Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How to Make Riveted Recycled Soda Can Earrings

I was so impressed by Helen Harle's book, Create Colorful Aluminum Jewelry: Upcycle cans into vibrant necklaces, rings, earrings, pins, and bracelets (see my review) I was inspired to design and make my own recycled soda can earrings. It's fun to rivet metal components using eyelets or grommets (tube rivets) as it doesn't require soldering. Riveting is thus a "cold connection" technique.

 

1. Opening up a Soda Can
The metal used for aluminum cans is quite thin so they are easy to cut and to punch shapes from. First thing to do is to cut open a can so you get a flat sheet. When dismantling a can, work gloves are important as the cut edges are sharp!  I used tin shears but a good pair of kitchen scissors will probably work too. Take care not to buckle the metal or scratch off the color.

2. Punching Flower Shapes
Ordinary paper punches work fine. I picked a flower one. It's easier to hold the punch the other way so you can see what you are punching out. Once punched out, the edges are dull so it's safe to handle with bare fingers.


Don't forget you can also use the plain side of the can in the less desirable areas - those with printed words.

Make a hole in the center of the flower big enough for the eyelet. I used 1/8" eyelets. If you have a simple metal puncher, you can punch several holes to make a larger one and use a bead reamer to carefully enlarge the initial hole. A nail to puncture a hole might also work.


3. Punching Holes in Discs
I had 1" aluminum discs.  You might be able to get washers with the right size hole from your local hardware store. I tumbled my discs. If you don't have a tumbler, a gentle scrub with a soft old toothbrush and detergent will clean up the raw discs.

The flower shape I chose happen to fit within the 1" aluminum discs I had. Mark the central location using a ruler and marker pen. The hole has to be big enough to fit the eyelet.


The quickest way to make holes in metal is to use either a metal hole puncher or a drill with the right sized bit.  If you are using a drill, you must first make a dent or dimple using a center punch (above left) to prevent the bit from skipping and marring the surface when you first start drilling.  It also helps to clamp down the piece or use a vise so it won't move. A drill press, where the drill is mounted and maneuvered up and down with a lever, is so much better for doing this. Wearing safety glasses or ordinary glasses is good practice.

If you suspect that black disc is a hockey puck, you're right! After all, I am Canadian and ice hockey is the national game.  But seriously, I got that puck after reading a tip about drilling sea glass submerged in water (see How to Drill Sea Glass) - it doesn't float like wood.

I also have the Euro Power metal punch which makes various sizes of holes. There was one bit, the 1/8" which was the right size for my eyelets. Metal punching is effortless with this tool.


Remove the marker pen marks with isopropanol  (rubbing alcohol) or nail polish remover.

Optional : Hammer with the round end to create a textured effect.


4. Eyelet or Grommet Riveting
This is the fun part. Sandwich the soda can flower between the the eyelet and the disc, with the rimmed part of the eyelet at the front.  Place the assembled piece right side down on a steel block. Working at the back, place the eyelet setter carefully over the eyelet and hammer to flange it. The eyelet setter I have came from a fabric store. If you have a center punch set, then use it to flare the tube rivet.


5. Finishing touches
Punch holes for the jump rings. I made the flower 3-D by gently curling the ends of each petal using my round nose pliers. Enjoy!





More Metal Work Tutorials
______________________________
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

7 comments :

Susanna Originals said...

What a great tutorial, Pearl! That would be a great one for teaching teenage girls the rudiments of jewelry making. They'd have fun, learn the joys of reusing and recycling, be amazed at what you can do with a soda can and actually end up with something they'd wear!

Michelle L. said...

Wonderful! Thanks for the great tute, Pearl - I have wanted to try rivets for ages and never got up the nerve. The earrings are so pretty!

Carol said...

Very cute earrings. It's a great technique.
Thanks
Carol

Alexandra Béland said...

Your article is filled with wery usefull tips. Thank you so much!

Willi said...

Love the earrings you made, what a great color!

BetteJo said...

Y'know - I bet I would find a way to cut myself.

Almost Precious said...

The earrings are adorable and look especially sweet with the dappled texture that you created on the metal disc. Très Chic !

Share via

Custom Design by Bloggermint & Blogger Themes