Is there any man-made item on Earth, more perfect than the beer can? Its smooth, spherical aluminum skin, crafted with logos creative-types spent years perfecting is only bested by the amber elixir of the gods contained within. I would know. I've been drinking them all day.
So when you get an empty, don't waste it. Turn it into one of these ingenious devices to improve your decor, light up your campsite, or cook your meals. Who knows? An empty can of beer could even save your life one day (check out #3).
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What you need: - Knife - Cloth - Lighter/Matches - Olive oil
Cut your can in half, right down the middle. Fill the base with olive oil, varying the amount depending on how long you want your torch to burn—for an average burn, fill the base about a quarter of the way. Get a piece of cloth (an old towel or t-shirt should do just fine), roll it tightly, and dip the whole thing in the oil, 'til it's properly covered.
Make an additional hole in the top of the can, next to the drinkin' hole, large enough for your rolled cloth to fit through, with the tail end sitting in your oil. Take your two pieces (bend the top slightly, so it fits) and slide them together, with your cloth exposed an inch or two on the top.
Light it up. Place on a long stick, for the complete tiki look.
2. The makeshift fishin' pole (complete with tab hook)
What You Need: -Pliers -Fishing line -Tape (optional, but recommended)
Remove the tab, and break one of two sides with your pliers to make a hook shape. Also, use your pliers to make a hole near the top of the can. String your line through the cut-hole and the mouth hole, and tie it, fastening the line in place. Tie the other end to the hook, and loop it around the beer can, creating a reel. I recommend taping the knot as well as the first few inches of line to the can to avoid tangles and help you reel in some big fish.
3. The waterproof emergency storage
What You Need: -Knife -Duct Tape
Poke a hole in the side of the can (without opening the tab!) and empty all the delicious beer out into your mouth. Cut a square window in the can, leaving one side uncut as a "door," allow the insides to dry. Put your supplies inside (matches, band-aids, religious relics, etc.) and securely duct tape the outside to make sure no water can seep into the cracks.
What You Need: -Freezer -Knife -Pliers -Candles -Metal Wire (optional)
This one requires some fairly intricate cutting. Fill your can with water and freeze it for about 8 hours. This will make it much, much easier to cut.
Thaw it out (we put it in a bowl of hot water, because we are impatient) then make slices, about an inch apart, 360-degrees around the can. Once you have your slices cut, compress the can to make them jet out, and use pliers to make sure none of them bend inward.
From there, you can either slide a little tea candle in (if it's small enough) or cut the bottom of a couple slits for some more room. You can hang them, like a traditional lantern, just MAKE SURE YOU USE METAL WIRING. Fishing line, or plastic hanging wire, will melt within seconds, and leave you with a fiery death ball on your floor. From there, just turn off the lights, put on Dark Side of the Moon, and just chill, brah.
5. Wi-Fi booster (yes, seriously)
What You Need: -Knife -Router with Antennae
Cut the bottom of your can off, first.
Next, cut the top, but not the whole way around. Leave an inch or two connected to the top. Then, slit the entire can down the middle, and open the whole thing up.
Once unfurled, stick your newfound creations over your antennas (through the mouth-hole) and watch the magic happen. It really does improve the signal, directly in front of the router. This guy measured it!
6. The lil' camping stove
What You Need: -Denatured Alcohol -Knife -Matches/Lighter
There are several methods to making a beer can camping stove, but in our opinion, this is the simplest, most effective way to get the job done. First, cut the can in half, and remove the inner lid of the top half.
Use you thumb to make indents the whole way around the bottom of the top half. This will not only allow the top half to slide into the base, but will help your flames reach whatever your cooking.
Combine the two pieces, and pour about a finger's worth of the denatured alcohol inside the base. We tried to keep the flame down, because we were out on the streets of NYC, and apparently cops these days have a problem with open flames (what's that all about?)
Regardless, the stove heated up immediately, and we tested it out by filling a metal cup with water, and placing it atop the stove.
Within five minutes, the water boiled, and we had attracted a small crowd of frightened onlookers.
7. Popcorn Maker
What You Need: -Knife -Popcorn Kernels -Cooking Oil -Open flame
Your beer can can make an excellent little popcorn maker in a pinch. Cut a vertical rectangle in your can, near the top, then put a little bit of high-burning oil into the bottom of the can, put it on a flame, and place a bowl adjacent to your new machine. Then sit back and watch the kernels fly.
**BONUS** Janky shower head
What You Need: -Knife -Shower -Zero dignity
This should be pretty self-explanatory, guys.
As our buzzkill lawyer would say, some of these tricks can be super dangerous and highly flammable, so use your best judgement when lighting/cutting things. Also you could use seltzer cans if you really felt like it.
Do you have any tips and tricks for your empties? Let us know in the comments (and don't say "pipe," we've all been in the 8th grade before).
Wil Fulton is a staff writer for Supercompressor. Mad beers were harmed in the making of this article. Follow him @WilFulton.