Ella is obsessed with all things Wizard of Oz and Wicked, so this simple Tin Can Tin Man Craft was a natural fit to do with our daycare. A simple recycled tin can craft that makes a cute piece of fall decor!
Tin Can Tin Man Craft
Okay, so we actually made this Tin man craft back when Ella was 4 years old – and she’s now 7… I’m a little behind with some of my blog posts!
We made these recycled Tin mans to serve as some cute homemade decor for our Wizard of Oz party… which I also haven’t shared yet. (But I will get that up ASAP.)
Each of the daycare children assembled their own robots or Tin men/Tin ladies using a mix of recycled material and everyday craft supplies (like googly eyes and foam). At the time, I thought that hot glue was the be-all-and-end-all of craft adhesives so I took over for the gluing with our youngest kids, but looking back I think that we could have had good results with white craft glue (although the project would have taken longer to dry).
I loved how this craft encouraged the kids to use recyclable materials to create something beautiful, and allowed them to start looking at everyday objects in a new way. This type of creative thinking is called cognitive flexibility, which is important for coming up with unique solutions to problems.
While we already had silver spray paint, extra funnels, and googly eyes on hand, be creative with what you already have available to you. Eyes can be painted or drawn directly onto the tin, or made out of pieces of cardboard; and who says that robots or Tin men need to be silver? Use whatever paint or construction paper you already have on hand!
If you use tin cans for this craft, it can double as a cute spot to add notes with magnets! (Keep in mind that aluminum cans don’t attract magnets as well.)
How To Recycle Tin Cans for Craft
Before we get to the craft, I wanted to share a few quick tips to help make crafting with tin cans a bit safer:
- Open your cans with a safety can opener to create a smooth, safe edge that won’t cut little fingers
- If the edges feel at all sharp, use heavy grit sandpaper or a steel file to sand the edges and make them blunt. (Alternatively, you can glue on some ribbon or hot glue to the edge to create a barrier.)
- Wash out the can with dish soap and sponge and peel any labels off
- If there is glue residue, you can either sand it off or use Goo Gone or nailpolish remover to remove the residue
- If there is a bit of rust, you can scrub it off using some vinegar
Materials for a Tin Can Tin Man Craft
- variety of recycled materials – boxes, cannisters, cans, etc.
- funnels (alternatively, cardboard, cardstock or paper can be folded into a con for the hat)
- Craft foam (pink or red preferably)
- Googly eyes
- Glue of choice
- Silver paint, optional
Tip: be creative in finding materials for this craft.
How to Make a Tin Can Tin Man Craft
Clean and prep your tin cans according to our tips.
Paint any cans or boxes that need extra embellishment, and let dry before moving on to the next steps.
First, assemble your cans and figure out how you want to put together your tin man.
Use hot glue or school to glue to attach the parts of the tin man’s body. Let dry fully.
Have the children attach the tin man’s features (eyes, foam cut-outs, etc) and draw or paint the cans as desired.
Grab your free printable for our tin man/robot craft:
To clean your cans for crafting:
To clean your cans for crafting: