How to Make a Tin Can Man

How-to-make-a-Tin-Can-ManA Peeping Tin was eyeing me from Cathi and Barry’s garden wall during their BBQ.  He was a gift from their daughter Kristi, purchased from a local Italian restaurant.  Once you know that, you can see the types of tomatoes used for cooking: diced, pureed, crushed, sauce, paste.  Isn’t this a perfect way for a restaurant to recycle?

I did a Google search for “Tin Can Man” and found a few craft projects, but none were as fine as Cathi’s (some were painted, others too goofy to hang anywhere).  I’m the daughter of an engineer: I visually deconstructed this guy.  Here’s how to make him:

How to Make a Tin Can Man

Craft Project

  • 1 medium vegetable, fruit or coffee can (head)
  • 1 large can (torso)
  • 2 medium cans (upper arms)
  • 6 small vegetable or fruit cans (forearms & legs)
  • 5 lids cut from cans (ears, nose, hands)
  • 4 tomato paste cans (ankles, feet)
  • 5 round bottle caps (eyes, buttons)
  • 11 screws with bolt backings
  • heavy gauge wire
  • Epoxy glue or clear-drying caulk

Tools needed include drill, hole punch, hammer or mallet, metal cutters, “church key” can opener, duct tape, screwdriver.

Remove labels from cans.  Bottle caps may need to be painted if they have artwork on them, your choice.

On the head, using metal cutters, make ear slits on both sides of the can and insert lids.  Glue ears in place with epoxy or caulk.

For the eyes, drill two holes and attach bottle caps with screws and bolt (either use the drill or hole punch to make a hole in each cap).

For the nose, bend a tomato paste can down the middle, then bend back the “nose bridge” slightly to lay flat on the face.  Duct tape the nose in place while you drill holes through it and the head.  Bolt the nose to the head.

For Torso buttons, drill three holes and attach three bottle caps with screws and bolts, as per the eyes.

To build the arms and legs, poke holes in a few places around the rims with either the can opener, hole punch or drill.  Attach next can via wire.  Poke holes in shoulders of torso and attach upper arms.  To make hands, first DRAW the outline of hands onto two tomato paste can tops.  Then cut with wire cutters.  Attach via holes and wire.

Repeat process for legs and feet.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 glo marie hentschel June 4, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Will start this ASAP, as I have been trying to find directions for this,thank you so much,Glo Marie Hentschel.

2 glo marie hentschel June 4, 2015 at 12:35 pm

I so love this and am going to do it, I have always love projects like this always,thanks for the directions,you all rock! glo marie Hentschel

3 Libby Kirkley July 31, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I am saving my cans too….real neat idea….

4 Tammi March 25, 2013 at 7:20 am

I am going to start saving my cans now. I want one of these for my garden or to put on my fence.

5 geoff alston January 20, 2013 at 11:47 am

Can’t wait to see tin can woman

6 MsM January 20, 2013 at 7:34 am

If you live somewhere that doesn’t rust the cans, spray them with vinegar a couple times, while they are outside. I have a bunch of empty cans, and I may try to make something like this that you could hang from a tree and have it clank a bit.

7 Linny June 30, 2012 at 4:35 am

I love the rusty look! Far more interesting than shiny cans.

8 jan June 14, 2012 at 1:57 am

Love it. What a great way to re-use cans

9 brett cheers January 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm

i make lose like no other but a little different and i paint mine any color

10 zoesmom July 2, 2010 at 2:34 pm

This is such a great idea, and in our household, it wouldn’t be very long before we had a collection of all those sized cans. If I start now I could make a few for holiday gifts, thanks for the inspiration.

11 Catherine Halvorsson June 18, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Thank you for you great and generous tutorial. I usually take my cans for recycling – but this is a much better idea.

12 Earl King May 2, 2010 at 5:10 am

I have been making a Tin Man for the last 13 years, it as hung outside in the heat all year and their in no rust on the cans I live in Port Charlotte Fl.
Some of my creations are in bussiness, the Military Museum of the U.S. armed
/Forces in full dress at Fishersmans Villiage, Punta Gorda, these are alll in full color, also for red Hat Ladys Foot Ball teams and Players,Base Ball Players Graduation, Birthdays, Mothers day,Fathers day, Christmas for Santa cluase
Nurses and Doc’s New Borns, Grand Children, and the list goes on and on.
the Tin Man 5-1 2010

13 Brona September 29, 2009 at 8:58 pm

You should send this along to the Canned Food Alliance!

14 Jada September 24, 2009 at 8:39 pm

So cute!!

15 jackie September 24, 2009 at 5:45 pm


16 Table Scraps September 24, 2009 at 5:15 pm

love the tin can man!

17 Cathi September 24, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Your GREAT!!!! made me laugh…..

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