Five Things You Can Make Out of a Film Canister

film can projects
Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2

Ya wanna know something? In our heart of hearts, we still love the silvery gelatinated plastic stuff. And we know some of you peoples love it too.

Well there’s no reason to hide it, pal! Make one of these five projects from used film canisters, and show everyone you still know how to kick it old skool.

Whether you go for the earrings, the keychain, the svelte ring, the dog tag, or the big ol’ belt buckle, we promise you’ll love ’em. Even if you haven’t shotten film in yearz and yearz.

Five Things You Can Make Out of a Film Canister

p.s. We hear there’s some sort of Hallmark holiday coming up next weekend. We also hear that sometimes money can buy love. :P

Five Things to Make

Since a film canister is just a sheet of decorated metal, there are tons of things you can make out of it. Flatten it out to cover a belt buckle, curve a small strip to make an adjustable ring, or cut it into discs to make earrings or dog tags. Or you can leave the canister whole and turn it into a keychain. You’re excited, right? Darned right you are. Let’s get started!

Basic Element #1: The Sheet

sheet ingredientsWhat You’ll Need:

  • Empty 35mm film canisters
  • A bottle-opener
  • Work gloves (optional)
  • Mallet (optional)
  • Scissors or tin snips
  • Sandpaper

Step 1: Acquire an empty film canister. If you don’t process your own film, ask the local photo lab if they’ll let you have some. (We got ours from the nice guy at Light Waves.)

film can sheetPry the cap off the end of the canister using a bottle opener.

Step 2: Put work gloves on if you have them: the edges of the metal are sharp. Open the canister up and flatten it out. Peel off the strips of fuzzy fabric inside.

Step 3: Flatten the metal sheet out as much as you can. If you want to get hardcore about it, place it on a flat surface and pound it flat with a rubber mallet.

Basic Element #2: The Disc

disc ingredientsWhat You’ll Need:

  • Empty 35mm film canisters
  • A bottle-opener
  • Work gloves (optional)
  • Mallet (optional)
  • Scissors or tin snips
  • Sandpaper
  • Assorted coins (from dime-sized to half-dollar sized)
  • Fine-tip Sharpie
  • Small nail (or drill and assorted small bits)

Step 1: Pry the cap off the film canister and flatten it out as much as possible.

film can discStep 2: Place a coin on top of the metal sheet and trace around it with a fine-tip Sharpie.

Step 3: Cut out the disc shape you traced. Smooth out the edges with sandpaper or a metal file.

The Ring

film can ring

Step 1: Make a sheet as described above.

Step 2: Cut a 1/4″ to 1/2″ wide strip from the sheet.

Step 3: Round the corners of the strip slightly with scissors. Smooth the edges of the strip very well with a file or sandpaper.

Step 4: Curl the strip around a thick marker to make a ring. Try the ring on and adjust the size to fit your finger.

The Dog Tag

dog tagWhat Else You’ll Need:

  • A small, sturdy metal ring

Step 1: Make a disc as described above, about the size of a quarter or half-dollar coin.

Step 2: Use the nail to punch a hole in the top of the disc, pushing through from front to back (or use a drill and 3/32″ bit). Sand the hole on the back of the disc with sandpaper to remove any sharp edges. If you want, keep sanding until you remove all the black paint from the back of the disc.

Step 3: Write your pet’s name & address on the back of the disc using the Sharpie. Attach the disc to the metal ring, and attach the ring to your pet’s collar.

The Earrings

film can earringsWhat Else You’ll Need:

  • Two earring wires

Step 1: Make two small (dime-sized) discs as described above.

Step 2: Use a nail to punch a hole in the top of each disc, or use a drill and 1/16″ bit. Sand the hole smooth without scratching the front of the disc.

Step 3: Hang the discs on the earring wires, and put them in your shell-like ears. Whoa. You’re hot.

The Belt Buckle

film can belt buckleWhat Else You’ll Need:

  • A small belt buckle
  • Strong glue

Step 1: Choose a belt buckle to adorn. The ideal buckle for this is small, rectangular and flat. You can use a blank belt buckle, or cover up the front of one you already have.

Step 2: Make a film canister into a metal sheet as described above.

Step 3: Cut the sheet to fit the belt buckle. Blunt the edges of the metal sheet by rubbing them with sandpaper. Try not to scratch the paint on the front of the sheet.

Step 4: Center the metal sheet over the front of the buckle and glue it into place. Use a strong glue like Duco Cement or Gorilla Glue (as long as you keep it out of your pet or kid’s reach). Pay special attention to gluing down the corners of the sheet.

As soon as the glue is dry, you can slap that buckle onto your belt and strut your stuff in front of an admiring populace.

The Keychain

film can keychainWhat Else You’ll Need:

  • Keychain ring
  • Drill with 1/16″ and 3/32″ bits
  • Block of scrap wood

Step 1: For this project, use a film canister that still has the plastic spool inside. Place it on its side on the block of wood.

Step 2: Carefully and slowly, drill a 1/16″ hole in the top of the plastic spool. Change bits and enlarge the hole using a 3/32″ bit.

Step 3: Thread the keychain ring through the hole in the spool. Put your keys on the ring and show off your film-solidarity every time you open a door.

More Ideas

  • For a lighter, girlier version of the belt buckle, embed several film can discs in resin.
  • The sky’s the limit! If you come up with something great, let us know- we’d love to see what you guys make!