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Tabistry? Yup. At least according to this site it’s the “art of creating versatile textile out of ordinary soda/bear/soup/fruit/other can pull tabs woven together with fabric, ribbon, cord, wire, jump rings or any other material.” Some of the work is quite lovely. Seems a little… inappropriate to make a kid’s hat from beer can tabs, but hey…
The Art of Can Tabistry
Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.
View more articles by Gareth Branwyn
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6 thoughts on ““Tabistry,” beer and soda can pull-tab creations”
My folks liked to drink so I got real handy with the old school ‘poptops’. I remember there was a book I got from the library that had patterns for hats and such. It was cool because the resulting clothes looked kinda like chainmail. I also had a hat made of panels cut from Budweiser cans. The edges of the panels had holes punched evenly, and they were crocheted into a rather uncomfortable hat. Nothing is cooler than dressing your kids in the leftover packaging of your vice.
“Seems a little… inappropriate to make a kid’s hat from beer can tabs…”
Let’s be fair. At least a few came from soda cans. :)
I’m commencing on a project to create an XL sized mail shirt out of beer can tabs. I’ve collected material for many years now, mostly brass covered tabs, but a lot of standard aluminum ones too.
I’ll start with the front and back of the torso portion first, adding sleeves later, but what kind of pattern should I use for the torso? I was thinking of sewing the tabs together using copper wire, which is easily hand manipulated and doesn’t require tools, leaving the lower part of the 8-shaped tab unattached (each horizontal layer would be attached to the center of the previous layer).
This approach would give it a scale mail like strong feel and flexibility. After finishing the front and back of the torso section I’d sew them together using only the upper holes of the tabs, so as to retain the flexibility and minimise metal fatigue.
Any constructive help would be appreciated.
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