Five Ways To ‘Upcycle’ Scrap Metal At Home

Upcycling is all the rage--and not without good reason. It's good for the environment, it's a fun hobby, it's a good bonding activity with your friends or kids and by its very nature it's not an expensive way to pass a drizzly Sunday afternoon! Sure, you can recycle your scrap metal by taking it to the recycling centre or leaving it out for collection--but why not save a little to recycle yourself at home with one of these fun projects?

Tin Can Windchimes

Opened, empty food cans come in a variety of shapes and sizes, are durable but workable, and are trivial to get hold of. This makes them a great choice for a variety of fun craft projects, including this gorgeous set of garden windchimes!

First off, sand the top edge of the can down to make sure it's no longer sharp. Next, take an ordinary drill and--using a smallish bit--carefully drill a hole through the bottom of the can. Using this hole and some durable nylon thread you can suspend a bead, smaller tin can or other object inside the can and leave yourself a leading thread to hang it up with. Your can can then be spray painted, without or without stencils and metallic accents!

With a few extra cans, a lot of imagination and a stick or wooden dowelling circle to tie them onto, you can make quite elaborate things using this method--so save up those tins and don't be afraid to experiment.

Woven Can Tab Bags & Purses

Crafts like this had their heyday in the 90s--so as the 90s are seeing something of a fashion revival right now, they're slowly beginning to crop back up. The finished product looks super complicated, but this technique is deceptively easy to master!

You'll need a big pile of the ring pulls off the top of fizzy drinks cans, some reasonably durable cotton cording or thick ribbon, a yarn needle and some fabric for a lining.

You'll be making your bag row by row, so decide how wide you want it to be first. Figure out how many ring pulls that will be, then use the cotton cording and the yarn needle to sew them together. You do this by laying them out side by side and then weaving the needle in the top of the hole on one, then through the bottom of the next, then the top of the one after, etc.

Make enough of these rows to cover your bag's desired height, then sew the rows together. You'll want the rows to overlap by about an quarter of an inch. Knot the cording securely to tie it off.

When you've got the basic piece of your bag, cut some lining fabric to the same size as it. Line it up and sew it to the tabs with more cording. Fold it in half to form your bag and sew the sides together.

Aluminium Foil Drawings

This is a simple, versatile way to re-use untorn foil! All you need is a bit of cardboard, some foil, a thick tacky glue that dries hard, an ordinary glue stick, a cotton bud and some shoe polish.

First, use the thick glue to create your pattern on the cardboard. If you like, you can draw on the cardboard first and then go over the lines with the glue. Wait for it to dry, then use the glue stick to gently glue to foil over it. Wrap the edges around the back of the cardboard.

Use the cotton bud to adhere it properly so your pattern comes through, gently buff with shoe polish to highlight the edges and voila! A tinfoil artwork of your very own.