How to Make Whirligigs From Cans

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Recycle your empty soda cans into whirligigs.
Recycle your empty soda cans into whirligigs. (Image: close up of an opened tin can image by Piter Pkruger from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Whirligigs are simple structures with thin, splayed sails that turn a central body. Heavy-duty or industrial materials produce whirligigs as part of a gear system, but light whirligigs made of recycled materials often decorate gardens and yards. Though whirligig crafts often involve soda and water bottles, you can easily modify these plans to make soda can whirligigs.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 empty soda cans
  • Awl
  • Permanent marker
  • Hacksaw
  • Scissors
  • Coat hanger
  • Wire nips
  • Pliers
  • ½-inch dowel rod

Rinse two soda cans thoroughly to remove any residue of the drink.

Punch a hole in the center of the bottom of both cans with an awl. The hole doesn’t need to be very large; the width of the awl works fine.

Draw a line around the top of each soda can about ¼ inch from the bend between the top and the body of the can. Cut along this line with a hacksaw, sawing slowly and gently to avoid crushing the cans.

Draw six to eight straight lines down the body of each can, spacing them as evenly as you can. Stop each line about 1 ½ inches from the bottom of the can.

Cut along these lines and splay the resulting sails so they stick out from the cans at a 90 degree angle.

Snip the hook off a coat hanger and straighten out the remaining wire. Bend the wire down at a 90 degree angle about 6 inches from the top. Bend the 6-inch piece back over itself about 4 inches from the end, to create a T-shape at the top of your wire.

Slip one can onto each of the arms of the "T." Reach inside the cans with pliers and bend the tips of the "T" arms to keep the cans in place.

Wrap the remaining wire tightly around the top of a ½-inch dowel rod.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sharpen one end of your dowel in a pencil sharpener to make it easy to drive it into the ground to display your whirligig.

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