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How to Make Earrings from Recycled Aluminum Soda Can Jewelry Tutorial

Updated on July 19, 2016

By Natasha Hoover

Yellow butterfly aluminum can earrings
Yellow butterfly aluminum can earrings | Source

Aluminum Soda Can Crafts

Are you ready to stop pitching cans and start upcycling them into creative, eco-chic jewelry? There are many different aluminum can crafts, but earrings are one of the easiest things to make and the perfect beginner project. Working with aluminum cans can be tricky, and even a little dangerous, so it's a good idea to start out with a relatively simple, easy project and 'work your way up.'

A single aluminum can makes several pairs of similar, but not typically identical, earrings. The earrings are fun, fresh, and very lightweight, which makes them perfect for people like me who cannot wear heavy earrings. Upcycled can earrings are a great beginner project because they do not require many specialized tools - chances are good you already have most, or all, of the needed supplies at home. If you don't, the additional items will only cost you a couple of dollars.

Supplies needed for aluminum can earrings
Supplies needed for aluminum can earrings | Source

Supplies for Making Can Earrings

All you need for this project is:

  • An empty, clean can
  • Scissors or aviation snips (metal cutters)
  • A paper hole punch
  • A thumbtack/pushpin
  • Jump rings or fine chain
  • Needle nose pliers. A pair of tweezers will also do, in a pinch
  • Earring backs

Please note: this project may damage your scissors and/or hole punch. I have broken inexpensive hole punches by using them to cut aluminum cans. I was able to make several pairs of cute earrings before breaking the punch, but it did stop working. On the other hand, my higher-quality hole punches are still going strong after dozens of uses. Scissors may become dull after cutting metal, but shouldn't actually break.

If you do not want to buy an entire package of earring backs or jump rings for one simple project, consider dismantling another pair of earrings for parts. If you have a pair you never wear, why not recycle them, too? Holding on to earrings after a mate has been broken or lost is another great way to accumulate free jewelry supplies.

If you are allergic to inexpensive metals with a high nickle content, consider purchasing sterling silver, niobium, or surgical steel earring wires. You don't want to break out in a rash from wearing your new earrings!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sheet of metal from soda canPress against your work surface to punch holes in the canCut-outs from the soda canUsing a thumbtack to pierce the metalOpen a link of chainAttach the cutout shape to the chainUsing two pairs of pliers helps you open/close jump rings and earring loopsOpen the earring hook's loop and attach is to the chain or jump ring
Source
Sheet of metal from soda can
Sheet of metal from soda can | Source
Press against your work surface to punch holes in the can
Press against your work surface to punch holes in the can | Source
Cut-outs from the soda can
Cut-outs from the soda can | Source
Using a thumbtack to pierce the metal
Using a thumbtack to pierce the metal | Source
Source
Open a link of chain
Open a link of chain | Source
Attach the cutout shape to the chain
Attach the cutout shape to the chain | Source
Using two pairs of pliers helps you open/close jump rings and earring loops
Using two pairs of pliers helps you open/close jump rings and earring loops | Source
Open the earring hook's loop and attach is to the chain or jump ring
Open the earring hook's loop and attach is to the chain or jump ring | Source
Finished aluminum can earrings
Finished aluminum can earrings | Source

How to Make Soda Can Earrings

  1. Cut the aluminum can to turn it into a sheet of metal. I usually find it's easiest to jab the scissor tip into the can to start a hole, cut around the top of the can, cut a slit down the side, and then cut the bottom off the can (as shown to the right).
  2. Use your hole punch to cut shapes from the can. It can take a lot of pressure to cut through a can - make sure you cut against a table or other hard surface instead of just using your hands.
  3. Be careful - cut aluminum edges may be sharp. Usually, the punch dulls the edges. If you find the edges are sharp, use fine grit sandpaper, or even an emery board, to sand down the edges.
  4. Play around with your cut pieces to decide how you want them to hang. Do you want a single, large piece? Do you want to hang several pieces to create a dangle earring? The pink and yellow earrings shown higher on the page have three small butterflies, each, but the earrings in the tutorial have one large butterfly. The choice is yours!
  5. After deciding how you want your pieces to hang, use the pushpin to make a small hole where you need a jump ring to attach to the piece.
  6. Use your needle nose pliers or tweezers to bend a jump ring (or end of a small length of chain, as shown) open just wide enough to slip into the thumbtack hole.
  7. Close the ring to keep the metal shape from slipping back out.
  8. Open the loop on the end of your earring back.
  9. Slip the open loop through the jump ring or at the other end of your length of chain.
  10. Close the earring's loop.

