How To Make BEADS From Aluminum Drink Cans


In this article, Cindy from the Upcycled Design Lab shares her favorite method for upcycling aluminum cans into pretty metal beads. She demonstrates step-by-step how to prepare the aluminum sheets, cut and roll the beads, and even add color to them using alcohol ink. With just a few simple tools and materials, you can create unique and eco-friendly jewelry and other fun projects.

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Key Takeaways

  • Upcycling aluminum cans into metal beads is an easy and affordable way to create unique and eco-friendly jewelry and other fun projects.
  • The process involves preparing the aluminum sheets, cutting and rolling the beads, and sealing and coloring them with alcohol ink.
  • With the right tools and materials, anyone can try this fun and sustainable crafting technique.
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Materials Needed

Aluminum Cans

To make these upcycled aluminum can beads, you will need flattened aluminum sheets. To do this, you will need to break down the can by removing the top and bottom. There are in-depth tutorials available on how to do this, which can be found in the description of the video.

Scissors

A pair of scissors is needed to cut the flattened aluminum sheets into the desired bead shape.

Wooden Skewer

A small wooden skewer is used to start the coil at the end of the bead before rolling it onto the bead roller.

Metal Tape

Metal tape is used to secure the end of the bead before rolling it onto the bead roller. This tape is available with paper backing, which makes it easy to use.

Sealer

A sealer is needed to hold the beads together and to add some adhesive. Mod Podge high gloss is used in the video, but regular Mod Podge can also be used.

Toothpicks

Toothpicks are used to hold the beads while they are drying after being coated with sealer and alcohol ink.

Alcohol Inks

Alcohol inks are used to add color to the beads. Different colors of alcohol inks can be used to create a variety of colored beads.

Glue Sticks

Glue sticks are used to attach the paper template to the flattened aluminum sheet before cutting the beads.

Bead Template

Bead templates are used to create the desired bead shape. The templates used in the video are available on the blog, and the link can be found in the description.

Bead Roller

The green creativity bead roller is used to roll the aluminum sheets into beads. This bead roller is available on Amazon and is the only one that is known to work with aluminum cans.

Overall, these materials are affordable and easy to find. With these materials, you can create unique and eco-friendly jewelry and other fun projects.

Preparation of Aluminum Sheets

To make beads from aluminum cans, the first step is to prepare the aluminum sheets. The cans need to be flattened into metal sheets, which can then be cut into the desired bead shapes. To flatten the cans, the top and bottom must be removed, and the can should be cut into four usable parts. There are several methods for flattening the aluminum sheets, which are explained in detail in the tutorial videos linked in the description.

Once the aluminum sheets are flattened, the next step is to cut them into bead shapes using templates. The templates can be printed from the blog and glued onto the aluminum sheets using a glue stick. The excess aluminum can then be trimmed, and the beads can be cut along the lines of the template.

To roll the beads, a small wooden skewer is used to start a coil at the fat end of the bead. The coil is then tightened with fingers and inserted between the two metal barrels of the green creativity bead roller. The bead is then rolled using the bead roller, which helps hold the aluminum while rolling the bead. The process is simple and can be used to create a variety of bead shapes, including oblong and cylinder beads.

To secure the end of the bead, metal tape is used, which is wrapped around the bead at least two times. The tape is then removed once the bead is rolled, and the bead is sealed using a sealer with adhesive properties to hold the bead. Toothpicks or any other similar object can be used to hold the beads while they dry.

In summary, the preparation of aluminum sheets involves flattening the cans into metal sheets, cutting the sheets into bead shapes using templates, and rolling the beads using a wooden skewer and a bead roller. The beads are secured using metal tape and sealed using a sealer with adhesive properties. The process is simple and can be used to create a variety of bead shapes.

Cutting the Beads

Cricut Cutting Machine

For those who have a Cricut cutting machine, there are SVG files available on the blog that can be used to cut aluminum cans. Additionally, there is a tutorial available on how to cut aluminum cans on a Cricut cutting machine. However, not everyone has access to a Cricut cutting machine, and the beads can be easily cut by hand.

Hand Cutting

To cut the beads by hand, you will need a paper template, a glue stick, a pair of scissors, and a flattened aluminum sheet. First, cut down the paper template and use a little bit of glue to attach it to the aluminum sheet. The glue stick works better than tape, as it holds the paper onto the aluminum while you’re cutting the pieces.

Once the paper is attached to the metal, trim off the excess aluminum and carefully cut your beads along the lines of the template. After cutting, the paper should come off easily, leaving you with a long triangle shape. Before rolling the bead, make sure to secure the end with metal tape. Cut another triangular shaped piece of tape, long enough to wrap around the bead at least two times. Attach the tape to the unprinted side of the aluminum, and coil the fat end of the bead with a metal skewer.

Slide the coil between the two barrels of the green creativity bead roller, and use the pressure lever to guide the bead while turning the handle. When first starting out, the coils may be loose, but they can be tightened by gently pulling on the bead and straightening it out to coil evenly from side to side. Once the bead is complete, remove the paper backing from the tape and continue rolling the tape all the way around to secure the bead. Press down on the pressure lever and pull the bead off the bead roller.

