Burls Art builds guitar out of 1,000 aluminum cans – and the result is insane

We’ve seen Burls Art create some truly bonkers guitar builds during his time, including ones constructed of 50lbs of salt, skateboards, colored pencils, epoxy resin and even newspaper.

So when we found out the YouTuber – who, at the time of writing, boasts over 600,000 subscribers on the platform – had embarked on a mission to create a six-string using 1,000 melted-down aluminum cans, we were only partially surprised.

In his latest video, Burls Art showcases the pile of drinks cans he and his friends have collected in the past year from various barbecues, dinners and camping trips, before detailing his plans to melt them down and turn them into a playable electric guitar.

And as he explains, melting down such a large quantity of metal requires a specific set of tools, including a propane-powered furnace, which he builds on his own specially for this project. Such an approach is not without its hazards, though.

“I’ve made plenty of guitars out of weird materials, but this project required a pretty extensive amount of research to even attempt,” he says. “Working with propane furnaces and molten metal that can get above 1,800°F can get really dangerous really fast, so I’ve taken safety precautions very seriously for this project.”

After yielding around 18.6lbs of melted and re-cooled aluminum bars from the cans, the YouTuber sets to work constructing the guitar’s neck. 

To do so, he crafts a replica of the neck using wood, which then serves as the plug for a Petrobond mold, which he ultimately uses to pour in molten aluminum to create the final neck.

After fashioning fret grooves using a small hacksaw bought from The Home Depot, Burls Art sands down the neck as flat as possible – no truss rod is required as it’s made of aluminum – and adds the finishing touches, including fret markers and tuning machine holes.

Next, he creates a Stratocaster-style body using the same plug-and-mold technique he used to create the neck, with slots for two humbucking pickups and control cavity. Finally, he sands down both the body and neck to give them a sleek shine, and bolts the two together using screws.

“This was easily my most time-intensive project yet, and overall I’m really happy with how it turned out,” Burls Art says. “When I initially thought of this idea, I didn’t know whether or not it would be possible, but after about three months of work, I can now say that it is, indeed, possible to build a guitar out of 1,000 aluminum cans.”

To see more from Burls Art, head to his official YouTube channel.

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Sam Roche

Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar (opens in new tab).