That's all there is to it! Aluminum can earrings are amazingly easy to create.

Grabbing a ring with both pliers and tweezers
Grabbing a ring with both pliers and tweezers | Source

Tips for Making Jewelry

  • Separating rings can be difficult with only one pair of pliers. Grabbing opposite sides of the ring with two different pairs, or a pair of pliers and a narrow pair of tweezers, can make both opening and closing rings easier.
  • Round nose pliers are less likely to damage metal rings and leave unsightly marks. While it is more difficult to grip items with round pliers than flat, needle nose pliers, I prefer them because they do not damage the jewelry as often.
  • Make sure to close all rings and tightly as possible. Aluminum can punch-outs are very thin and can easily slip out of partially-open rings.

Do you make your own jewelry?

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Enjoy Making your own Recycled Jewelry

Making upcycled aluminum can earrings is very easy and the possibilities are almost endless - just think about all the brightly-colored cans and cool designs you see at the grocery store. The wide variety of available hole punches means you can create earrings in just about any shape or size. Handmade earrings are fantastic gifts, too, and you can usually buy earring gift boxes at jewelry or craft stores for less than a dollar each, so dressing up a pair of earrings to make it look like a 'real' gift it easy.

I have to admit - I've gone a little overboard with my empty can collection and it is unlikely I'll even turn all of them into earrings. Hubber Jamie Brock has a fantastic round-up of aluminum can craft ideas that I've linked to the right. Some of them, like the aluminum can purse, are a little too intense for me, but I've been thinking about making the lanterns because they look so darn cute! Do you have any other suggestions for aluminum can crafts? I'd love to hear them!

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    • Helga Silva profile image

      Helga Silva 21 months ago from USA

      Wow! That is an amazing idea. Thanks for sharing.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      It's a great feeling! I love changing unwanted things into wanted ones, too.

    • JessicaBarst profile image

      Jessica Barst 3 years ago from Dallas, TX

      Great tutorial! I love working with recycled materials for all sorts of crafts, and especially for making jewelry. It's so rewarding to turn what some people consider 'trash' into something beautiful and wearable!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks so much! I appreciate you stoping by.

    • Fiona Jean Mckay profile image

      Fiona 3 years ago from South Africa

      i really like this idea - so pretty and a great way to save the environment

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for stopping in! I hope she likes it. Just yesterday I was eyeing some cans and wondering what I could do with them!

    • TycoonSam profile image

      TycoonSam 4 years ago from Washington, MI

      This is a very crafty idea. My daughter has been making ear rings for quite some time but never out of empty cans. I will pass this on to her.

      Voted up and useful!

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you!

    • Indian Chef profile image

      Indian Chef 4 years ago from New Delhi India

      They look so beautiful.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! I am glad you like the photos - it can get difficult/annoying to take a picture of every step, but I feel like it's important!

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Great project and I love your pictures to complement your step by step explanations! The resul is very pretty and I love the fact that you recylce some of the materials to creat those earings!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks, jpcmc!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      This is really creative. Plus, it's a great way to recycle.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Glad you enjoyed it!

    • profile image

      Ruth Lanham 4 years ago

      Very cute! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      It is https://www.etsy.com/shop/StalkingTheWildSnark, but the earrings have very little to do with other things I've made.

    • Valene profile image

      Valene 4 years ago from Missouri

      Cool! What's the name of your store on Etsy? I would love to see more of your work.

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      I have sold a few on etsy. And I'm bringing some to a craft show this weekend. I also enjoy wearing them, myself!

    • Valene profile image

      Valene 4 years ago from Missouri

      I definitely have to try this! Do you sell these anywhere, or have you had any luck selling them?

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you very much!

    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 4 years ago

      This is absolutely AWESOME! You are incredibly talented and resourceful!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      If you're willing to do a little cold riveting, you can make all sorts of cool things from aluminum cans!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Pretty earrings! I like the concept of cutting shapes from aluminum cans. I think that could be used to make a variety of shapes for earrings or even for pendants.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Wow - what a fun comment to read! Thank you and I hope y'all enjoy!

