Celebrating Mid-Summer with Recycled Aluminum Cans!

Garden Art!  Sun mobile made from the aluminum can bottoms left over from the butterfly mobile.

The idea of making little suns was inspired by Midsummer Celebrations.  Midsummer is celebrated around the world near the summer solstice - the longest day of the year. This link will give you some idea of how many cultures celebrate.

Scandinavians are well known for their Midsummer bonfires, dancing and parties - I am told it is the biggest festival of the whole year.

Stonehenge was no doubt also a very important place for Midsummer celebrations in ancient times.

Here are a few videos  - join in the fun!

Midsummer in Sweden - beautiful  - don't miss this one!

Midsommar - more lovely dancing!

Raising the Midsummer pole - very short and fun!

Added June 24th

I just received a lovely note from my friend Margit in which she shared Danish Midsummer traditions and celebrations that take place on her island of Bornholm, specifically her town of Svaneke.

A little about Midsummer celebrations in Denmark.

This link (scroll to Denmark) mentions the holy wells.  Now that the wells in Svaneke have all dried up, the village children make little wells with three sticks and decorate them with flowers.  A bowl filled with water is hung inside the well and is visited by neighbors who drop coins into it.  The money is given to the children.  Margit sent me this little image so I could better understand what the wells look like so I just had to share!

I think next year I will make one for my own garden to celebrate!

Margit just posted a lovely new apple paper and box!  Don't miss!

Added June 25th!

Sasha (Squashed Tomatoes) just posted the most wonderful set of images from her family's celebrtation of Midsummer in Sweden!  She even shows how to make the lovely flower wreaths worn by young girls and how the Midsummer Poles are constructed and raised.  Don't miss this!

I must make a flower wreath next year also!

Besides hanging my little mobile in my split leaf maple tree, I am celebrating by sitting in the sun!  Believe it or not - here in the Pacific Northwest the sun finally made an appearance - just in time for Midsummer! And... we broke 80 degrees!

Before moving on to the tutorial for the mobile, I wanted to share these cool little "thingys" borrowed from my sweetie's fishing tackle box.

He hangs our giant snowflakes using "swivels" because the slightest breeze in the room will set the snowflakes spinning around and around.  These little guys make that possible.

I liked the idea for my little suns.

And I am happy to report, they are working great!  When the breezes blow, my little suns spin in the wind.

Below is a quick little tutorial for making these.  But if you haven't worked with aluminum before, you might want to check out the information found in these tutorials:  Recycled Aluminum Can Butterfly MobileMaking Punched tin Butterflies, and Making Punched Tin Light Shields.

And remember - always, always wear protective eye goggles when working with metal.

The edges are sharp and can cause cuts.  But just keep this in mind as you handle your project.  There is no reason to avoid playing with aluminum. Just be careful and wear gloves if you wish.

Since I was only interested in the middle portion of the can when I made the butterflies, I needed to go back and use my tin snips to trim the ragged cut I made when removing the bottom.

Simple cuts made on the edge make great sun rays! I just eyeballed these.

Once the cuts were completed, I used a pair of needle nose pliers to gently twist each sun ray just to make it a bit more interesting.

The factory codes come right off with a bit of rubbing alcohol.

You may find that a sturdy pair of nail sissors works very well for cutting those little slits along the edge.

Since I didn't want my suns all the same, I changed my "tweaking method" a bit - pulling first one up and the next down with the needle nose pliers.

Both sides look great!

Two "suns" can be glued together if you like!

To make petals, I borrowed a cutting technique from Alice (Futuregirl Craft blog) - check out her simple and foolproof tutorial for cutting daisies!

This is the only way I have been able to cut "petals" - if you can call them that!  From a distance - they look great. Not easy to make them perfect in factory pressed, curved aluminum!

The nail sissors are a must for cutting petals.

First cut one side of the petal all the way around.  Then turn the sun over and cut the other side of the petals.

Cutting inside a plastic box (repurposed cookie container), keeps the metal chips from flying everywhere.  I was amazed at how well it worked to contain them.

