Survival Whistle From a Soup Can





Introduction: Survival Whistle From a Soup Can

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Survival Whistle from a Soup Can

I want to show you an awesome survival hack by turning a soup can in to an emergency whistle.

Watch the Video:

Let’s imagine you are hiking or camping and you become lost.

That can be a scary situation.

Here is a great way to signal for help.

What you Need:

- Metal can (soup can)

- Large nail (small screwdriver or rounded tool)

- Medium sized rock (for hammering)

- Flat hard surface (rock or concrete)


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Use of content for personal projects is at your own risk.

This project was inspired by "cammers" and his instructable can be found at:


Step 1: Removing the Lid

Removing the Lid

Start looking around for a thin piece of metal.

In this case, a tin can or soup can would be perfect.

The first thing we need to do is remove one end of the can.

A can opener would be best, but if you do not have one, then a large flat rock or some concrete to remove the lid.

Most cans have rolled edge to seal them.

So place it face down and drag it back and forth to grind off the edge.

This may take a couple of minutes but it will work.

*Caution* - The edges will be sharp.

Step 2: Shaping the Lid

Shaping the Lid

Now carefully fold the lid in half.

We now need to puncture a small round hole through both sides of the lid.

You can use a large nail, a small screwdriver, or maybe even something on your Swiss Army knife.

Next find a large rock to assist you.

Now place the nail about 1 centimeter inward from the folded edge and hammer a hole through both sides of the lid.

After removing the nail, one side will have a sharp jagged edge where you made the hole.

Carefully bend down these edges if you can, so you won’t cut your mouth.

Now pry open the lid to about a 30 degree angle. This will help create the sound.

Step 3: How to Use It

How to use it

To use the whistle, carefully place your tongue on the folded edge with the jagged hole side facing upward.

Make a tight seal with your lips completely surrounding both holes because all of the air must flow through them.

This design is very similar to a sheep dog whistle and may take a little practice to get the loudest sound possible.

But I can tell you from experience that you can and will annoy your family with it.

So there is a great way to turn a soup can into a survival whistle.

**And if you happen to find a can with a peeling lid, the tab makes a great handle.**

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    That is pretty crazy. I want to make it so I can see it in action myself!

    Thanks. You never know when you might need an emergency whistle.

    Whistle with fingers is much louder. But your lid whistle is good for fun.

    Poke 2 holes in the center of the lid, 2 cm apart. Fold the lid in half, between the holes with the jagged edges facing inward. This way you won't have to chance to cut your lip on it. Done.

    thanks for sharing. great idea!! we old folks have forgotten what we knew when we were kids. made whistles with leaves and tin can tops too. thanks for reminding me of my younger days. everything was fun.

    Hold my tongue against the folded edge wen i blow? Im workin on it but i remember having better immediate results from the gum leaf. I havnt given up im just workin on it.... I can hear the potential!

    1 reply

    It can sometimes take a little practice to find the right spot for your tongue. Try to prevent any air from going around your tongue (on the sides).

    When I was a kid, my father taught me this nifty little trick using a bottle cap, l recall making a few myself and mastering it's use, but like everything else; I eventually forgot about it. Then a few years back, me being the father and my father no longer being with us. I remembered the trick but not how to make them. Specifically, where to puncture. I felt horrible for not being able to retain the info and pass along to my kids; until now. I immediately clicked on your ible, began reading and voilà. You completed the circle for me. Thank you so much. I can't wait to try my hand and show my kids how to.

    1 reply

    Thank you for sharing. I love to hear how people learn and remember. This means a lot.

    I remember as a child spending all summer learning2whistle though i could neva master whistling with my fingers. Perhaps because once i learnt2whistle without my father was always telling me to shut up as he claimed it was too shrill. We also just used2use gum (eucalyptus) leaves folded in half with a small split then blow...

    In any survival situation you do what you have to and if you are hammering a nail through the tin can lid catch yourself as you go through one side of lid than flip it over and proceed to hammer on other side where you feel the dimple and jagged edges will be on the inside of the lid,excellent item to make and good showing of being lost

    To dangerous for kids. Te gevaarlijk voor kinderen!

    3 replies

    Maybe for today's kids. We used to make a whistle when we were screwing around in the rail yards out of the strapping material (It looked like linked razor blades). I remember that it would be an incredibly shrill whistle...But in retrospect, I suppose that kids shouldn't have been playing in a train yard...

    Great Instructable though!

    depends on at what age you consider a "kid" and what you've taught them. I was carrying a pocket knife when I was 7 years old. I was taught how and when to use it.

    In a survival situation, the danger of cutting themselves might not outweigh the desire to be found.

    If you can't make the whistle, beat on the can like a drum. Use the shiny parts for a reflector (if the sun is shining).

    Yep, white oaks are a good size. Hickory nuts work too.

    As a boy I would make that whistle with a beer bottle cap. The whistle is much stronger than this. And there's more, you can take it with you in your pants pocket.
    Sorry for the translator

    1 reply

    the bottle cap needs no modifications. Hold the the thumbs together. Place them over the cap leaving a little V above the knuckles. Put your lips on the knuckles and blow. You can master it in less than 5 minutes. As said, keeping a bottle cap in your pocket is about as easy as it gets. This also works with half a hickory nut shell. This whistle is very loud.

    All that being said, I'm going to try the can thing just to say I did.