    • profile image

      Single Shot 4 years ago

      Whoa! Thanks so much! You see my fiance' is looking for ways to craft things out of aluminum cans! you just helped me find a way for him to do so! Great up I give you a 10!

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks!

    • Magdaleine profile image

      Magdaleine 4 years ago

      This is great! very creative :)

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you!

      Yes, higher quality punches will cut through aluminum cans. Aluminum cans are actually pretty thin! Best of all, the punch usually kind of dulls the edges, so filing/sanding isn't typically needed.

    • Availiasvision profile image

      Jennifer Arnett 4 years ago from California

      I had no idea that a decorative punch could cleanly cut an aluminum can. What a fun way to make jewelry. I hope someone "pins" this. You get an "A" for creativity.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      You can also make chandelier-type earrings this way. It's amazing how many cool designs you can make with something you were going to throw away!

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • danielleantosz profile image

      danielleantosz 4 years ago from Florida

      Very cute! I like to cut out three or four teardrop shapes, each one a little smaller than the last, and attach them to earring hooks. Give them a little weight (but not too much) and a lot of movement. Love the butterflies! Voted up and useful!

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you, Rosie writes! I happen to like them, too. =) I hope you get the chance to make some for yourself! It's a pretty quick project, once you have your materials on hand.

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 4 years ago from Virginia

      These earrings are super cute! What a great idea. I hope to find time to try this. Great hub!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! Glad you liked it =)

    • dragonflyfla profile image

      dragonflyfla 4 years ago from South Florida

      Wow...how cool is this. I voted you up and pinned you under "Isn't that clever" !

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! I've actually never had a HotD, but I rarely write weekly inspiration topics correctly. I wrote one last week and forgot to do it so it would show up as a WTI hub, for example. Oh, well. Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you liked it!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      I absolutely love this! It should be a HOTD. (Is anybody out there listening?)

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you. I love that HubPages gives me the chance to share my projects.

    • shai77 profile image

      Chen 4 years ago

      I saw the picture first and when I read the title I could not believe they were soda cans. These are amazing-- you are very talented and creative. What a great hub, and great instructions. Good job!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      It would be difficult to get too upset about five cents, though i would probably be rounding cans up and hauling them in for a rebate! It would be a total novelty for me because we don't get anything for ours. I hope you get the chance to try this and enjoy your creations. Thank you for voting and sharing!

    • RunningDeer profile image

      RunningDeer 4 years ago from Iowa

      These are so neat! I've never seen this before. In Iowa we get money back for our cans, but there are still some that don't have enough aluminum to buy back that I could use. Of course, I don't think I'd feel too bad about destroying 5 cents worth. Voted up and shared.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Excellent! Best of luck with your crafting endeavors and thank you for sharing.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      These are great, I have a whole bag of earring backs already so I have to try this. Thank you. Voted up and shared.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      For a few weeks I actually developed a problem - I was collecting too many empty cans because I loved the way they looked. I was even making bracelets from aluminum cans! Then I decided I needed to spry to take a step back and do something else with my life...I still love them, though.

      Thanks for stopping by and voting.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 4 years ago from Arizona

      What an imaginative upcycling idea! You'll never be at a loss for raw materials! Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Hm, I actually haven't seen those! I really like Zulu Grass, though. It's made by Maasai women and is beautiful.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

      These are very nice! I've seen some fair train soda can earrings made by tribal women in Africa and always thought that was really a creative way to repurpose.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you very much! And I appreciate the share =)

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      These are fabulous! I love the butterfly pattern. Wonderful idea and a gorgeous hub! Pinning and sharing!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks, sunshine! I was just thinking this morning I really need to make something new because it's been a while since I wrote a crafting-type hub and I always enjoy them! Thanks for stopping by.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Natasha, These earrings are not only creative and look easy to make they are also very hip. You do have a talent of creating crafty hub creations!:)

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks so much! I'm glad you liked the idea.

    • abbyw1989 profile image

      Abby 5 years ago from Ireland

      Never thought of this - an absolutely fascinating hub. Will definitely be sharing this :)

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you, Jenn-Anne! Hope you enjoy the project!

