How to Make a Decorative Aluminium Box

Aluminium is such a versatile metal. It appears in products ranging from soft drink cans to aeroplanes. If you're interested in doing some aluminium fabrication, there are a range of projects you may want to consider. Get started with something easy by trying this box project.

1. Find an Aluminium Can

A simple way to find aluminium for your project is by using an aluminium soft drink can. Find the largest can you can so that you have ample aluminium to work with. Then, use a piece of fine grit sandpaper to wipe off any printing on the can.

2. Cut Off the Top and Bottom

Use a sharp knife and carefully remove the top and bottom of the can. Don't use your favourite kitchen knife—cutting metal can damage the blade. Once the top and base of the can are gone, you should be able to flatten the aluminum into a rectangular shape. Use a snipping shears to remove any uneven edges.

3. Tape the Aluminium to a Sturdy Base

To make the aluminium sheet easier to work with, you need to tape it down in place over a study sheet of card or plyboard. Then, use a marker to outline a box shape onto the metal.

You can find a range of guides for this online. Basically, you need to outline the base of the box and four sides. On top of that, you should outline a small tab at the edge of each box side. Finally, sketch out the corners. These are the dead spaces between the proposed sides of the box, and they should not overlap with the tabs.

4. Design the Box

To add decorations or embossments to the box, you just need to press down with a small tool. You can use a pen—the shape of the tip will indent the metal if you press hard enough.

Note that you are embossing on the opposite side that will be displayed. Thus, you have to do your images as a mirror image of what you want the final effect to be.

5. Cut and Fold

Now, it's time to cut off the excess metal that is not going to be part of your box, and you have to fold the box together. To do that, you need to bring the corner areas inward. Then, pull the sides upward, and fold over the tabs to hold everything in place.

This is an open box. If you want to make a closeable box, consider making another box that is just slightly smaller or larger than this box. You can fit those two aluminum boxes together to make a closeable box.

For help or if you need to make a large volume of aluminium boxes, contact an aluminium fabrications professional directly.