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Pop Tab and Fashion

Pop tabs. Originally called "push tabs" in the 1970's when they were used in place of traditional "pull tabs" on Coors light cans, they served the purpose of opening a canned beverage without needing to be discarded like their predecessors (as they never leave the can). Today, these quirky little devices are quite inexpensive (or virtually free, if your family drinks a lot of soda), and their simple shape and design promises that these everyday objects are preloaded with infinite creative possibilities (as seen in photo 1).

Over time, pop tabs have become a favorite go-to medium of do-it-yourself crafts lovers who utilize a little crafty ingenuity and imagination to make household items into both practical, yet unexpected art projects (as seen in photo 2) barefoot pop tab sandals. Who knew such a thing existed?

The extensive list of fashion-worthy designs people have dreamt up and made out of pop tabs is jaw-dropping: Bracelets, belts, hair accessories, skirts, designer-inspired handbags- even full length dresses (as seen in photos 3 - 4). Somewhere out there, there is a teenager who not only made a dress out of soda pop tabs but who wore it to prom- and it didn't look half bad! How rad is that? (as seen in photo 5, DuctTapeRockStar and her exquisite dress)

Countless tutorials already exist on the web regarding how to approach a huge variety of DIY pop tab projects (YouTube and Pinterest are your friends!), but while the variety in designs are outstanding, pop tabs in themselves tend to be a little bland left as they are. Unless you're hoarding the tabs from energy drink cans (which for some reason come in every color of the rainbow and occasionally even have brand logos printed on them), you'll be working with dozens to hundreds of boring (albeit, shiny) silver tabs. So let’s take a look some common pop tabs projects and how you can add some zazzle to any project to make it really pop!

Undoubtedly the most popular of all pop tab projects, pop tab bracelets and earrings are easy to make and super cute (as seen in photo 6- this totally cute bracelet is one of many currently for sale on Etsy). While bracelets are typically all made from the same basic pattern (in which you thread soda tabs together with ribbon), earrings on the other hand have a wide variety of patterns ranging from simply adding a fishhook earring to a single tab to building elaborate flower shapes out of multiple tabs for an elaborate dangling earring with exaggerated length.

Too often individuals leave these designs as they are- after all, silver is subtle, and metallics are classy, right? Want to add some individuality to your upcycled accessories?

Try adding paint.

Acrylic or crafts paints work the best to instantly transform your silver pop tabs into a variety of dazzling colors. There are two key points to keep in mind when choosing your paint. First, it’s highly likely that your paint will be making constant contact with human skin. Secondly, be sure to seal your paint if possible to prevent chips, fading or smudges. The worst is thinking it’s all good because the paint dried perfectly, only to discover that it rubs off onto your clothes or skin, or smears if it happens to rain. If you don't have any paint (or just really want to go the thrifty way) nail polish works just as well.

Solid color blocks do wonders for a simple, tasteful effect. Try your hand at painting different patterns, like stripes, ombre, or polka dots if you're looking to create something a little more edgy and fun. Feel free to experiment with textures to add visual interest...You could use a sponge to blend colors together, or paint layers different shades and scrape the topmost layer away to reveal the layers beneath. Keep in mind, the more pop tabs your project requires, the more you'll have to paint. Often the patterns that are easiest to replicate will be the most efficient and the least frustrating to work with. What's important is to be creative with the space that you have.

You can add a whole other dimension to your work by implementing other craft materials. For example, you could add decals, pyramid studs, pearls or decals (as seen in photo 7). These bracelets use beads and decals to their advantage. You can combine other up cycled ideas to earrings, like buttons or scrabble board pieces, for a cute and quirky effect. More ambitious crafters could even try decoupauge by mod podging strips of colored paper (recycled magazine pages for bonus points!) to the pop tabs, covering their entire surface and finishing with a sealer or glaze.

So there you have it-- some awesome ideas to inspire you to take your pop tab crafting to the next level. Feel free to implement these in your other pop tab projects-- you're certainly not limited to jewelry. Other ideas could include bookmarks or wall decorations. Some people use pop tabs to organize their closets by tiering coat hangers. Or, you could always come up with your own. The possibilities are endless (as seen in photo 8- Check out this pop tab dragon sculpture!).

Tags: fashion, diy, pop tabs, push tabs, soda cans, crafts, upcycled projects, recycled art, accessories

Photo Credits:

Photo 1: Retrieved July 31, 2014, from Morguefile website:

Photo 2: Recycled Pop Tab Barefoot Sandals.Retrieved July 31, 2014, from livbit website:

Photo 3: Pop Tab Purse. Retrieved July 31, 2014, from Craftster website:

Photo 4: Unique Junktique: Tuesdays Top Five Favorite Junk Finds. Retrieved July 31, 2014, from Unique Junktique website:

Photo 5: Pop Tab Prom Dress. (2011, April 17). Retrieved July 31, 2014, from Craftster website:

Photo 6: Upcycled Pop Tab Bracelet. Retrieved July 31, 2014, from Etsy website:

Photo 7: Tab bracelets. Retrieved July 31, 2014, from Indulgy website:

Photo 8: Pop Tab Dragon- shinkonryuu. (n.d.). Retrieved July 31, 2014, from Deviantart website:


Beverage Can. (n.d.). Retrieved July 31, 2014, from Wikipedia website:

Pop Tab Dragon- shinkonryuu. (n.d.). Retrieved July 31, 2014, from Deviantart website:

Unique Junktique: Tuesdays Top 5 Favorite Junk Finds. (n.d.). Retrieved July 31, 2014, from Blogger website:

Soda Tab Purse. (n.d.). Retrieved July 31, 2014, from Craftster website:

Pop Tab Prom Dress. (2011, April 17). Retrieved July 31, 2014, from Craftster website: