I love making things out of recycled soda cans. We go through a lot of them in our house and don’t have a recycling service in our neighborhood, so I was determined to find something to do with them. I’ve enjoyed making soda can flowers, soda can earrings, soda can hot air balloons, soda can wind spinners, and more. I would love for you to try using some of yours as well! Below you’ll find a step-by-step tutorial for my soda can flowers.
- 2 soda cans, rinsed out, tops and bottoms cut off
- Metal brad to hold them together
- Scissors or a crafting machine that cuts (I have a Cricut Explore Air 2)
- Flower petal SVG file/pattern
- Glue (optional)
SAFETY NOTE: Cutting aluminum cans can be dangerous to the health of your fingers. Use thin protective gloves if possible. Exposed aluminum edges are SHARP!
Step-by-Step Soda Can Flowers
Take your rinsed-out soda cans and, using scissors, a box cutter, or an Exacto knife, cut off the tops of the cans right where it starts to curve (about half an inch/2 cm down from the metal top). You’ll need your metal pieces to be as flat as possible and this curve will make that impossible. If you are using scissors you may need to poke a hole with something else to be able to insert them.
Once the tops are off you’ll then need to remove the bottoms. You may need to cut a little above the metal bottom of the can (a quarter-inch or about 1 cm). I’ve found if you try to cut right on the metal line of the bottom it’s pretty difficult. It’s easier and the metal is thinner a little above that line.
Once the tops and bottoms are removed, you’ll be left with the middle portions of your cans. Cut a slit down them to make them into single sheets of aluminum. I try and cut in the middle or right on the edge of the nutrition label. Cutting it in half puts it at the edges of our aluminum sheets which will most likely be scrapped. The centers of our soda can sheets will be where the petals are cut from.
Using a sturdy edge, like that of a table, desk, or heavy box, rub your aluminum sheets up and down against their natural curve to flatten them the best you can. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but the flatter it is the easier it will be to cut later. Carefully trim any rough edges with scissors.
At this point you will either use the provided patterns to trace the petals onto your aluminum sheets or pull up the SVG file on your machine’s software. If you are tracing the flower petals by hand, I suggest you trace them using a dry-erase marker or a piece of chalk. Both of these allow you to rub off any leftover marks after you’re done cutting.
*The first time I tried making soda can flowers I tried using the tip of a pen to press the pattern into the metal but it wasn’t as visible as I’d hoped. If you’d like to give it a shot please do! Let me know what you used so I can add it to this post. 🙂
Carefully cut out the patterns you’ve traced, or let your machine cut out the shapes. On my Cricut Explore Air 2 I have to tell the machine to apply extra pressure for it to score the aluminum enough to pop the shapes out. You may need your machine to make 2 or 3 passes for it to cut deep enough.
Once all the shapes are cut out, start to assemble them. You should have one 5-petaled piece, two small windmill-looking pieces, and two larger windmill-looking pieces. For my flowers, I only have the 5-petaled piece facing pattern-side down. The two small windmill pieces will go next, followed by the two large windmill pieces. I keep all the windmill pieces pattern-side up so the soda can’s colorful pattern shows on the petals, but it’s up to you how you want your flower to look.
Take your brad and insert it into the center of the 5-petaled piece, followed by the small windmill pieces, and then the large windmill pieces. Turn your flower pieces over and spread the arms of the brad to keep the petals in place. If your brad doesn’t secure them enough you can put a little bit of glue between each flower piece—just make sure the “petals” are offset when you glue so they all show through. You won’t be able to adjust them once the glue dries.
* For this tutorial I chose to shape the petals after I had inserted the brad, but you might want to try shaping them a little beforehand to make things easier.
At this point, you’ll want to start shaping your flower. Starting with the 5-petaled piece, take one petal and bend each side in toward the middle making a rough cone shape. You’ll then take the petal opposite it and try to bend it around the first. Keep working with the petals on the opposite side of the one you just shaped until all five petals are bent around the first, creating the center of your flower. I find this to be the most difficult part and have found it helpful to crease the bottom of each petal when I bend it upward so it stays in place.
When the center of your flower is done, take the first small windmill piece and bend the petals upward, again creasing the bottoms so they stay in place. Then, placing your fingers at the bottom of each petal, you’ll gently push the sides toward the center. This may create a bit of a “V” shape at the bottom of each petal, which is totally fine.
Do the same to the remaining petals until all the petals are bent up and slightly curved toward the center. Make sure the petals are offset so they only partially cover the ones behind them. Then use your fingers to bend back the tips of the flower petals so they look more open and flower-like.
And you’re done! I’ve left flowers like this, or I’ve glued pieces of metal hangers to the bottom of my flowers to create a stem. I’ve seen people cover the wire with floral tape as well if that’s something you want to do.
I watched all the tutorials I could possibly find for soda can flowers before I decided to make my own. In those tutorials, some just used glue to hold the petal pieces together rather than a brad through the middle. Another person used a rivet and rivet gun to connect all of her petals together. If you find a different method that works for you please share in the comments so we can all try it out!
There are many other tutorials out there for flowers, though most tutorials I’ve seen are specifically for paper flowers. I’ll adapt these paper tutorials for aluminum. Join my email list if you want to be informed every time I get a new tutorial posted!