How to Make an Airplane Out of Tin Cans

Updated March 23, 2017

Easily made, tin can aeroplanes can be a fantastic gift for an aviation enthusiast, or just something cool to hand outside your home. The supplies needed are minimal, and the overall time spent on this project will only be 30 minutes or so. Some aeroplane makers have also turned this into a moneymaking venture, selling these crafts at art shows. So whether you're looking to make some extra money, or you just want an abstract wind chime, try making a tin can aeroplane.

Grab a tin can, and cut off the top part. Make sure to cut at least half an inch from the top. You can throw this part away, as you won't be needing it anymore.

Grab your second tin can, and cut out the bottom part, 2 1/2 inches from the bottom. Save this piece: you will need it later.

Cut off the top and bottom part of the third tin can. Afterward, cut the tin can in half, opening up its body so the aluminium can lay flat.

Draw two aeroplane wings on the flattened aluminium, along with a propeller that is at least 3 inches long. Make sure that the wings are the same shape and size.

Cut out the wings and propeller from the flattened aluminium. Be careful when doing this: aluminium can be quite sharp.

Get the first tin can, and make two slits in its midsection area, using a hobby knife. Then, cut a horizontal slit across the bottom of the can. Make sure that the midsection slits are wide enough for the wings to be pushed through.

Slide the wings into the first tin can's midsection slits, and glue them into place.

Using the flattened aluminium from the third can, draw out a tail for the aeroplane. Cut this out, and glue it into the first aluminium can's bottom slit.

Take the bottom part of the tin can from earlier, and drill a hole in its centre. This can be done with a block of wood, a hammer and a nail.

Drill a hole into the propeller using the same process as above. Using the small nut and screw, attach the propeller to the bottom part of the tin can. Tighten it loosely, so the propeller is able to turn.

Attach the bottom part of the tin can to your first can, which has the wings and tail on it. Glue the bottom into the top part, so that it roughly looks like an aeroplane.


It helps to have the tin cans completely dry before beginning.


Wear heavy-duty work gloves when cutting up the tin cans. The can's edge can often be very sharp, and it helps to have some protection against that.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 empty tin cans
  • All-purpose glue
  • Scissors
  • Permanent marker
  • Hobby knife
  • Thick work gloves
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Block of wood
  • Small screw
  • Nut
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About the Author

Sam Surgalski is a writer in Traverse City, Mich. His articles have appeared in The iPhone App Review, Winners Within Us, and on various other websites. Surgalski has a passion for all things aviation and writing, and enjoys playing the piano.