If you eat out often, you might have a pile of old, tin food containers sitting in your recycling pile. Instead of leaving the containers on the curb or bringing them to your local landfill, turn them into shiny butterflies! If you make multiple butterflies, you can even make a mobile.

This is a fairly easy arts and crafts project, but it is not suitable for children. Tiny shards of tin can fly into the air when you are cutting out your butterflies, so you should wear safety goggles and protective gloves. Make sure to keep or hang the finished butterflies out of reach of tiny fingers because the edges may be sharp.

In addition to your safety goggles and gloves, you will need:
• An aluminum pie plate or other tin container
• Ruler
• A nail
• Hammer
• Heavy-duty scissors or nail scissors
• A permanent marker
• Acetone
• Cotton balls
• Paper
• Beads, wire, glue, glitter or whatever other materials with which you would like to use for decoration

1. Cut out the bottom of your tin plate with a pair of scissors. You’ll be using this bottom piece for your butterflies.

2. Remove any ridges in the plate by placing a piece of paper on top and rubbing on the surface with the ruler.

3. Make a butterfly pattern by folding the piece of paper in half. Draw half of a butterfly (a wing) along the fold so that when you cut out the pattern and unfold the paper, you will have a whole symmetrical butterfly. Trace a butterfly from a book if you’re not confident in your drawing skills.

4. Place the paper pattern on top of the tin, and trace the outline of the butterfly with a permanent marker. Feel free to also draw other patterns inside the butterfly for more decoration.

5. Cut out your tin butterfly with the scissors.

6. Decorate the butterfly by punching tiny indents or holes into the tin with your hammer and nail.

7. Clean the permanent marker off of your butterfly with cotton balls soaked in acetone.

8. You can also use glue, paint or any other material you choose to further decorate your butterflies.

If you want to make a mobile, create several butterflies using the above steps. Hang the butterflies off a coat hanger or wooden dowels using a hot-glue gun and fishing line.

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