Photo cans SEP 26 2006
If you asked me today to choose a medium in which to focus my future artistic energies, I'd have to go with the photo can. After finding this great Photojojo tutorial yesterday on using tin cans and glass jars as photo frames, I selected three recent pictures I'd taken and made this can triptych:
So cool! And simple too. I didn't follow Photojojo's directions exactly and I have a few observations to offer for those looking to play around with this:
- Paper quality. I just used regular old printer paper, not glossy photo paper or anything like that. This made the photos look more like actual cheap labels. I also didn't worry too much about being careful with the glue. Again, a little mistake here and there actually enhances the effect.
- Glue. I removed the original label from the can and glued the photo directly to the can itself. Instead of rubber cement, I used a glue stick with acid-free acrylic emulsion. The glue stick made application really easy. And I didn't apply the glue all the way around the can. I just glued down one end to the can, waited for that to dry, wrapped the photo around the can, pulled it tight, and glued the underside of that end to the end already affixed to the can. (When I tore the existing label off the can, I noticed that's how it was glued on there, so I tried the same thing and it worked.)
- Can size, etc. Shopping in the canned food aisle of the supermarket takes on a different meaning when you're not attempting to find green beans for dinner but trying to find aesthetically pleasing art supplies. I went with a larger can, one with stewed tomatoes; its proportions seemed more pleasing than those of a soup can. The problem was that when I got it home, it was almost 13 inches around, meaning that 8 1/2" x 11" paper wasn't going to work. (I ended up getting some 8 1/2" x 14" paper.) So bring your tape measure to the grocery store with you to make sure the desired can will work with your paper size.
- No pop-tops. A lot of soup cans now feature pop-tops. Get the old fashioned kind instead...the last thing you want is Uncle Steve lifting your photo can off of the coffee table, fiddling with the pop-top, and, hey!, Chunky Vegetable three years past its expiration date all over the place.
- Botulism? Speaking of past the expiration date, what's the shelf life of your artwork? The answer seems to be almost indefinitely when kept at temperatures at or below 75 degrees F, but I wouldn't advise eating anything from your photo cans after a year or two. The risk of botulism is almost nonexistent in contemporary commercially canned food, but if you see any of your art swelling up, throw it out. In addition, botulism dislikes acidic environments, so you're probably better off selecting cans with acidic food items in them, like tomatoes, fruits (without sweet syrups), and sauerkraut. But be careful not to get items that are too acidic...over a long period of time, the acid may eat through the can.