Friday, September 25, 2009

Recyclable Art


We have been a whirlwind of activity this week.  We are steadily (thankfully not frantically... yet) finishing up our 4-H projects. This year we did a project in recyclable art.  I was extremely happy with the results! 

Since they turned out so cute and were very manageable for my 10 and 12-year-old boys, I thought I would share this craft with you. 

Materials needed:

Clean coffee, soup or any metal recycled can

Stencil or template


Hammer and nail


Wire for hanging

Spray paint

Step one:

Using your stencil as a guide, place dots on the can.  We used a star and  just placed the dots around the template so that the shape of the star would be recognizable.  If your really talented, you can freehand it or have your children make their own design.

Step two:

Fill your clean can with water (leave room for expansion) and place in the freezer.  Freeze till solid.

Step three:

Lay a thick towel down on a hard surface. (We just used the kitchen table.)  Place your frozen can on the towel.  Take the hammer and using the nail piece holes in the can where you placed your dots.  This was super easy to do. Since the metal was cold it pierced really easy.  I'm pretty sure young children could do this very easily with the help of an adult.

Step four:

Let it melt and then dry it off really good.

Step five:

Spray paint. Let dry.  We applied about 2 coats.

Step six:

Run a wire handle through the top.  **Don't forget to punch holes for this while the can is frozen.  We did forget on one and it was pretty hard to get holes in after the can had thawed.


We were able to make every bit of ours from recycled materials.  We used paint from a previous project.  Wire that Joel's work place was throwing out. And candles using recycled glade candle holders and chunks of old pillar candles. 


The last thing I did was to put velcro (the very thin variety) on the inside bottom of the can and on the bottom of the candle so that the candle wouldn't slide from side to side.

And there you have it, a pretty luminary! I'm might just have to throw a bon fire party, so that I can hang these beauties up in one of our trees and watch them glow!


  1. Great project. I'm going to save this for a Camp Grandma project. What fun. Thanks Jenn!

    You and your blessings have a wonderful weekend!!!

  2. That's fantastic! The finished pieces look so nice.

  3. we worked on recycled art yesterday!
    what fun~~

  4. oh I just LOVE this!! how creative you are~!~ thanks so much for sharing! that would be a neat idea to try with my daughter :)

  5. Great job, boys! I look forward to seeing them in person!

  6. What a great idea! I've done something similar to this with old coffee cans or formula cans - but using them at Christmas. Actually I just painted them with acrylic paints...punched holes to attach a gauze/sheer ribbon, added some artwork or Merry Christmas! and then added some tissue paper and filled them with cookies or other fun treats to hand out to friends and neighbors.

    It felt good to "recycle" in that regard and it turned out charming. I'll have to remember this idea for illuminaries in the future.

  7. wonderful idea and how timely! I'll post if this works out for me! Very glad you shared this Jenn!

  8. I'm always impressed by this sort of thing. You know, crafty-ish things. I'm so not crafty.

    These would be so beautiful hanging from a tree. Kudos :)

  9. What a fun little project. The water/freezing idea is great. These cans are hard to pierce with out that. Very cute!

  10. Very creative! You all did a great job!

    Hope you're having a great weekend!
    Take care,


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