Introduction: Make a Mini Metal Bug

About: Waste materials recycled into jewellery, accessories, home decor, garden art.

Instructions for use with a Make a Mini Metal Bug diy craft kit.


What you will need at home:

1- A Rivet-Gun, or Riveter.
If you don’t have one already, they are cheap enough to buy, and come in various different shapes and price ranges.

2- A Hammer.
If you have a small ball-pein hammer this is ideal. But any hammer will do. It only needs to be a light hammer.

3- Long-nose Pliers.

4- Tin Snips or large Scissors.
If using scissors they don’t need to be sharp, but do need to be a large heavy duty pair.
TIP: Don’t use your best scissors, as the metal will blunt them.

5- A large Nail or a Dot Punch
If you have a dot punch - great - use that! But a large nail will also do the job just as well.

6- A wooden work bench or surface is essential.
You will be hammering into the wood, so it needs to be something that doesn’t matter having holes put in it!
If you don’t have a suitable work bench, a cut log, an old plank, or an old chopping board (for instance) could work.

Optional extras:
- A Metal File can help to smooth off sharp edges, when needed.
- Work Gloves to protect your hands, especially when cutting the can as it will be very sharp.

Step 1: What’s Included in Your Kit

1- A recycled empty gas canister - pre-drilled ready for you to rivet into.
There are 6 holes on the bottom for the legs, 2 holes for the eyes, 2 for the antennae on the top, and 2 for the wings at the sides, plus one at the back for the tail.

2- The bottom of an aluminium drinks can - to be formed into the wings.

3- 6 stainless steel washers that have been pre-hammered into a domed shape, (3 different sizes) - which will form the eyes.

4- 10 long rivets - to form the legs, antennae, mouth and tail.

5- 2 medium rivets - for attaching the eyes.

6- 2 short rivets for attaching the wings.

7- (Optional) A short piece of plastic tubing - to cover the ends of the feet etc.


Step 2: Preparing the Bottom of the Can

What you will need:
Scissors (or Tin Snips)
Long Nose Pliers
Gloves (optional)

*TAKE CARE - the aluminium has very sharp edges. Wear gloves if you need to.
-Trim close to the bottom edge of the can bottom.
-Use the long-nose pliers to pinch in and crimp around the edge.

Step 3: Forming the Wings

What you will need:
Scissors (Tin Snips)
Long Nose Pliers
File (optional)

-Cut the prepared can bottom in half, to form the 2 wings.
-Fold over a few mm’s on the inner edges of the wings, by pulling over with the pliers. (NB: This is not essential. If you don’t do this, just file the edges smooth with the metal file)
-Use the hammer to flatten the fold.
-If you have a ball-pein hammer you can also give the wings a bit of texture by hammering onto your wooden surface lightly, with the rounded end.

Step 4: Making the Holes in the Wings

What you will need:
Nail or punch

-The holes need to be in the corner of the wings but not too close to the edge, and they need to be approx. 3.5mm big, to be able to fit the rivet.
-Mark a dot with a pen first if you need to.
-Hammer the nail (or punch) through the aluminium into the wood, to make a 3.5mm hole.

-Check it’s the right size by seeing if the fatter end of one of the rivets (3.2mm diameter) will fit in the hole you’ve made in the metal.

-You can use a metal file to remove the sharp bits on the underside here.

-Do not attach the wings yet. They will be the last thing to rivet on.

Step 5: Riveting on the Eyes

What you will need:
2 x medium rivets
6 x domed washers

-Hold the rivet by the shaft end (stick end) and place one of the smallest washers upside down onto the thicker end.
-Layer it up with the medium, then large washer.
-Put the same end of the rivet into one of the eye socket holes (taking care to ensure it’s the right hole!)
-Holding the washers in place with one hand, place the rivet-gun nozzle onto the shaft of the rivet, ensuring the handles are fully open, and the nozzle slides right down to the bottom of the shaft.
-Start squeezing the handles together.
-You should feel some pressure, and once you’ve started to squeeze the handles together, the washers will start to feel secure.
-Once this happens you can let go of them, and use both hands if you need to, to ‘snap’ the rivet.
-Please note: It can be hard to snap the rivet, especially if you have small hands!
Keep your fingers out from in between the handles!**

-Just before the rivet snaps the pressure will increase. Be prepared for a loud ‘snap’ as the riveter does its job of removing the shaft, and securing the rivet in the hole.
-If you have squeezed the handles all the way and it still hasn’t snapped, open up the handles all the way until they click, and squeeze again.
-Once snapped, open up the handles, and the stick should drop out.
-Repeat with the other eye.

Step 6: Riveting on the Antennae and Legs

What you will need:
8 x long rivets
Rivet gun
Long nose pliers

-The longer rivets are used for the antennae and legs, as you are not snapping them off - the longer they are the more you have to play with, before they snap.
-Fit 2 rivets loosely into the antennae holes.
-It’s very important you put them both in loose at the same time, so that they both fit.
-Don’t worry at this stage, if they stick out a bit, or are at odd angles, as they will push down as you rivet them in, and you can bend them into place with the pliers after.

-Work the rivet gun as before, but this time you are just looking at getting them securely fixed, NOT going as far as snapping them.
-Be careful as there is a fine line between securing and snapping, but you will be squeezing and opening more than you did with the eyes, as the rivets are longer, so don’t be too cautious at first.
-With practice you’ll be able to tell when to stop, as the pressure increases just before they snap, but for now just take it slowly, checking as you go, and when it feels secure, stop.

-TIP: To check how secure the rivet is, and to take the rivet gun off the rivet shaft, make sure you open the handles fully, and when returning it on, keep the handles open, until the nozzle is at the bottom of the shaft.

-Repeat this with the legs - putting them in loosely in pairs - otherwise you’ll end up not being able to fit the last one in!
-When they are all in securely, use the pliers to bend them into shape.

Please note:
If you do snap a rivet by mistake, you CAN rectify it by drilling it out. BUT for that you need a vice, a drill, and more long rivets, so take care NOT to snap them unless you have all those things and are confident with using a drill!

Step 7: Tail and Mouth

What you will need:
2 x long rivets
Rivet gun

-Rivet the tail end the same as you did the legs, and bend up with the pliers.

-For the mouth - Use the last long rivet, even though it probably won’t fit all the way in - have it sticking out a bit, and rivet it on like that. It’ll look more proboscis like.
-After it’s secured, trim the stick end shorter, using the cutting part in the pliers, and bend slightly.

Step 8: Riveting on the Wings

What you will need:
2 x short rivets
2 x wings
Rivet gun

-Rivet the wings in place, snapping them the same as you did with the eyes.
-They’ll snap quicker as they are shorter.

Step 9: Adding the Rubber Feet (optional)

What you will need:
Plastic tubing

(If you chose the ‘plastic free’ option ignore this step)

-Push one end of the tubing onto the bottom of a foot, and trim off with scissors.
-Repeat this on all 6 feet, plus the antennae and tail if you like.

*No glue needed!*

And that’s it - your mini bug is complete!
Well done!

Step 10: Links

-If you want to challenge yourself to make the same bug completely from scratch, can source your own parts, and have all the necessary tools, follow this tutorial:

-Here is a video of me making this same bug which you might find helpful:

-To see this tutorial online, and other projects by Tinkan Designs go to:

-For information on other craft kits/bugs/workshops by Tinkan Designs go to:

-To buy craft kits, and other products by Tinkan Designs go to:

-This kit was made In association with The Big Skill:

-For more craft videos from The Big Skill check out their You Tube channel.