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Hints & Tips

Recycle Week: Ways to Reuse Aluminum Drinks Cans

Following on from ways to reuse plastic carrier bags, the next focus for Recycle Week 2015 is on upcycling aluminium cans. Although aluminium cans are widely recycled, it’s always quite nice to make some rather mundane household waste into something pretty, isn’t it? So instead of sending them to the recycle bin, you can make something functional from those old baked bean or drinks cans instead!

Preparing Aluminium Cans for Upcycling

Before upcycling your aluminium cans, you need to prepare them so they are not only safe to use, but you also get rid of the food and smells from the inside. If you’re making a stationary holder for example, you don’t want to pick up a pen and have the remnants of some old Tuna on it! So make sure you get rid of any sharp edges from around the rim (this can be done with a bit of wire wool or sandpaper) and wash it out thoroughly and leave to air dry before getting crafty.

Are your cans now clean and ready? Let’s go!

Ways to Recycle Aluminium Cans

  • Bird feeder

What better way to welcome the birds to your garden than providing them with a tasty selection of seeds to feast on? Remove the top and bottom of the tin can, then simply paint it bright colour to let the birds know it’s there, turn it on the side and loop some string through. Glue a semi-circle of plastic to each side of the can to stop the seeds falling out. Hang it from a tree in your garden and enjoy the tweeting of the birds enjoying food from their feeder all summer long!

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  • Plant Pot

By removing the top end of the can and popping some holes in to the bottom, you can create a little plant pot which is perfect for either keeping some cacti in, or for displaying some small house plants! You can decorate the outside of the can in any way you like, with the use of some acrylic paint, or even layer some pretty material and ribbon on it to make a series of cute plant pots in any room.

  • Cocktail Glasses

Okay, even with the outcry against restaurants using quirky containers to serve your food and drink in, we can’t resist a beverage in a glass with a difference! Make sure your can is clean and get creative with the cocktail mixing! The best thing about serving your ice cold cocktails in a metal container is that they seem to hold the chill for a little longer, which is perfect for a summer day lazing in the garden with friends.

  • Weaved Plastic Baskets

As mentioned in our previous recycling blog post here, you can make some really cute weaved baskets from drink cans. This one is super easy to do as well, because you can cut the thinner metal with scissors. Make them as colourful as you like, or go for simply black or white designs. These are great to use as little hanging plant pots inside and outside of your home.

  • Candle Holders

You can easily make candle holders from old tin cans by drilling a few holes in them. Get creative with colours and patterns to really make them a centre piece of any shelf or table! Depending on the thickness of the can, you can either create the holes with a small drill or sharp screwdriver, but to ensure you don’t slip and injure your hands, cover the section of the can you’re piercing holes in with some masking tape first.

Don’t forget to keep checking back here on the Preloved blog to find more hints and tips torecycle every day household waste, especially for Recycle Week 2015! Don’t forget to share your thrifty upcycling ideas over on Facebook or Twitter!



Liv Serrage

Liv Serrage

Writer and expert

Liv writes the newsletters and looks after the Preloved social media community, hunting out the quirkiest, most beautiful items on site just for you! As an English Language and Literature graduate from the University of Oxford, Liv is passionate about all things fictional, bookish and creative. In her spare time, she loves to go to gigs and scour vintage and charity shops for one off items!