoves.
posted by pompomtom at 9:13 PM on November 9, 2008


Great post. I loved the amp can.
posted by Mr_Zero at 9:13 PM on November 9, 2008


What's with all the craft posts? Like the one about things to do with spare bras from a couple of weeks ago?
posted by Class Goat at 9:17 PM on November 9, 2008


Class Goat, most of Orange Swan's posts are crafty, and usually involve re-using or recycling.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:22 PM on November 9, 2008


That tin can lid wall is freaking cool.
posted by brain cloud at 9:24 PM on November 9, 2008


Here is a short video of a stunt I introduced into sideshow that utilizes cans.
posted by Tube at 9:54 PM on November 9, 2008


What's with all the craft posts?

I feel the same.

usually involve re-using or recycling

Reusing, I'll give you that. Recycling though? Only if you intend to keep your bra, tin can, coat hanger crafts for eternity, otherwise, you're just delaying the inevitable. I suppose they could be recycled later, but I think I would be less inclined to recycle a bed frame made of tin cans than I would be just a simple tin can.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:03 PM on November 9, 2008


This sounds like we're getting into "GYOB" territory, then.
posted by Class Goat at 10:33 PM on November 9, 2008


IvoShandor, suppose you need to organize some stuff, and instead of buying some sort of organizer or tray from a store, you make one out of tin cans. Yes, your homemade organizer won't last forever, and those tin cans will eventually go into a recycling bin. But in the meantime you have not bought a plastic organizer, which also would not have lasted forever. That means one less plastic organizer has gone into a landfill. Multiply that effect by a large number of people repurposing stuff they already have to serve a need and prevent them from buying new things, and you'll see what I'm aiming for.
posted by orange swan at 10:43 PM on November 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


My first thought: Nuka Grenades. I need to stop playing that game.
posted by TypographicalError at 11:10 PM on November 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, yes, tin. Since I'd already done aluminum can crafting.

I think the objection was that they're made of steel.
posted by yath at 11:56 PM on November 9, 2008


How can you not mention redneck wind chimes?
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:10 AM on November 10, 2008


Well I for one appreciate ideas for re-using the crap I generate going through life. Disposable lifestyle doesn't exactly go with environmentalism.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:04 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


That wall garden is awesome, maybe my landlord will recognize it's awesomeness too and not get mad at me when I start bolting cans to the apartment exterior.
posted by Science! at 3:06 AM on November 10, 2008


Several years ago I was on an expedition in rural Tanzania. One night some kids from a local village stole into our camp site, found and excavated the pit where we had been burying rubbish and took any tin cans they could find. The next week they re-appeared in daylight to sell us the cans - now transformed into kerosene lamps.
posted by rongorongo at 3:11 AM on November 10, 2008


Reusing, I'll give you that. Recycling though?

As I wrote in this comment, giving something a makeover so that it serves another purpose from that for which it was originally designed does qualify as recycling.

This sounds like we're getting into "GYOB" territory, then.

No, we get into GYOB territory when a poster basically writes FPPs around some single link post in order to grind the same axe over and over and people are generally tired of reading what is essentially the same post. I post several dozen new links every time and many people seem to enjoy my FPPs. If you have no interest in crafting or in seeing how ingenious other people can be in their crafting (and of course some people don't), you're welcome to not read my crafting posts.
posted by orange swan at 4:23 AM on November 10, 2008 [9 favorites]


I used to live a few houses down from this enterprising guy and his can-shingled house addition. I thought it was excellent, but it was mostly hidden from street view. He then decided to build a fence around the deck in the front of his house, and side it the same way. Much hilarity ensued, don't know if he ever got to finish it. My unscientific study suggests that Republican neighbors don't enjoy looking at radical homebuilding materials, but Democrats appreciate the randomness and reuse aspects.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 5:08 AM on November 10, 2008


When I was a kid, we loved the idea of the tin can/string communication divice..

So me, and the kid that lived a block away decided to make a long distance version.

Two tin cans, three rolls of kite string.. since he lived across the street (and a block away), we couldn't just do a straight line, and we didn't want the string to get tripped on..

So...we took about 500 little staple nails and pounded that string tight to the ground, across the street, and along the walls of our houses..

for some reason, I couldn't hear him very well....
posted by HuronBob at 5:26 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


orangeswan: I hear ya. Wasn't really knocking it as much as just bringing up the point. Your example of the organizer is a good one, I still say the same is less likely to happen in the instance of a bed frame, which could indeed last for many, many years.
posted by IvoShandor at 5:45 AM on November 10, 2008


What's with all the craft posts?

Reprieve from all the Obama ones.
posted by gman at 5:55 AM on November 10, 2008


I saw a post on that house when I was researching this FPP, Ella Fynoe. I didn't include it because it used aluminum cans. It's funny that there should be such a controversy over that. I guess it's one of those "not in my backyard" things. I can very easily imagine my mother totally flipping out if her next-door neighbour did something like that. Actually the thought amuses me no end.

My grandmother Swan used to use large tomato juice cans to make footstools. The cans did not have a lid removed from them, just two little spout holes punched in them. She'd sew the tube part of a wool sock over each can, then sew a piece of upholstery fabric over that. Then she'd arrange six of the cans around a centre can, place a cut-to-shape layer of foam on it, and then a piece of upholstery over that, and sew it in place. Another piece of upholstery fabric went on the bottom. Result: a lightweight little footstool. She made one for each of her many grandchildren and also for other children of her acquaintance. I still have mine. They're perfect for very little kids to sit on, and even a toddler can pick one up and carry it to wherever she wants it. Then, when you get older, they come in handy to block a door open or as a step stool.

I tried to find an example of them on the net, but didn't see one. I know my grandmother didn't invent them though because as a teenager a friend of mine told me her grandmother made them too.

My dad also fondly remembers his mother and sisters using tin cans to bake puddings and cakes and bread.
posted by orange swan at 6:08 AM on November 10, 2008


Class Goat's just pissed because he was going to eat all those tin cans.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:29 AM on November 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


Heh I've read his name as "Glass Coat" for a very long time.
posted by RustyBrooks at 9:48 AM on November 10, 2008


"A good post to MetaFilter is something that meets the following criteria: most people haven't seen it before, there is something interesting about the content on the page, and it might warrant discussion from others."

I think all of orange swan's posts fit this criteria.
posted by queensissy at 10:47 AM on November 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


You scare me.
posted by Danf at 11:52 AM on November 10, 2008


That tin can wallpaper. A thing of beauty.
posted by philfromhavelock at 5:39 PM on November 10, 2008


>I think all of orange swan's posts fit this criteria.
I agree.
posted by philfromhavelock at 5:39 PM on November 10, 2008


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