Kingfisher Project, Kelvinbridge, Glasgow, 2006





Introduction: Kingfisher Project, Kelvinbridge, Glasgow, 2006

kingfisher project, Kelvinbridge, Glasgow, 2006


or, how to make a kingfisher from discarded IRN BRU cans

Step 2: 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

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

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)

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

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

Step 7: 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

- 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

Step 10: Wings and Tail

a. crimp outer edge tightly to give form to the wing. Wing-tip can be feathered.
b. & c. tail sections should bend to fit the curvature of the lower back and abdomen.

Step 11: Feet

wires can be used to attach the bird to a riverside branch or alternative perch.

-tabs can be folded back with the help of a scalpel blade inserted into the slit.

Step 12: PDF

Downloadable .pdf version - please print some out and distribute them at the local bookshop, squat cafe, pub, library, social centre or infoshop...

Please Note: e-mail, i.e. double s!!!



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    21 Discussions

    Thanks Abell22, I'm touched and slightly perplexed - are you aware that this particular kingfisher is made out of aluminium cans?

    check out for more of my work

    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!

    1 reply

    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.

    2 replies

    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

    my momma told me to never ever double never to stick my finger in soda cans.

    1 reply

    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

    Dude, what a beautiful project.

    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

    1 reply

    Or use OpenOffice, and simply click the PDF button.


    12 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.

    This is a truly beautiful and inspirational project! Nice one!

    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...

    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?

    1 reply

    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!

    depends on what you drew it in. Have you got pdf as an option under 'save as'?