Tinplate, which is what tin cans are made of (tin-plated steel) is a great material for making all sorts of cool things. You'll first need to flatten out the can to get some useable tinplate for your project. Check out the videos on our website (http://tinplategirl.com) for instructions on how to do this, as well as information about the tools and techniques we use.
The Garden Cart a simple project that shouldn’t take you more than an evening or so to finish. You can strategically place the pattern on printed tinplate from cans, or use plain tinplate and even paint it when you're done!
Print out the plan sheet for the project. There’s a 1" test square on the sheet. Measure this to make sure you have printed out the sheet at 100%. Of course, you can reduce or enlarge the plan to whatever scale you choose.
Spray the back of the sheet with spray adhesive. I like to use Krylon #7010 All Purpose Spray Adhesive. It has enough stickum to hold the pattern pieces in place but not so much you can’t get them off afterwards.
Cut out the pattern pieces and stick them onto the tinplate, close to each other to conserve material or, if you’re using a printed can, arrange the pattern pieces to take best advantage of the designs on the can. I’m using one of my favorite El Pato cans.
Cut the pieces out with scissors. When cutting out the sides, cut the curved side on the dotted line on the plan, which will leave a little extra to be trimmed off later. Clean up the edges with a file. You can remove the paper from all the pieces at this point. If there is paint or a plastic coating on the tinplate, file or grind it back a little to create a line for the solder.
Using the guide, cut the axle and handle to length from 1/16" brass rod. Set them aside for now.
Carefully bend the bin piece over a 1/2" dowel held in your vise to match the line on the plan.
When the bin is nicely bent to shape, flux and tin the edges to be soldered and turn it upside down on your work surface.
Flux the sides that will be soldered to the bin and tin them too, slightly beyond where the solid line on the pattern would be.
Put the sides in place (upside down) so that their top edges are resting flat on your work surface and the sides to be soldered are flat against the edges of the bin.
Tack solder the sides to the bin in three places. You can do this by carefully picking up the three pieces, like a sandwich, and touching the soldering iron (charged with solder) to each edge in three places. If you work quickly, the pieces will not get too hot. Tack the ends of each side, then tack the middle. Work from the outside of the cart.
Once all the pieces have been tacked into place and everything is straight and square, solder the sides to the bin, running a bead of solder along the inside edges of the cart.
Now, carefully trim the sides with your scissors as close to the body as you can. When you’ve cut off as much excess as possible, file the edge smooth, if necessary.
Once the body of the cart is finished, you’ve done the hardest part. Now bend the leg to the shape shown on the plan.
Place the leg in position against the back side of the bin, right in the middle, as shown on the plan. With the point of your X-acto knife, mark the position of the leg on the bin by scratching the bin. (Lay the bin and the leg on the plan to help you determine the best position.)
Scrape away any paint in the area of attachment on the bin, and tin this area.
Flux and tin the ends that will be soldered to the cart, then solder it to the back side of the cart.
Bend the 1/16" brass-rod handle to shape, as shown on the plan. Do this carefully, as the handle must fit neatly into the body of the cart.
Solder the handle into place.
Wheels can be made from slices of 1/2" wooden dowel. (Mine are just over 1/8" thick.)
Drill a 1/16" hole right in the center of each wooden disc.
Solder the axle to the bottom of the cart body, making sure that it is square to the body and that an equal amount sticks out both sides.
Before mounting the wooden wheels, clean all the flux off the metal parts with some steel wool or soapy water and an old toothbrush.
Glue the wheels in place with super glue or some other suitable adhesive.
Paint your model in appropriate gardenish colors (or not!) as you see fit.
You’re finished. Ta-daa!