Food & Drink

Actually Useful Things to Do With Empty Beer Cans

Published On 06/08/2016 Published On 06/08/2016
Beer can torch
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

The beer can should be considered mankind's perfect creation. Its smooth, spherical, aluminum skin, crafted with logos that creative-types spent years perfecting, is only bested by the amber elixir of the gods contained within. 

But the fun doesn't have to stop once the beer's in your guts! Contained here is a bushel of useful and entertaining uses for your empties -- all you need is some basic supplies and some good ol' fashioned elbow grease. "Gandalf-esque beer staffs" not included.

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

A water-resistant emergency kit

So granted you'll have to drain this in an unorthodox way, but here's proof that beer can actually save your life -- and not in that pseudo-science-y, fake study type of way. Without popping the tab, cut a hole in your beer (like you're about to shotgun it!) and make a little door. Drain the beer out, and fill it with anything you might need in an emergency: BAND-AIDS, matches, condoms, etc. Then, tape up the door with duct tape. With this hack, the entire plot of Hatchet wouldn't happen, and fourth-graders would have nothing to read this summer. 

A Wi-Fi booster

This sounds like something stupid your dumb cousin tells you, then when you ask him to back it up, he just yells, "Google it!" Well, as it turns out... this is actually pretty valid. By ripping up the foil of your cans, and wrapping them around your router's antennae, you can improve your signal a lil' bit. You can also use tin foil to do this... but there isn't normally beer in tin foil. So, beer cans are an obvious choice. 

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Badass decorative lantern

Empty out your can, fill it with water, and freeze it for several hours. The frozen block of ice inside the can will make it much, much easier to cut. Before the ice fully thaws, cut (very straight!) vertical slits with a box cutter, about an inch apart, around the entire can. After waiting for the ice to melt (or running it under hot water to speed up the process), crush the can carefully, causing your newly made slits to jut out. This should give you enough room to slide a tea candle inside. And what you have is a fairly nice little lantern for a campsite, or a romantic dinner at home with your cat.

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Camping stove

The level of DIY difficulty needed here is fairly high. But it's a super-nifty trick that might even get you laid on your next camping trip (I mean, who knows?).

Cut your can in half, and also cut the top off (BE CAREFUL). Then, use your thumbs to put little dents in the bottom half, so the top can slide over it. Now, fill the can with denatured alcohol. Drop a match in that sucker. You have a lil' stove!

Stovetop popcorn maker

Your beer can can make an excellent little popcorn maker in a pinch. Cut a vertically hinged window in your can, near the top, then put a little bit of oil, like olive or canola, into the bottom of the can, stick yer kernels in there, put it on a flame, and place a bowl adjacent to your new machine. Here, check out this GIF of us actually using one. Then, all you have to do is sit back and watch the kernels fly. And make sure your house doesn't burn down. 

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Impromptu and kind of janky fishing pole

I can attest to the validity of this because I did it and actually caught a lil' fish on spring break '08. All you need is duct tape and some line/string/wire.

Duct tape the line to the can, rip off the tab and cut it into a hook shape, and tie it to the end of your line. If you add bait (and you obviously should), you might even get a bite. And if you do, just roll the beer can counterclockwise to reel that sucker in.

Impromptu and kind of janky shower head

I've used this too, and it works well with dilapidated outdoor showers. All you need is a knife (to punch holes in the can), duct tape (to affix the can to your shower head), and zero dignity.

Cole Saladino/Thrillist 

Tiki torches

Very similar to the lil' stove, but for more decorative purposes. Again, this involves knives and fire and you should be super careful and not blame me if anything bad happens. 

Cut your beer can in half, and slide one half inside the other, just like with the stove. Fill your can with denatured alcohol. You need a rag. Soak that rag in denatured alcohol. Cut an additional hole in the top of your can. Stick your rag in the additional hole (not the sippin' hole!) and light that sucker. Place cans on sticks, and turn your backyard into a cheap, kind of questionable-looking Hawaiian wonderland.

Youtube/Tony McMasters

Beer-can boat

I'm not going to waste my time telling you how to do this because a) you're not going to do it anyway, and b) I'm not even sure I know how to do it. Just sit back, and revel in its ambition and ingenuity. 

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Wil Fulton is a staff writer for Thrillist. He's always multitasking. Right now, he's cleaning his cast-iron skillet. Follow him: @wilfulton.

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