Create Colorful Aluminum Jewelry: Upcycle Cans into Vibrant Necklaces, Rings, Earrings, Pins, and Bracelets
by Helen Harle (Kalmbach Publishing $14.95 US; $18.95 CAN) literally turns trash, in the form of aluminum cans, into treasure, as in some colorful jewelry designs.
This 55 page full-color book includes 20 jewelry projects along with related tips and techniques. It is a little book packed with colorful and economical jewelry designs.
Tools and Techniques
This slim volume (55 pages) pretty much gets right to it, making jewelry that is. Tools, materials, and some basic techniques are included in 5 pages. First basics like the findings and beads needed to go with the aluminum are covered as well as a brief explanation of the type of cans needed to make the aluminum components for the jewelry. A few non-jewelry tools are discussed like paper punches and eyelet tools. For the techniques, one page covers some jewelry staples like wrapped loops, and two pages cover how to cut and prepare the cans, how to cut holes through them, and how to punch out shapes. Small full-color photos show some of the process, though it would have been nice to see how to prepare the cans rather than just describe how to do it even though it does sound pretty simple. As the author points out, probably the most difficult part of this is just being careful to to cut yourself on the aluminum.
The projects make up the bulk of the book. For the most part, they are made up of aluminum components such as flowers, leaves, and other shapes you cut out from the prepared aluminum cans using a paper punch, normally used for scrapbooking. Then the author shows how to connect these, sometimes even layering multiple pieces, using either epoxy, eyelets, or findings. What impressed me the most about these projects is that you would really have no idea that the components came from aluminum cans, and as the title suggests, they really pop with color, as well as texture.
The two big pluses I see for this book is that, first of all, you can turn items that normally would go in a recycling bin into jewelry. Granted, most soda cans get recycled these days, but this option allows you to be part of that process while making some really unique and colorful jewelry. In addition, you are saving money on supplies.
Normally, if you wanted to make components (like findings, beads, or pendants) they would take a lot of time and may involve a complicated process. So the other big deal is that you are making lots of the components used in a jewelry piece, and it looks pretty easy to do.
This book may have a more narrow audience than other jewelry books out there, but for the earth-friendly jewelry designer on a budget, it is worth checking into.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy