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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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12 Days of Holiday Crafts, Day 9: Aluminum Can Icicles and Snow Flakes

 (Maggie Bullock)
(Maggie Bullock)

This Christmas season seemed extra busy this year, which means extending the 12 Days of Crafts beyond the 25th. Perhaps now we’ll all have more time to finish some projects. I hope you'll bear with me with some leftovers and New Year's crafts (that's a holiday too, right?!)

Today’s craft is upcycling-focused, and doesn’t require any special equipment, though it looks like it should.

Instead of recycling all of the aluminum cans that were emptied at your house over the holidays, turn a few into icicles and snowflakes! Once you start looking at the cans as decoration, you’ll see a great variety of color and pattern in your recycling bin. Fruit juice cans are especially colorful.

You will need:

cans rescued from the recycle bin
a paper cutter (if you have one, scissors will work otherwise)
a ¼” dowel or a chopstick
a small hole punch
a pencil

For the icicles:

Put on a pair of gloves…you’re working with fairly sharp metal. Cut the tops and bottoms of the cans off with the scissors or a sharp knife (this is easiest if you cut at the point of the can where the aluminum thins, rather than at the curves), then cut the cylinder open. Wash the can and dry it with a kitchen towel.

Using scissors or a paper cutter, straighten up any rough edges of your aluminum rectangle. Cut the aluminum into strips that taper toward the bottom. Mine were about 3/8” to ½” at the wide end and about 1/8” at the small end. You can vary the length of the icicles as you go.

Punch a hole in the center of the wide end that will be used for hanging, then wrap the icicle around a dowel or chopstick as tightly as you can and hold it for a minute to help it retain some shape. The icicles will spring open a bit when you take the chopstick away.

For the snowflakes:

Start using the instructions above to open the cans.

Using a circle template (the bottom of a glass from the kitchen works well), draw a circle on the aluminum and cut it out with scissors. Then cut into the circle to remove small bits of aluminum as pictured. Punch a hole in one of the snowflake arms to hang.

No two will be the same—and that’s a good thing.


Artist and crafter Maggie Wolcott writes about craft events in and around Spokane, as well as her own adventures in creating and repurposing. Her DwellWellNW posts include project and decorating ideas, recipes, reviews of events, and interviews with local artists. Maggie spends her days as an English professor, and when she’s not grading papers, she can generally be found with a paintbrush or scissors in hand. She can be reached at