Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Great Tin Can Experiment

I've started to save all the cans that my vegetables come in...  I have tuna cans and olive cans, cans that had corn or green beans, even cans that had ravioli in them.  I've started saving all of my bottles, too--wine bottles, cream soda bottles, mayonnaise jars and soy sauce containers...  I'm starting to feel rather like a hoarder.  I've got boxes of trash all over the place!

I've been slowly soaking the labels off off them, and this weekend I tried some experiments.  I told myself I was going to find something to do with them, and I hadn't figured out what, but I would rather have them than not because my soul told me they'd be handy at some point.  So my collection got bigger even though I had no idea why I was hoarding these things, trusting that soon my creative muse would share with me something fun and inspiring.  I think I finally took a step forward.

I had used Sophisticated Finishes before for some mask making projects that I experimented with, and wanted to try them again.  So having this pile of tin cans provided the perfect opportunity to explore a rustic side of my creativity that is decidedly non-sewing inclined!  I jumped in and started painting these cans with primer, then copper and blackened bronze finishes.  Then I applied a solvent to them that made green and blue patina!  So not only did I have rust, but I had oxidized copper and bronze as well!

So I had piles of cans and bottles with faux copper and bronze surfaces that were all antiqued and old-looking.  What to do?  Make them fancy.

I whipped out my armature wire that I had purchased for my doll-making projects, and my leftover polymer clay tiles, chopped off some shanks from the back of buttons, and added some glass floral gems.  Add some left over metallic trim and fringe, and some beads strung on the wire and held with glue, some rhinestones, and voila!  A whimsical mobile with a carnival/rustic/steampunk edge!

I've been working with my dremel tool a bit, and tried to learn how to solder but realized that was a learning curve I was a bit too impatient to conquer this weekend.  It's fun to eat into my stock of beads and findings, but I did end up going to the bead store to get more simply because I don't have a lot of items in the blue/teal ranges...  I needed more.  And while I was there, I found copper rings and chain and even more beads and...  <sigh>  Isn't it interesting that even when you're recycling something it can be expensive?!?  Haha!

So I'm now the proud maker of around 12 different little "room jewelry" ornaments that I'm going to put in my Etsy shop.  All of them different, all of them unique.  I'm incredibly happy with how they've turned out--I'll add more pics as I get them processed.  I have to say the looping wire with the beads is a real favorite of mine--it's delicate and guides the eye wonderfully.  I'm going to explore what I can do with it.  And I'm going to try more "circus" oriented pieces that might be interesting.  We'll see.

Until next time, Live Life with Relish!


  1. Totally brillant!! You are really onto something here ... your ideas come at a fast pace, it seems!

  2. Thank so much, Susan! I'm trying to figure out how to make them a few into a mobile. I'm also considering punching holes in them and some other stuff. Could be an interesting lighting fixture, huh? ; )


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