This tutorial uses ordinary paper punches. I will also include the alternative cutting tools and techniques you can use.
I recommend you use proper work gloves to protect hands from sharp edges. Get those which are designed for women – it is very awkward to work with overly large gloves. Good gardening gloves will work.
Use metal snips if you have them. I found an inexpensive pair of scissors from the dollar store works just as well. The workable metal is the flat part. So the first cut is down the side of the can then along the bottom edge.
Then along the top edge to remove the beveled portion. Notice the spiky bits on the left? Those are sharp! Also beware of small shards which might fall on the floor. These need to be removed especially in houses with little paws and little feet.
You can trim the raw edges if you wish.
Create your own “sharps” container with all the bits and pieces for recycling. I also use an unwanted cardboard box, taped up and clearly marked for the recycling people.
Now the fun part. I cut out 6 pink flowers from this particular soda can.
Then 6 discs from the less interesting parts of the cans using a 1.5 ” round cutter.
I layer 3 discs per earring for greater strength, making sure the back and front facing ones are showing the bare aluminum side. The compression effect on the edges during the hole punching renders them blunt.
I then tape each 3-layer group with masking tape to keep them together.
The next step involves embossing or texturing the metal.
I like embossing for 3 reasons. First you work harden the metal which then locks the layers together and lastly, it’s pretty!
There are all kinds of embossing folders which are typically used by those who do papercrafts. I used Sizzix’s Bohemian Botanicals. I just placed the two disc groupings at different places so I could emboss both at the same time.
This particular die cutting machine has a multi-purpose platform (other brands might have a dial to control thickness) with a tab system to quickly change the thickness of what is being processed. I flipped the first tab open and laid the closed folder on the platform and then rolled the lot through. Other embossing folders might be thicker or thinner so adjust accordingly.
Please see the video at the end which shows some other creative texturing tips.
Next mark the centers of the disc groups.
There was some bits of metal sticking out at the back so I used flush cutters to remove them and then sanded the edges smooth with a file.
Same thing with the flowers.
Do a bit of filing if the rivet stem doesn’t quite go through the hole.
I placed the rivet stem from the back through the discs and then stacked 3 flower bits.
Add the rivet cap. Make sure the flower parts are spread out and not overlapping each other.
The embossing does lock the layers together to some degree. However, the riveting ensures the layers do not separate at all.
It’s not easy to keep the layers exactly together during the embossing step. So some trimming might be required.
The last step is to add the ear wires!
A pair of scissors and templates can be all you need to cut out soda cans. You can come up with your own or print out shapes from the internet and trace on the metal.
Or you can use any type of commercial stencil.
If you wish to cut out cookie and candy tins, tin shears and templates like these are what you need. I hesitate to recommend jewelry saws as I personally dislike using them but they are another option. Scissors or a very sharp craft knife if you want to cut out leather and faux leather.
As you can see, you can hold the shears in a more open-handed way compared to the cramped fingers when you hold scissors.
Paper punches are quicker to use. I love multi-purpose tools like these!
Here are a couple of creative tips :
Punch the smaller hole first before cutting out the larger circle when making “go-go” 1960’s style hoops. This allows you to aim better.
Important – not all punches will work for go-gos. Some of the circle punches I had did not have enough depth for the metal sheet to go further in which in turn prevented the larger punch from working as I wanted.
Consider layering pieces – they do not all have to be the same shape either.
Little Windows has handy sets of punches which are conveniently sized for layered designs. I used the oval and square ones for the examples above. But they have other shapes like circles, rectangles and hearts (below).
I have seen others use alcohol inks for custom coloring but Angie demonstrates with alcohol-based markers. You will have to seal afterwards either way.
Before You Go:
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