Can-Do Attitude

Programming Gone Wild
Friday Fiction-The Duplicated Man

Can Crafts coverCan Crafts
Fowler
1977

Submitter: I work in a large, urban public library system, and much to my chagrin this vintage handicraft horror was in a library’s circulating collection. If you have steady hands, up-to-date tetanus shots, and a penchant for collecting tin cans, have I got a craft book for you. Before you recycle another beer, soup or sardine can, discover the exciting art of Can Crafts. Sure, you have to follow endless pages of single-spaced instructions, and risk a trip to the emergency room, but you could make such charming and useful objects as an ashtray, toothpick holder and circus wagon. I’m partial to the awkward Acknowledgments, with a shout out to the illustrator “who devoted endless hours creating the many tedious drawings.” The author certainly has a can-do attitude: “Why solder when you can get by without it? However, if you have one and know how to use it, it may come in handy.” I like how the author addresses/dismisses obvious safety concerns right off the bat in the Preface: “People ask, “How many times do you cut your fingers?” My reply is a question: “How many times do you burn your fingers when you strike a match?” Respect the cans, watch how you handle them, and I am sure you won’t need Band-Aids in your toolbox.” We all must suffer for our art.

Holly: “Can-do attitude” <snort!>

Can Crafts preface

Can Crafts acknowledgements

Beginner's Corner

Cans on Parade

Can Circus

Can Ashtray

15 comments

  1. As a child, I had a Barbie chair made out of a can like this. It had a red fur seat and cut curls on the legs and back. I could not play with it, though, as it was way too sharp, especially for a child.

  2. Horribly dated designs and alarmingly cavalier attitude to safety notwithstanding, I like the general idea: Someone could probably make moderately good money on the side selling “upcycled” ornaments on Etsy. Whether there’s a market for a hardcopy book on the subject is another matter.

    Just buy some proper work-gloves, and eye protection if you’re using a Dremel.

    1. I don’t find the attitude about safety problematic. It’s not like the author suggests you get your kids started on can-crafting. I think it’s totally fine to make a book for a craft for adults only, and that there may be inherent risks and required precautions therein.
      But I do agree that there may not be a market for books about transforming cans anymore.

  3. My late grandfather made my dollhouse furniture used techniques like these. There must have been a trend sometime.

  4. For once, the crafts in this box are really pretty and intricate. But they must so nearly impossible to make.

    1. Seriously why does anyone make crafts? Maybe because it’s their hobby and they like it? Or to make money or give away as gifts? Right now I’m crafting a hand-made pink rose to give to my mother on her birthday. If someone asked me why I put so much effort into making it, as if doing so is a waste of time, I’d be just just a little hurt.

      1. You (I am guessing) had the desire and found an answer. Many of these books are trying to intrap someone who feels like they need something to do into something they may not like that much.

  5. I finally out-cycled some knick-knacks that included an ornate-backed rocking chair made from cans. At least it had a padded seat for doll!

  6. I remember my friends and I making a bunch of fancy-looking dollhouse furniture from soft drink cans as a teenager in the 70’s, with instructions from a similar book. It may have been dangerous and pointless, but we enjoyed it at the time!

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