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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Sunday, November 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 48° Partly Cloudy

Upcycled Life: Embossed aluminum is a crafty pop of fun

 (Katie Patterson Larson/For The Spokesman-Review)
(Katie Patterson Larson/For The Spokesman-Review)
By Katie Patterson Larson For The Spokesman-Review

The best DIY is the one where you already have everything you need. Embossed soda cans might be one of those crafts that doesn’t take you to the store to buy supplies or tools if you have an aluminum can or two at your disposal. The finished look resembles tin folk art, especially if you use the printed side of the can for color.


Cut open a clean and empty aluminum can by removing the top and bottom with scissors so that you have a flat rectangular piece to work with. Trace or freehand your shapes with an old ballpoint pen and then cut out the shapes with scissors. Watch out for sharp edges.

With the aluminum on the cardboard surface, add as much or as little detail as you like by drawing right onto the metal with the pen to create embossed lines. Working on a scrap piece of cardboard will offer a slight cushion to create an embossed look and protect your work surface.

To finish, I hot glued the shapes onto an orphaned embroidery hoop, but an old lamp shade ring or other hoop also could be used. Try this method of embossing for other craft projects and embellishments.

Katie Patterson Larson is the director and founder of Art Salvage, a creative reuse center in Spokane. Art Salvage keeps usable materials out of the waste stream and makes them accessible and affordable to everyone. Visit the Art Salvage store for more upcycled inspiration and to find gently used and new creative materials. For more information, visit Contact Patterson Larson at

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