Sunday, July 6, 2014

Useful Drawing- Tutorial on Flattening an Aluminum Can for Future Use

Drawing a process cements it in my brain somehow.  Today I was cutting open and flattening out an aluminum can to use on the flap of a laptop case.  I had done it before, but only once or twice, and I wished that I had made a record of that process because it took me a while to figure out how to do it the first time and to remember it this time.  This time I recorded it;  and next time if I'm not sure how to do it, it will be right here for reference.  But mainly, I'll remember much better how to do it from drawing the steps. 

Key to success is a pair of industrial strength scissors, in this case my trusty Cutco kitchen scissors that not only can cut through a penny as advertised, but can also easily slice through aluminum.  Step 1: rinse out the can;  then poke a hole in it by stabbing it with one blade of the scissors as close to the top as possible.  Step 2 is to simply snip below the top to remove it.  Step 3 : slice the can from the top to the bottom, and then cut around the bottom.  Step 4 is to render the lethally sharp rectangle of aluminum harmless.  Place a metal ruler about 1/4 inch below each edge and press the edge to be folded up against the ruler and then over, forming a hem.  Do this on all four sides.  Then you can either hammer the fold flat or burnish it flat with a bone folder or metal burnishing tool or even the bowl of a spoon.


  1. Followed link to your blog, was intrigued by "flattening an aluminum can". I have cut apart tons of cans over the years, using the same method, up to the part about folding back and smoothing. Needless to say I have sliced myself many times on that aluminum! So glad to see your way of addressing this. Love your drawing.

    1. Thanks! Isn't it great to connect with other people who share your bizarre pastimes and interests? I didn't expect anyone to even open this link!

  2. What were you using the can for on your laptop case?

  3. What were you using the can for on your laptop case?

  4. As a design. It was a Bob Marley citrus drink can and the customer is a fan of Bob Marley!