Saturday, September 18, 2010

Make room in 'em for aluminum

Remember when you could only open a beer can with a can opener?  No, me neither, but there was a time that you had to have a church key to get your beer can open.  Can you imagine??  What if you lost your key or forgot your key or got too drunk to use the key.  What a nightmare . . .

Necessity is the mother of invention . . . the man who invented pull tabs had indeed forgotten his church key.  He spent the day opening his beer cans on the bumper of his car.  There just had to be a better way and he figured it out.

The first zip tabs were invented around 1962.  I don’t remember THOSE either.  The pulled off leaving sharp edges and silly drunken people were getting cut up from them, fingers, lips, noses . . . bloody beer isn’t the best. But the alcohol will kill any potential infection and dull the pain.  Of course it also thins the blood and makes you bleed more . . .

The ring style tabs were introduced in 1965. Nope, I don’t remember those either . . . well, okay . . . maybe just a little. Of course, the brainiacs of the population would put the tabs inside the cans, swallow them or choke on them.  Or, they would throw them on the ground for others to get cut up on.

The pull tabs that we all know and love today were introduced in 1975.  They’re safe because they take a bit of work to get off the can.   And they make awesome jewelry and chainmail!

However, if you’re not so motivated to make stuff out of them, save them for the Shriners or Ronald McDonald House.  There is more concentrated metal in the tab than in the rest of the can and they recycle them for $$$.  You can still get your deposit back on the can and make a donation to a worthwhile charity.  The tabs add up fast; especially if you drink as much beer . . . or soda   . . . as we do. 

You can also save the tabs off any other pull tab can  . . . cat food, soup, vegetables, whatever.

But if you want to make something cool and stylish here’s how to make a Pop Tab Bracelet
The instructions I am using are courtesy of DIY

What you’ll need

20 To 25 Soda/Beer Can Tabs

  • You can use any kind of cord or string or ribbon.  Elastic cord will give more stretch-ability.  I use crochet thread

  • Note: You need to work with an even number of rings, and make sure the center ring in the pop top is missing. 

  • For every side there is a smooth top and a rough side. You want to make sure the rough side is sandwiched inside because you want the smooth side next to your skin.

  • Take two lengths of cord and clip together the far left ends with one binder clip, allowing some space between them.
  • Take the first two tabs and overlap them (rough sides together). String top cord into top hole (front to back), then pull cord through (back to front) via the overlapped hole. Repeat with bottom hole and bottom length of cord. Drag tabs to the left such that they rest about 1/2" from their bound ends.

  • Add third tab by setting it next to the first tab (rough side in), then pull top cord into the bottom overlapped hole of the second and third tab (front to back). Take bottom cord and place in top overlapped holes. The cords will now be criss-crossed. Ensure tabs are snuggled next to each other.
  • Flip over. Add a fourth tab by setting it next to the second tab (rough side inward), and now pull top cord into top overlapping holes of the third and fourth tabs (front to back). Do the same with the bottom cord strand into the bottom overlapping holes. The cords on this side will be parallel.
  • Flip over again. Add a fifth tab by setting it next to the third tab (rough side inward), and pull the top cord into bottom overlapped hole of fourth and fifth hole (front to back). Pull bottom cord through the top overlapped hole.
  • Continue in this manner, adding tabs in such a way that one side of the bracelet will have criss-crossed cords, and then other will have cord parallel, until you have added 20 tabs total. (Quickly wrap bracelet around your wrist to access if 20 is enough. If not, add more tabs accordingly, just make sure you have an even number of tabs in the end.)

  • Bend the bracelet by connecting the ends so you can see how they fit together. The far left and right tabs will overlap. Hold in place.
  • Remove binder clip from one side. Pull top and bottom cord cords into overlapped holes to close off bracelet. Tie matching cord ends together and cut off excess. Turn bracelet inside out to hide knots. 

1 comment:

  1. I know this is an older post, but since I just found it, I gotta comment:

    Great blog - hands on stuff - whether food or crafts is great. I love reading about stuff like this and you do a very good job of presenting the instructions in an easy to understand manner.

    About the pull tabs - I think that bracelet looks cooler that a paracord pracelet. I couldn't help thinking of Jimmy Buffet's "Wasting Away Again in Margaritaville" reading your history of the pull tab.