How to make 'Soda poppies'

April 05, 2012|By CHRIS COPLEY |

You've already dyed all the eggs in the house, and the kids still want something to do because school's out and they're BOOOORRRED.

Julie Cantrel has an idea: Make flowers using aluminum soda cans.

Cantrel, art teacher with Winter Street Elementary School in Hagerstown, said this project combines two holiday themes — flowers for Easter and recycled materials for Earth Day.

And since Earth Day is a few weeks away — on April 22 — there's lots of time to round up more cans and make more flowers.

Cantrel showed The Herald-Mail how to make aluminum can flowers. Emily Morris' fifth-grade students provided the creative ideas.

Students said they liked the combination of art and recycling.

"It's a good idea because it's not just saving the planet. We can use the cans to make stuff," said Kaytie Banzhoff.

"The extra stuff that you would put in the recycle bin, you can do something with it," said Brittney Simpkins.

The process is pretty simple and surprisingly safe. The aluminum used in soda cans is thin and soft, almost like a metallic plastic. Cantrel let the fifth-graders cut the metal themselves with scissors, but she told her students to be careful of the cut edges. There were no injuries.

 First step: Gather cans and cut them in half.

Cantrel let each student pick three cans from her stash. Earlier, using a craft knife, Cantrel carefully cut a slit in the side of each can to help kids safely cut into the metal. Cut two cans around their "equators." Keep the third can intact.

 Second step: Cut the sides of each half-can into strips.

These strips will be your flower petals. Vary the width and length of the strips. Further shape the petals, if you want — bend them around a pencil or marker to make them curve, or pinch the tips of the petals to make them pointed.

 Third step: Check your design.

Arrange the four petal layers together with longer petals on the bottom and shorter petals on top. Make changes — switching layers or recutting petals — until the blossom looks pleasing.

 Fourth step: Make a decorative floret.

To make a small decoration for the center of your "flower," cut a 2- to 3-inch circle from the side of your third can. Cut the circle into six to eight petal shapes. Round the petals, then pinch the tips to make them pointed.

 Fifth step A: Assemble the flower without a stem

Use a hammer and large nail or screwdriver to poke holes through the center of each petal layer. Arrange the layers the way you want them, and use a round-headed paper fastener to hold the layers together.

 Fifth step B: Assemble the flower with a stem

Cantrel's students put a wire stem on their flowers. First, make holes as in Step 5. Then take a piece of stiff wire, bend 1/4 inch of one end into an L-shape, and thread the wire through one of the large beads, then through the flower layers. Put the other large bead on the wire under the layers. Press petals tightly together, and put another L-bend under the bottom bead. Bend the remaining wire in half to double it, and twist the two wires together to form the stem.

"Plant" your flower in a pretty vase indoors or in the garden outdoors.


For the project, you'll need:

  •  A craft knife
  •  A hammer
  •  A large nail or screwdriver

For each person, you'll need:

  •  Three rinsed soda cans
  •  One pair of scissors
  •  A round-headed paper fastener, or about two feet of stiff wire (no thicker than clothes hanger wire)
  •  Two large beads

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