Soda Can Art

A can of soda costs about half a dollar, and once you’re done with the sugary syrup, most cans end up in the trash headed for recycling. Some folks re-use them for other purposes, but we’re guessing no one up-cycles them quite like artist [Noah Deledda] does. He turns them into pieces of Soda Can art that sell for anywhere between $2000 to $3000 a pop.

Don’t be fooled by that smashing hit in the GIF. It’s just some trick photography that [Noah] did to impress people. If you looked at the end product without the back story first, you’d think the cans were manipulated in to contorted shapes using some kind of mechanical assistance, at the very least, or probably a purpose-built machine.

But [Noah Deledda] does it with bare hands. This is the bare-metal version of Origami. While on a road trip many years ago, he was bereft of electronic devices to keep him busy. Playing with an empty can of soda, he started denting and squeezing the thin metal in to an abstract shape. That’s when the artist in him realized that he was playing with an exciting new medium. After making some abstract art pieces out of empty cans of a vermillion bovine energy drink, he figured it would look much more awesome if he could remove all the paint from the cans and give them a smooth, polished, natural finish. He made a little machine that rotates the cans so he can strip the paint and bring the cans to a high polish. The technique is simple but requires a lot of patience, practice, time and skill, not to mention that it will cause a lot of pain in the thumb.

If you’ve ever been to Japan and drank a can of Kirin Hyoketsu, you’d notice the un-opened can is smooth, but immediately changes to a pattern of indented diamonds once you open it. That design was created by Kyoro Miura, well-known for the Miura Fold that lets you fold and unfold large sheets of paper in one smooth movement. Like that discarded map in the glove box of the car you’re riding in, while playing with an empty can of soda.

If you want to hone some ambidextrous skills, this would be a good way to do it while on your next road, plane or train trip. Check out the two videos embedded below. In the second one, you can see snapshots of the design process.

Thanks, [Keith O], for this tip.


37 thoughts on “Soda Can Art

    1. Once in a while a 24-pack case (Pepsi and Cola, not cheap crap) is $5 which makes em almost 20 cents each. I usually get em at $3 for 12 pack case (25 cents a can)

    1. Certainly, the non-diffeomorphic elements of the structure define boundaries that warrant special treatment in this present context, so you probably need to step out of a purely topological mindset and enter the world of.metric differential geometry.

      1. You two need to stop it. You talk like that and some of us are going to have to actually go look stuff up, do researchy-type stuff, and maybe actually learn something and get an education.

        We’re only here to see people set stuff on fire with an arduino and an ungodly amount of voltage, stuff like that. :P

  1. I’ve done the crude form of this for years to allow the can to be crushed with one hand.
    Who knew I was so close to becoming an Artist! Props to the artist for the cool patterns.

  2. The Miura fold is cool. Look at the Wikipedia animation. get out construction paper kids and have fun. This will be the way bigger screens will fold into a watch sized thing in the future.

  3. I thought, a structure is engraved/machined into the can and then, with the right amount of pressure, the can settles in this form due to the previous engraving. Maybe it could even work this way,

  4. In theory, could you not just hydroform these? 3D printed mold, fairly low pressures overall. Some way to seal the lid while forming. Seems like it might have merit and be awfully fast to actually do.

    Would be able to preserve the exterior epoxy and BPA resin coating if one were so inclined as opposed to making these all glossy as the only option.

    As the above poster talks about, it might also be possible to “engrave” or press on a full, sealed can to set the basic shapes and then remove the liquid and then finish the job?

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