Aerosol cans have long been one of those items that there is simply no way to functionally repurpose. They’re pressurized and will explode if they’re heated, even if all of the aerosol is gone because there’s nowhere for the air in the can to escape to.
But several artists independently became tired of throwing so many cans in a landfill that they came up with some alternate uses. And at least a couple of us waste-wary homesteading types did, too.
But before we get started and somebody decides to flame me for suggesting going against manufacturer instructions and opening a spray can, let me say one thing. Hey y’all … watch this! Just kidding, but seriously, I feel the need to start with the warning in order to make our legal team happy. You’re doing this at your own risk.
If the manufacturer says not to open the can, then you’re doing so against the safety instructions and can suffer injuries up to and including death. If you’re a kid under the age of 18, stop reading this now because that’s a can of worms I definitely don’t want to open.
FOR REAL, OPENING AN AEROSOL CAN MAY BE DANGEROUS.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, and you know that you’re taking responsibility for own actions after this point, let’s move on.
Brave souls that they were, they decided to be the pioneers that would find out what exactly happened when you broke the rules and punctured the cans. Fortunately, they either succeeded swimmingly or nobody is talking about those who had less-than-successful results.
Opening the Aerosol Cans
I’m a child of the late 80’s so I was coming into my teenage years right when the big news about aerosols and greenhouse gases became a thing. I admit to being an environmentalist simply because I think it’s not particularly bright to tear up the only place we have to live. So, I quit using aerosols, except when I had to.
When I did, I had a can that couldn’t be recycled and you weren’t supposed to throw them in the garbage, so what the heck did you do with them? I did what everybody else did, of course. I threw them away. Then they went and made them environmentally friendly, so people started using them again.
And recently, I read about some ways to reuse them, so now both problems are solved.
To open an aerosol can, spray it until absolutely nothing else comes out. No hissing, no liquid – nothing. Then shake it and repeat until nothing happens when you depress the button.
Now, put on safety goggles and gloves wouldn’t hurt, either. Take a regular can opener and remove the bottom from the can. You’ll know whether you emptied the can or not the moment the can opener pierces the can.
What to Do With Them?
Now, what to do with it? The big answer? Anything you want.
Here is a cool video about how to make a hidden safe out of one that you may find interesting.
Video first seen on HouseholdHacker.
Or how about making some nifty-looking lighting? You can do that simply by removing the bottom of the can and the label (the one that says not to pierce the can), then popping out the top. Paint the can whatever color you’d like then run the cord through the top of the can and attach the lightbulb.
Voila. You can either hang it from the ceiling or use it in as the light and the shade on a desk lamp.
Oddly enough, people actually make furniture out of them, though that requires at least 100 cans. And to be honest, most of them were ugly.
There was, however a desk chair and a little bench that were kind of cool, and looked like they’d actually be comfortable, too. Or at least as comfortable as any solid piece of furniture is. Here are the pictures so you can get a general idea.
Or you can turn them into other useful items like the following:
Video first seen on Shake the Future.
You can also use them to make little flower holders or even a pen holder. Basically, if you can get both ends off, you have a sturdy tube that you can do anything with. And since you can paint them, that really opens up the opportunities.
Oh, and lest we forget, aerosol cans often float, so that may give you some additional ideas. If you can think of any other ideas that empty aerosol cans are good for, please share them in the comments section below.
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.