Recycled tin can makes a trinket box

I have been promising myself to try some metal working for ages, but just never seemed to find the time to get round to it. The opportunity finally presented itself today when wondering what I could make with an empty coffee can.


This was my very first attempt and I had so much fun that I will definitely be making more keepsake and trinket boxes.

Apart from a Dremel MultiTool, which you could substitute with tin snips, all you really need for this project is a flathead screwdriver and an old ballpoint pen!

Step 1
Remove any labels or sand off any paint. Use a Dremel MultiTool with cutting disk to remove the top band and bottom of the tin. Clamp the tin securely as you work. Be sure to wear goggles and gloves - the steel is very sharp at this stage.

Step 2
Cut down the centre of the can and then use the Dremel MultiTool and cutting disk to neaten the edges.

Step 3
Use a grinding stone to blunt the edges around the box. Sand the edge first and then front and back so that there are no more sharp edges.





Step 4
Use a flathead screwdriver and straightedge to score the lines to make the sides of the lid. My box is a total of 170cm square and I marked the sides 4cm wide. However, having completed the project the next box I make will be smaller and more of a trinket box.

Step 5
Place your square of metal on a soft surface. I used a piece of foam but you can also use a towel or something similar. On the back side use the ballpoint pen to etch your design and then press down hard. You will know you are pressing hard enough when you can see the design showing through the other side.

Step 6
When you have completed your design, turn over and use the pen to outline around the shape that shows through. You have a choice to only outline one side for a raised effect, or outline on both sides to create a sharper design. Play around and see which you prefer.

Step 7
Because this month is Valentine's Day I decided to do a heart design and put initials in the centre. If you do decide to do any writing, remember that you have to write back-to-front so that it reads properly on the front side.

Step 8
Use your Dremel MultiTool again to cut the side flaps that will be bent over to create the box shape. Cut carefully, as cut too far in and you will spoil the shape of the box.

Step 9
Fold up the corners and arrange the flaps so that you can glue them down. I used superglue and clamp it immediately until the glue had set. Epoxy glue should work as well, but make sure you get the one for metal - 10-minute epoxy. After completing the lid, make the base in exactly the same way, but make it slightly smaller in size and the sides slightly wider/higher to make it easy to open.

If you battle to bend the sides make sure that you have scored deep enough and then place a block along the score line so that you can tap with a hammer.

Be creative
Line the inside of the base with velvet or a nice fabric and then pop in a few choccies for a nice gift or keepsake.