Hand cutting is a simple and easy way to cut the beads, and the beads can be made into various shapes and sizes. Additionally, the aluminum cans can be colored with alcohol inks for added customization.

Rolling the Beads

Oblong Beads

To make oblong beads, you need to cut your aluminum sheets into the shape of the template. After cutting the aluminum sheets, you will need to secure the end of the sheet with metal tape. Next, you will use a metal skewer to start a little bit of a coil at the fat end of the bead, and then tighten it up with your fingers. Once you have a coil, slide it between the two barrels of the green creativity bead roller, and use the pressure lever to help you roll the bead. You can pull on the bead gently to tighten it, and straighten it out here and there so that it coils evenly from side to side.

Cylinder Beads

To make cylinder beads, you will use exactly the same process as for oblong beads, but you will cut your metal tape in a straight shape, so that it matches the shape of the bead. The size of the aluminum cans works well for small beads like the oblong and cylinder beads.

Larger Beads

To make larger beads, you will need three templates and three sheets of aluminum. After cutting the pieces, you will need to tape them together with metal tape. You will then add a piece of tape to the tip of the aluminum sheet and roll the bead in the same fashion as the smaller beads. The three cans in length is about the max that the bead roller can handle because the pressure level is pushed all the way down, and it’s a little harder to release the bigger beads from the bead roller. However, you can roll up to three cans in length to make a bigger bead.

Overall, rolling the beads is a simple process that gives you a fun metal bead that has a very different look than if you were rolling a paper bead. You can use these beads to make jewelry and other fun projects.

Sealing the Beads

After cutting and rolling the aluminum cans into beads, the next step is to seal them. Sealing the beads will not only protect them but also help to hold them together. For this project, the speaker recommends using a sealer that has some adhesive in it, such as Mod Podge High Gloss, to ensure the beads stay securely in place.

To apply the sealer, the speaker suggests using toothpicks to hold the beads and then brushing on a light coat of Mod Podge. After applying the sealer, the beads should be left to dry. The speaker also notes that it’s important to seal the beads before adding any color with alcohol inks. This is because the alcohol inks can cause the tape to fail, which could result in the beads popping open.

Once the sealer is dry, the beads can be colored with alcohol inks. The speaker recommends adding a few drops of alcohol ink to a small container and then shaking the beads around until they’re covered with the desired color. The process can be repeated until the beads are coated with as much color as desired. After coloring the beads, another sealing coat should be applied to protect the color and ensure the beads stay securely in place.

Overall, sealing the beads is an important step in the process of upcycling aluminum cans into beautiful and unique jewelry pieces. By using a sealer with adhesive properties and allowing it to dry completely before adding color, the beads will be protected and hold their shape for a long time.

Coloring the Beads

Once the aluminum beads have been rolled, they can be colored using alcohol inks. To do this, simply add a few drops of alcohol ink to a small container with a few beads and shake the container until the beads are coated with the desired color. More ink can be added and the beads can be shaken until they are coated with as much color as desired.

After coloring the beads, it is important to seal them to prevent the ink from causing the tape to fail and the bead to pop open. A light coat of Mod Podge or another adhesive sealer can be brushed onto the beads and allowed to dry. Once dry, another coat of sealer can be added on top of the alcohol ink to protect the color.

It is worth noting that the beads can be rolled with either the silver or printed side facing out. If the printed side is facing out, clear packing tape can be used instead of metal tape to avoid covering up the print. In this case, a backing such as wax paper or leftover contact paper can be used to make it easier to work with the tape.

Alternative Bead Design

For those who want to try something different, there are other bead designs that can be made using aluminum cans. One alternative bead design is the “barrel” bead, which is a cylindrical shape. To make this bead, the same process is used as for the oblong and cylinder beads, but with a different template.

Another alternative bead design is the “hourglass” bead, which has a tapered shape in the middle. To make this bead, two oblong beads are rolled and then connected in the middle using metal tape. The tape is then covered with another layer of aluminum sheet, which is rolled to create the hourglass shape.

For those who want to add some texture to their beads, another alternative is to use embossing folders. These folders are typically used for paper crafting, but they can also be used with aluminum sheets to create textured designs. The embossed aluminum can then be cut into strips and rolled into beads.

When it comes to coloring the beads, alcohol inks are not the only option. Acrylic paints, nail polish, and even permanent markers can be used to add color to the beads. It is important to seal the beads with a sealer that has some adhesive in it to prevent the color from rubbing off.

Overall, there are many alternative bead designs that can be made using aluminum cans. With some creativity and experimentation, the possibilities are endless.

Kim Lazaroe

Hi, my name is Kim. I've always enjoyed making crafts for each holiday and season throughout the year. My fond memories are making crafts with my mom or helping my dad build something around the house. Now I get to create new crafting memories with my daughter and husband as well as share my knowledge and experience in crafting with the world. Hope you enjoy my site.

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