How to Make Little Tin Cars

Written by marjorie gilbert
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Making toys is something that used to be done more by hand before the industrial revolution mechanised the processes, making it cheaper and easier to make great quantities of practically everything. However, toys made by hand have something factory-built toys do not: personal attention to detail as well as subtle differences between one toy to another that makes each unique. You can continue the tradition of making toys by making little tin cars. They will thrill the heart of any little boy and girl that enjoy playing with unique toys--and cars, of course.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Graph paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tin
  • Tin snips
  • Pliers
  • Duct tape
  • Paint
  • Brush
  • Rivets (optional)
  • Wire

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Pick a vehicle from which to make little tin cars. A simpler model, like a Model T Ford, would be a good starting point as it's a fairly simple car to draw: a large rectangle for the body and a smaller rectangle for the engine bay, and two half circles for wheels. You can find good images of these cars at The Henry Ford Museum website (see References).

  2. 2

    Draw a pattern for the tin car on a piece of graph paper. The way to draw the pattern is that you are looking at the car from above after it's been crushed by a giant foot. All of the car's sides extend out from the roof of the car rather like a cardboard box that you have to fold in order to assemble. Make sure all the sides are even and that the front of the car is longer since you have to fold it twice. Cut the pattern out with a pair of scissors.

  3. 3

    Lay the pattern on the piece of tin and trace around it. Cut along the outline you drew with a pair of tin snips.

  4. 4

    Use a pair of pliers to fold the tin car into shape. You can add duct tape at the edges to secure the folds together and cover sharp edges.

  5. 5

    Add details to the car. If you can paint the body as well as the entire shape of the wheel, since, as you can see in the pictures of the Model T Ford, the upper half of the wheel extends up into the same plane as the body. Or, if you prefer to make your wheels out of separate materials, you can cut small circles from the tin and rivet them to the sides of the tin car. Twist wires and secure them to the front of the car as a radiator.

Tips and warnings

  • Once you become adept at making this car, you can experiment making other models of cars.

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