Tin-Can Bug-A-Loo

By  Irene Mueller 

Kids "bugging" you this summer? If you're looking for an outdoor activity for your kids, this adorable critter is the perfect solution!

  • Tin-Can Bug-A-Loo
  • Fig. 1


  • Four recycled cans of graduated sizes, so one easily fits inside the other (Designer used large coffee can, small coffee can, vegetable can, and tomato paste can)
  • Various size pom-poms
  • Two 12” black chenille stems
  • Four wire coat hangers
  • Two pair of white knee-high nylon stockings
  • 2-1/2 yds. of black macramé cording


  • Acrylic paints in choice of colors
  • All purpose primer
  • Outdoor acrylic sealer
  • Black permanent fine-line marker

Basic Supplies

  • scissors, ruler, paintbrush, paper plate (for palette), kitchen sponge, pink powder blush and applicator, masking tape, sandpaper, wire cutters, hammer, large pointy nail, glue gun, glue sticks
  • Note
  • 1. Adult supervision is needed when using wire cutters, hammer, nail, and glue gun.
  • Bug-A-Loo
  • 1. Wash and dry cans thoroughly. Lightly sand sharp edges along inside top of each can. Turn each can over so open end is on flat surface. Using hammer and nail, punch a hole into center top of each can.
  • 2. Use paintbrush to apply primer on outside of each can. Let dry. Cut sponge into four equal parts. Wet sponge in water; squeeze out excess water until just damp. Pour a puddle of paint on palette. Press sponge into paint, blot lightly on palette, and generously sponge paint entire outside surface of each can in choice of color. Let dry. Use pom-poms and choice of paint color to dot cans as shown. Let dry.
  • 3. See photo. Use marker to draw eyes, eye lines, and wiggly smile on largest can. For cheeks, use blush applicator to apply blush on each end of smile. Apply sealer to each can. Let dry.

    Tin-Can Bug-A-Loo
  • 4. To assemble the dragonfly, tie a double knot at one end of cording. For ease in threading, tape other end of cording. Thread taped end of cording from inside to outside of smallest can. Measure 4" and tie a knot. Thread cording from inside to outside of next smallest can. Measure 5" and tie a knot. Thread cording from inside to outside of next can. Measure 6" and tie a knot. Thread cording through head in same manner as other cans. For hanging loop, measure 6" from end of cording, fold down, and tie a knot.
  • 5. See Figure 1. For wings, use wire cutters to cut each hanger where indicated. Form each hanger into a wing shape. Glue ends together. Fit one stocking over rounded end of one wing. Pull up stocking and knot. Repeat same for remaining wings. Cut away excess stocking. See photo. For one set of wings place one wing on top of another in a pleasing manner; spot glue edges in place. Repeat same for other set of wings. Center and glue wings to back of head. (Note: Use a generous amount of glue to hold wings in place.) In same manner as cans, use pom-poms and paint color of choice to dot wings. Let dry.

    Figure 1
  • 6. For antennae, coil one end of each chenille stem as shown. Insert 2" of straight ends of antennae through hole in head; bend ends flat to inside top of head.
  • Optional
  • 1. Substitute acrylic paints with no-prep metal paints; follow manufacturer's directions to apply paint. Use glitter spray or fabric paints to decorate wings if desired.