The October Eco-Crafting teaching project, is a smashed can black cat! This project was actually in my “Crafts For Kids-Book 2“ published about 20 +years ago . It’s very cool how ‘vintage’ projects like this cycle around and are still great projects to make. Remember you could change this to be any animal. The above book also had a pig, dog, frog, bat with other crafts for kids.
Eco-Smashed Can Black Cat
By EcoHeidi/Heidi Borchers
*Teaching kids to be EcoFriendly and Creative at the same time.
* Always have a sample pre-made of the project you are making.
*Whenever possible and for teaching large groups I prepare and pre-cut
everything and place into a zip lock bag. (I often will pre-cut pieces and bag
everything while watching TV) For smaller groups, you will need
to decide how much you want them to do themselves and their skill level.
*For this project in a class room, if you want to prepare the aluminum
cans, you will need to pre-smash and pre-paint the cans. If I have pre-
smashed the cans, I still want to show the kids how I smash a can in
the class. I first show how I smashed the can. For younger kids, I
ask if any one would like to try smashing a can. I invite them up one by
one to stomp and smash a can. They then give me back the smashed can,
and I can use that smashed can for another time with another group.
*Pre-cutting all pieces…then place all the items into a zip lock bag. For
older kids that can cut. You may give a scissor/pattern lesson where they
cut out the patterns from paper then place patterns onto items to cut out. *When they put the items onto to the table from the bag, use this as a
Counting, sorting lesson and/or shape lesson. They can also see the
different items they will be using (such as two ears are from craft foam,
pom poms for cheeks etc.) Let them know what products they are using
and what they will be on the finished project.
*Gluing properly- One of the biggest challenges with children is gluing
with a white liquid glue. They always tend to use to much. Show how
using a small amount of glue works well. Be sure to use a good glue (then
you don‘t have to use too much). Teach the kids a little goes a long way.
Even if the kids want to squeeze their own bottle of glue, I usually will put
out a small amount on a paper plate and let them use a toothpick to apply
to projects. (If you let them use the squeeze bottle, teach them to use in
small amounts). When teaching this project to our test group we used glue
dots (Can be purchased at your local craft store usually found in the scrap-
booking section). The glue dots worked perfectly. If kids are too small to
remove the glue dots from paper, have them put items onto the glue dot,
then remove and put into it’s place on project. Sometimes you will have to
help placement, ask them to press hard in place. You can also place glue dot onto project, then have them put the item into the pre-placed glue dot. Keep in mind- think of their age and skill-ability, you are teaching techniques they will use for a lifetime. They need to feel that they made this project themselves, even if you had to help.
*Remember to continue to talk to the kids about how important it is to recycle. It’s also great to put into the lesson plan- what happens when items like aluminum cans go into the land fill. See below for several recycle info links.
Have the kids help give suggestions of what else could be used that’s eco- friendly.
Materials Needed to make 1:
*Aluminum Cans-2 ( one to smash with the kids and one pre smashed and
*Paint- I used Rustoleum Flat Spray paint ( I know we are trying to be eco- friendly, but right now there aren’t lots of choices of spray type eco friendly paints. If you choose to go completely eco friendly and have the kids paint their own cans, there are several kinds of Eco-Friendly paint acrylic type paints on the market, that can be brushed or sponged on- I have found these brush on eco paints need at least two coats and the best way to apply to project is by using a cosmetic sponge, letting each coat dry completely before applying another coat. The eco friendly brands I’m familiar with are: http://www.EcoGreenCrafts.com -
*Glue- We used Glue Dots with our test group. A ¼” dot works great. (If using a white glue, I recommend Aleene’s Tacky glue- see above for additional hints when using a white glue with kids)
* Pom poms- 2 Black ½” dia (cheeks)
* Craft Foam- Sticky back type-Black (ears) Red (tongue) Brown ( nose)
*Wiggle Eyes-2 – 15mm (In our test group we used 10 mm as that was the only size I could find in bulk- so you can use either 10 or 15mm)
*Chenille Stem (Often called pipe cleaner) one black 12” long (tail)
*Fabric or ribbon for bow (In our test group I used orange fabric strips- 3/8” x 9” long -then pre-tied the bows- I found for a large group the fabric was less money than ribbon)
Magnetic strip- with adhesive backing ½” wide x 1-¼” long. Use only if you want to have finished piece attach to a refrigerator.
Smashing the can- You must first ‘squish’ the side of the cans inward. This helps you to smash the can where some of the can is smashed outward. Work with the sides, then place onto a hard surface, and smash can down with your shoe. (see above for letting the kids help)
Painting the cans- Make sure you have a well ventilated area where you are spraying. Cover area with newspaper, and place cans onto newspaper. Thoroughly spray paint each smashed can. Let dry completely
Decorating the cans-The hole at the top of the can will be the mouth. Place two glue dots right above the hole. Place a pom pom onto each glue dot. Place two glue dots above the pom poms for the eyes. Press eyes into the glue dots. Cut out the patterns from the sticky craft foam. You will need 2/black ears, 1/brown nose, 1/red tongue. Peel off the paper backing and apply these to the pre-pared can. The brown nose will be place over the pom pom cheeks, the tongue will be placed inside the mouth area, and the ears will go on upper rim, right above the eyes. Place a glue dot on can right below the mouth for the bow. For the tail, wrap the chenille stem into a ‘cork screw’ shape, then place a glue dot to upper edge or back of can, place the tail onto the glue dot. Place the sticky side of magnetic strip to the back of the can at the top edge.
In the plastic zip loc bag you will have:
One smashed can pre-painted black
2 black pom poms (for cheeks)
2 wiggle eyes
One nose (from brown craft foam)
Two ears (from black craft foam)
One tongue (from red craft foam)
One bow (from orange ribbon or fabric)
One Chenille stem black (for tail)
One last note:
When using this project with your group or class please let them know where you got the idea from- EcoHeidi/Heidi Borchers . If you change anything on this project or make another animal/project or if you make these to sell, I’m giving you this creative project as a gift to inspire you. All I ask is that you share with your group and let them know I inspired you. Thank you!
Some links for info on recycling Aluminum cans
*A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can, in as little as 60 days. That’s closed loop recycling at its finest!
*Used aluminum beverage cans are the most recycled item in the U.S., but other types of aluminum, such as siding, gutters, car components, storm window frames, and lawn furniture can also be recycled.
*Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours — or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline.
*More aluminum goes into beverage cans than any other product.
*Because so many of them are recycled, aluminum cans account for less than 1% of the total U.S. waste stream, according to EPA estimates.
*An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now!
*There is no limit to the amount of times an aluminum can be recycled.
*We use over 80,000,000,000 aluminum soda cans every year. (Note that’s Billion!!!)
*At one time, aluminum was more valuable than gold!
*A 60-watt light bulb can be run for over a day on the amount of energy saved by recycling 1 pound of steel. In one year in the United States, the recycling of steel saves enough energy to heat and light 18,000,000 homes!