Recycled Beverage Can Jewelry Dangles Tutorial

I recently made some of these for @Sleepless-Ghost in the Easter egg swap, and @AIMR requested a tutorial, so here it is! This project is a bit fiddly, and you have to be very cautious because the edges of freshly-cut metal are quite sharp. Safety first!

Specialized metalwork tools are helpful, but in a pinch, you can do without most of them.

These were inspired by a pin I received as a gift decades ago. A friend of mine moved to Zimbabwe for a year and brought back a lot of cool handcrafted items, including the pin she gave me. It was entirely crafted from wire and beverage cans, and had similar dangles on it.

The tools I used: cone-nosed jewelry pliers, a 3/4” punch, wire (I think mine is 24 gauge), wire cutters, a metal file, tin snips, box cutter, and a metal punch. If you don’t have a metal punch, you could use an awl or nail along with a hammer and scrap wood. If you don’t have tin snips, regular household scissors will do…but working with the metal may ruin them for other future use.

You start with a clean, dry, empty beverage can. Using the box cutter and tin snips, carefully cut it and flatten it (there should be plenty of tutorials on YouTube about the cutting and flattening process.) Then punch some 3/4” circles.

If you turn the punch upside-down, you’ll be able to see what you’re cutting, so that you can choose the graphics you like and center them.

It’s actually better to do slightly off-center. The top edge will be covered with wire, so your design should be lower than exact center.

Next, lightly file the edges of the circles you’ve punched. Try to go always in one direction, and file away from your body.

If you have a metal punch, use the smallest size punch to make a hole at the top of the circle.

This picture shows the approximate position of the hole: close to the top edge, but not so close it is in danger of breaking. I don’t ever measure, but if you want to be super-precise, you could do that.

If you don’t have a metal punch, you could use an awl or nail instead. Position the circle on top of the scrap wood — pretty side up — and use the hammer to tap a small hole. It should be at least twice the width of your wire. After you make the hole using this method, you’ll need to file down any sharp edges. (Not necessary if you use the metal punch.)

Next, use the cone-nosed pliers and your fingers to curl the circle into a bell shape. It is important that the hole stays at the tip top of the bell. The opening at the top of the bell should be a similar size as the hole you made in the flat circle.

Try to curl the top flap of the bell inward enough so there is not a sharp edge when you handle the bell.

Next, use the wire cutters to cut a length of wire about 3.5 inches. Use the cone-nosed pliers to form a ring at one end of the wire. It should be large enough so that the bell will stay in place when strung onto the wire.

Insert the wire into the bottom of the bell and pull it all the way through until it stops.

Then use the cone-tipped pliers to form another ring at the top of the bell. It should be as close as possible to the top of the bell. Keep holding the ring with the pliers as you wrap the rest of the wire around the top of the bell, all the way to the punched hole.

Use the pliers to bend the free end of the wire inward and tuck it into the punched hole. If the wire seems too long, you may need to trim it before tucking it into the hole.

Make any final adjustments to the position of the wire (I like to try to have the opening of the bell face forward). Then your dangle is complete!

To make a double dangle, complete the bottom bell first. Then attach a second length of wire (maybe slightly longer) to the top ring.

I sometimes make a second loop so that the lower dangle shows better and has freer movement.

Then proceed as before, to complete the top dangle.

The picture below shows what the double dangles look like if you don’t add the extra loop.

Now that I look at that picture, I wonder if I did 1/2 inch circles for those? Hard to tell…

Of course, you can also make triple dangles, etc. Just start at the bottom and keep adding new bells at the top.

Have fun!

Edited to add: I checked today, and the correct punch size is indeed 3/4”. See below for comparison of 1/2” and 3/4” circle dangles.


Nice tute, thanks!


This is fabulous, I can see these for SO many crafts!


Thanks! I do plan to offer some in the next round of Shop the Swap.

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Thanks for the detailed instructions and tips! Thank goodness this week was not recycle week…I can go retrieve some of my cans!

I have always loved crafts that use materials that might be thrown away…it makes sense that a similar craft was done in Zimbabwe where people tend to use what is available.

Can’t wait to give these a try!


These are really neat! I can see so many ways these could embellish things or be the center of a project. When I did some beverage can projects awhile back I really started noticing all the cool designs on those kinds of cans. I don’t generally drink a lot of the things that come in these cans, but when I was trying to get cool cans I tried a lot more! :rofl:

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My husband drinks seltzer water and those come in some pretty colorful cans…he shook his head when I told him to save me a few from the recycle bin…ha…he knows I am up to my crafting ways!


While I was more actively seeking cans, I was often disappointed that I only drink plain seltzer, because the cans are so great. Also, it seems like one can only get those in 12 packs, so just picking up one only for the can wasn’t feasible.


I’ve had many of these cans for quite a while; you’d be surprised how many you can store in a small box if you cut them open and flatten them. The darker red/magenta pieces came from a raspberry Peace Tea can.

I used to regularly raid the recycle bin at the sleep lab where I worked. The night shift techs would often bring energy drinks to help them stay awake. A lot of those cans have fun graphics.

Also, my son is a fan of fizzy sodas, and will pick up interesting-looking cans sometimes at places like Asian grocery stores. That’s where the pink cherry blossoms came from… many, many years ago.

P.S. I made a few edits to the end of the tute.

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What an awesome tute!! The dangles are so cool and unique…love the designs you chose, especially that peace sign.

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Very cool. Thanks for the tutorial.

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Awesome! Thanks for the tute!

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These are SUPER cute!! Thank you for the tutorial.

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Those are great and look like a lot of work, thanks for showing how you make them.

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Thanks, everyone! They are not bad @Cindy; pretty fast when you are doing a batch of them at once.

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I could see right away some tinkling windchimes designed with these. I love these little cones and they are a great way to work on perfecting wire-wrapping. Aluminum cans are so easy to work with. Thanks for all of the pics to show your techniques.