Flower power!

Check out "Candles Holders made from Tuna Cans" for the how to for these playful sun rays.

These scraps left from trimming turned out to be perfect centers for some of the suns.

That one little idea sparked a bunch of other ideas!  And the next thing you know - I had enough little suns for my mobile!

Rims and tin removed from the large tin cans I repurposed to make tin frames and sconces had retained graceful curves and turned out to be perfect for making a hanger.

Who is celebrating midsummer?  Leave me a comment and tell me how!


i love all of your tutorials

i love all of your tutorials and thank you for sharing my favorites are the dragonfly and the tiny sun tin can bottoms, but would like to know what kind of glue is used to hold two bottom pop cans together, thanks again for your creative ideas.

Maria, thank you for your

Maria, thank you for your question and patience.  I just discovered a problem with my comment "notifier"!  When I want to glue metal to metal I use E6000 glue.  Takes a while to completely dry but it is a very good glue.  Just be sure to use in a ventilated area.  

Thanks for the garden art

Thanks for the garden art project. Off to drink a can of soda & recycle.

What a fantastic idea and

What a fantastic idea and incredible way to re-purpose those aluminum cans! Thank you for sharing!

Pam, every time I come to

Pam, every time I come to your blog I feel so at home! My Father lived for a while on the island of Bornholm and always talks about it! How fun to see these same things and places that I have heard over the years!

I am excited to finally see what to do with the soda bottoms that I had left over from making your butterflies. I had tried stamping words into them to use as garden stakes. However, I just never liked how they turned out. I love what you did with yours. Thanks for all the tips as well!

HI Pam- Thanks for commenting

HI Pam-

Thanks for commenting on my garden stakes. I just love what you did here with the bottom of soda cans. The way you cut them out and added all the scraps really makes them special and not look like soda cans at all, but high end garden ornaments, You are so clever. My daughter bought a small bowl that was completly made from weaving tin can strips in many different colors together. All the edges are folded so you don't have to worry about cutting yourself.
Hope you are having a nice weekend.

Oh how pretty Pam! And useful

Oh how pretty Pam! And useful too if you have spiteful birds in your garden! ;-) I'll be linking to this, thanks so much for the how-to!

I love all the links you

I love all the links you share with us. I am going to go off to see them as soon as I finish catching up on your posts. You have been doing such fun a pretty things. You amaze me!

That must be so great when

That must be so great when the summer rays hit it. I have seen people hanging their old cds but this is so much nicer. I wonder if this could work as a modern time scare crow?

Actually, Kathy, Rebecca at

Actually, Kathy, Rebecca at Roots and Wings uses similar mobiles for exactly that purpose!  She places them on stakes in the big tubs of strawberries to keep the birds at bay!


Just so you know, they have

Just so you know, they have worked wonders! No birds have gone after any of my strawberries. And my strawberries have been HUGE producers this year! My sister lives within miles of my house and the birds haven't spared one of her strawberries yet! Pam, thanks for the fantastic tutorial on those butterflies, they are beautiful and are allowing my children the opportunity to eat strawberries fresh from the garden while they play in the backyard!

I wondered about getting the

I wondered about getting the code of off bottles and cans - thanks for the tip!

Hi Pam! Love your Midsummer

Hi Pam! Love your Midsummer post! In Sweden the big day is tomorrow (this year anyway), despite the longest day being a few days ago - I think it may be to do with the Swedish Royal wedding? Anyway, we shall be celebrating, and I hope you will join us ! (now we are back from England!).

Welcome home, Sasha! I hope

Welcome home, Sasha!

I hope by your invitation you mean you will be posting about Midsummer celebrations in your own neighborhood!  I will put a link in this post if you do.

I had a great time on U-TUbe searching through all the videos of Swedish celebrations! Wish I could be there in person!

great little tutorial, the

great little tutorial, the little suns will sparkle and add fun to any garden

Thank you!  i am glad to hear

Thank you!  i am glad to hear you like my Midsummer mobile!  You are absolutely right - it does sparkle - when the sun it out!