    • Jenn-Anne profile image

      Jenn-Anne 5 years ago

      What a cool idea! My daughter will love this! Love the step-by-step instructions - well done! Voted up!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I have a much younger sister and I, sadly, remember the yanking stage well! Thanks for stopping by and voting - I hope you have the chance to make these soon! They are surprisingly quick and easy, but nice-looking, too.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 5 years ago

      Oh my those butterfly earrings are beautiful!! As soon as my baby has outgrown the grab and yank on everything faze I will most certainly be making these! Thank you for this wonderful hub! Voting and sharing (and bookmarking for later!)

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      It's amazing what you can make from 'trash,' isn't it?

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • sarasa66 profile image

      sarasa66 5 years ago

      interesting.I had never thought one can make earrings out of throw away used cans. The step by step instruction and pictures are inviting enough for my daughter whos in college to give a try.Thank you.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! I'm glad you liked it and found it easy to follow. Writing out instructions for projects like this can be tricky. Thank you for sharing, too!

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      An engaging hub! A creative way of upcycling cans into pretty earrings! Your tutorial and tips are well-explained. Recently, I read the hub by a reputed hubber named prasetio30 - this hub is about a talented man named Sandy Sanderson who transformed cans into miniature cars, planes and trucks! Your hub is economical and crafty! Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up & Socially Shared

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks, JudiBee for sharing and vespawoolf for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I'm sure you can handle it, just make sure not to cut yourself on the metal cut-outs. You kind of have to try, but it is possible!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      This is great! I'm all thumbs, but with your helpful instructions I might even be able to handle this project. Thanks for sharing!

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

      Very cool! I would never have thought of doing this. Sharing.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you, Robin and teaches!

      Make sure to caution your friends it could ruin their hole punch, though. The butterfly one has been working forever, but I had a star punch thwt was less expensive and it got destroyed after two cans.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Who would have thought that a soda can would make such pretty earrings? Very creative and lovely.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 5 years ago from San Francisco

      This is amazing! You are incredibly crafty. I will pass this Hub along to my jewelry-making friends. ;)

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks! Glad you like it =)

    • NiaG profile image

      NiaG 5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      How neat and adorable. I never would have thunk it. :-). Since Pinterest I've seen all kinds of cool things. This is definitely amongst them.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for stopping by! I don't drink any soda, actually. All my can earrings are from seltzer water! Good luck on your challenge. Based on my experience, after not drinking soda for that long, you won't want it.

    • talfonso profile image

      talfonso 5 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      Soda can earrings are innovative recycling projects! I don't drink as much soda as my relative (I'm doing the Soda Free Summer thing) but if she finishes her cans of diet soda, I'll gladly get them and make those things. Thanks for writing this!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! One of my favorite things about them is how lightweight they are. One of my earrring holes was ripped about 20 years ago and wearing heavy earrings hurts to this day. Alluminum can earrings are so light you can barely tell you're wearing anything.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Making earrings from aluminum cans is such a good idea, Natasha! This is a very helpful hub for people who are interested in making their own jewelry. I'm going to tweet this hub, too.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you for the complement, votes, and tweet! I dislike 'how-tos' that don't have pictures. For me, looking at something is frequently more clear than reading about it, so I try to provide lots of photos. I'm really glad you like them!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

      What a neat idea! I really appreciate your step-by-step instructions and pictures. Rated awesome and tweeted!

    • Natashalh profile image
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      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Yes, it is possible to cut yourself pretty badly, if you're not careful! Thanks so much for stopping by and voting.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      This is so clever! I know I would end up cutting myself on the can! lol! but its well worth the effort! this is wonderful, great ideas and tips, voted up! cheers nell

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you so much, jennyjenny, carol7777, and Jamie Brock! I really appreciate your stopping by, voting, commenting, and even sharing!

      I decided to try can earrings after I began hoarding cans because I thought I'd take them and sell them at a recycling center. Then I learned I'd make about .5 cents, or less, a can and gave up. I couldn't just get rid of all those awesome cans, though, so I started making things!

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      This is a fantastic hub and what pretty earrings! It's easy to understand with lots of nice photos and I love all of the useful tips that you shared too! Awesome hub Natashlh! Voting up and sharing :)

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      Who would have thought to try soda cans for earings. Very creative and interesting..Will have to try this. Great hub.

    • jennyjenny profile image

      jennyjenny 5 years ago from Somewhere in Michigan

      Great Hub! :) I am always on the look out for unique options for eco-crafting! We have 4 4H-ers in the family...What a great jewelry or recycled art project for the fair! :) Thanks for Sharing!