Picture of kingfisher project, Kelvinbridge, Glasgow, 2006
kingfisher project, Kelvinbridge, Glasgow, 2006
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or, how to make a kingfisher from discarded IRN BRU cans

Step 2: Foraging

Picture of Foraging
Habituation to this task may engender a heightened awareness and sensitivity to one's surroundings. The eye becomes highly tuned to a specific configuration of colour and texture, constantly scanning the fabric of the urban environment; one might imagine this arrangement to resemble the singular and intimate relationship of predator to prey.

Step 3: Method of collection

Picture of Method of collection
Method of collection and transportation of empty cans.

Research suggests a normal collection rate of approximately one can every five minutes in areas of high commercial and recreational activity.

Step 4: Tools

Picture of Tools
a. Tin cutters
b. Scalpel (with spare blades)
c. Embroidery Scissors
d. Flat-nosed pliers
e. Measuring tape

Good quality second-hand tools can often be found at markets and large independent hardware shops.
Curve-nosed tin cutters and a pair of dividers may also be of use.

Step 5: Torso (template)

Picture of Torso (template)
slits can be made with the scalpel; it is best to cut them only as and when you are ready to insert a tab.

Order of construction: torso (major seams), chest and shoulders, head, lower body, wings, tail, feet.

Key: cut out: _
fold: --------------
crimp: =======>
pierce: *
blue: /////////////

Step 6: Can

Picture of Can
use scalpel to remove top, then cutters, down through surplus area and around base. Trim edges.

Step 7: Joining Major Seams

Picture of Joining Major Seams
a. begin with the double row of slits; insert tabs in outer row of slits, from beneath.
b. bend tabs round and down. Insert all tabs; some of them can be bent back underneath to help hold the rest in place while you work.
c. edge seam tightly together.
d. fold back all tabs underneath and clamp tight.

- use metal handle of tin cutters to press seam flat against hard worksurface.

Step 8: Crimp

Picture of Crimp
- you can change the depth and breadth of the curve by adjusting the length and width of the crimp.
- longer, narrower crimps can be acheived by extending the creases with your fingernail.
- less accessable crimps can be flattened by reaching into the hollow body with the handle of the tin cutters and pressing out against a hard worksurface.

Step 9: Head

Picture of Head

wilderness (author)  abell223 years ago
Thanks Abell22, I'm touched and slightly perplexed - are you aware that this particular kingfisher is made out of aluminium cans?
wilderness (author) 8 years ago
check out for more of my work
Metrokillah8 years ago
Braw, not only is "skeggy brew" the ginger nectar of the gods but with your ingenuity becomes the drinker of the nectar of the flowers of the gods. Would it be possible to attach little wings so that the wind whirs them like a real kingfisher or even a hummingbird? There is no lack of a breeze in Scotland and the audible pitch could possibly be tuned to sound like wings too. Excellent instructable and barry drawings. slanj
This is amazing and beautiful! Do you have any plans for making any other kinds of birds? Thanks for sharing!
wilderness (author)  outofthewoods8 years ago
green woodpecker, perhaps? someday.
rocotillo9 years ago
great project is there any more drink can items on this site, they are a good material to work with on a lot of projects.
wilderness (author)  rocotillo9 years ago
yep, there's a beer-can camping stove which looks fantastc.
excellent looking project, dude the images are fantastic! definetely the best instructable maker here
Von Klaus9 years ago
my momma told me to never ever double never to stick my finger in soda cans.
wilderness (author)  Von Klaus8 years ago
not one cut in six months of collecting and experimenting and i don't think icaught aids or syphillis either. but yep, caution is advised
morphet9 years ago
Dude, what a beautiful project.
leevonk9 years ago
putting pics into a PDF:
1) download PDF995:
2) insert the pictures into microsoft word
3) in word, click print then 'print to pdf995'
4) your new pdf will appear, yay
_soapy_ leevonk9 years ago
Or use OpenOffice, and simply click the PDF button.
lissy9 years ago
lovely...saw one of these print outs art the GSA Exhibition last week...have printed some off to post to my mates...thanks.
ladybird9 years ago
This is a truly beautiful and inspirational project! Nice one!
wilderness (author) 9 years ago
have uploaded a new version of the pdf, cause the old one was cropped by mistake. re questions: drew it by hand, made it in indesign and exported to .pdf but i meant i taught myself to make the bird...
Truly incredible work - thank you for the contribution. I liked it so much it made it into my blog - check it out:
wilderness (author) 9 years ago
yeah, i taught myself and then made the manual, which i'm going to try to attach as a PDF for downloading - d'you know how i do that?
Sorry, just noticed the pdf, very cool. You taught yourself?!?!? I'm speechless. How on gods earth did you manage to teach yourself to draw like that, write crazy complicated instructions on to two pages and figure out how to turn an irn bru can in to a hummingbird? I'd love to hear the story behind that please!
radiorental9 years ago
depends on what you drew it in. Have you got pdf as an option under 'save as'?
radiorental9 years ago
very nice instructable, those drawings are really nice. Much clearer than trying to figure out how to do it from in-progress photographs. Did you draw them yourself or are they from a book/manual/zine?