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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuna Can Baskets

These are so very easy to make. If you're doing them with small children, you'll need to drill or punch the holes in the cans and bend the wire. Lots of ornamentation possible. Get out the button box, plastic beads and stickers! These are plain. 
To make them you'll need empty tuna cans that have been washed well. Hopefully you're already using a safety can opener for all your cans. I love mine so much. The kind that breaks the seal instead of cutting the can so there are no sharp edges?
This will also work with wood brie boxes to make more shallow boxes.

To punch the holes in mine, I used a two hole metal punch, but I also tested with my hand operated craft drill and that went through just fine. A motorized rotary tool will work as well, but as much as possible, I prefer using human powered things. 

You will need:
Tuna can
punch, drill or nails to put holes in the can
paper, fabric, ornaments, braid, anything you want to decorate your can with
1/8 inch hole punch for paper
glue of some sort- heavier fabrics like the pink paisley do best with hot glue, which my daughter also used as a design detail. A bit of glitter makes it shiny, with the paper version I used PVA glue which adhered fairly well. More on the flowered version in just a bit.
12 inch piece of wire- the kind I used is aluminum 17 gauge wire. (see note at bottom)
wire cutters
cylinder form of some sort, I used a salt container.

If you're using fabric, you'll wrap it around the can and cut it to fit. 
To put the seam in the back and the wire handle in the middle between the front and the back, you'll fold your fabric to find the right spots. Fold it in half, then fold each side down to meet the fold in the middle. Those second folds are where you want the holes for handles. Mark them, and pierce holes. If you're using a two hole metal punch like I did, make sure the holes aren't too far down for the throat of the punch.

If you're using paper, just print my template. It's 300 dpi and 10.5 inches long, so you need to print it at exactly 300 dpi with 1/4 inch margins. Punch the holes and use it as a guide for your scrapbook or hand stamped papers.

Glue the fabric or paper around the can, then use the holes you punched as guides for where to pierce the can using the drill or metal punch. If you're using a nail to punch the holes, you'll want to punch them before you glue the paper or fabric into place. To do that, wrap the fabric or paper around the can and use a permanent marker to mark where the holes are. Punch the holes then very carefully line up the holes on the paper or the fabric and glue it into place.

To make the handle, curve the middle of the wire around your cylinder form, and turn up the ends of the wire at 90 degree angles about 2 inches from the ends. If you want to add beads, now is the time. Don't bead the whole wire though, you'll need about an inch of bare wire on either side.
Now put the handle into the can, and put the ends of the wire through the holes to the outside. Use the pliers to wrap the wire ends around the wire.

Add whatever decorations you'd like, and I used tulle circles leftover from another project to line the baskets when they were done.
Click the images for the full sized versions. I printed out my example on card stock because it's not as sheer as paper. The first image is the template.

Printable! I could fit 4 on one page easily, so I did. And a black and white version for Liberty, or for anyone who likes the scrolly swirly design but wants to color it themselves.

Notes: The flowered version was the easiest. I used Japanese self adhesive cloth for that one that Abigail from Abigail's Crafts How To sent me a few months ago. I've been hoarding it. The fabric punches easily with hand punches and there are some people on Etsy who sell it. Really awesome stuff. The back is marked with a grid in centimeters which makes it easy to cut very straight, then you peel up the back to apply it.

The wire comes on a 250 foot spool. If that's too much for you, you can usually find smaller spools of different kinds of wire at the hardware store, ask the clerk. However, you may find you use it as much as I do. The stuff is perfect for quick wire crowns or to make bubble wands with. It's also made quick sword holders for costumes, and gets used as armatures in dolls. Plus my husband has a habit of asking me every so often if I have wire he can use for something and aluminum costs a lot less than copper. 

1 comment:

  1. what a great swirly design! I don't eat tuna but I know, for sure, I will find a way to use this :) I've saved it to my Fun Colouring Images file (which now has so much of your excellent work in it!)


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