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Tin can bee craft hanging in the garden image.

Step by Step Instructions for Tin Can Bee

Charlotte Anderson @ Carolina Honeybees, LLC
Make a delightful piece of honey bee garden art with this recycled tin can that becomes an important pollinator design.
5 from 2 votes


  • scissors
  • wire cutters



  • Prepare the tin can by removing the label. You can use something like Goo Be Gone or petroleum jelly or nail polish remover to remove any glue if you wish.
    Most importantly, make sure there are no jagged edges that might cause cuts on the rim!
    Tin can with label removed for crafting image.
  • Paint a base coat of primer. Spray the outside and inside of your tin can.
    You can skip this step. However, it really helps your top layer of paint to adhere to the tin.
    I like to spray outside when possible. Any good primer will work well. I chose Bullseye 1-2-3 for this project.
    White base coat painted on tin can image.
  • Spray paint base color for bee body. You can choose any color you wish. I went the traditional route and used Gloss Sun Yellow in American Accents.
    Spray one coat and let it dry for a bit. Then add a second coat – let dry thoroughly.
    Painted yellow body color on can image.
  • Prepare masking tape stripes. Those of you with some artistic ability can skip this part.
    But for those of us who are unskilled and to help kids stay a bit on track – several rounds of masking tape helps keep the stripes in order.
    With regular masking tape you will have some bleed through but that’s okay. If you do not want this use something like blue painter's tape.
    I purposely did not have my stripes all the same width but you can if you prefer.
    Rows of masking tape on can to simulate stripes of a bee image.
  • Paint on the strips. Use black acrylic paint (designed for outdoor use is best) to paint the area between the masking tape.
    This gives your bee stripes. It’s okay to be messy.
    Black bee stripes painted on tin can image.
  • Making the bee head or face. After the stripes are dry, remove the masking tape.
    Slowly pulling if off to prevent pulling away your base coat of yellow. If that happens – don’t fret – we can cover it up in a bit.
    Now, use some of your black paint to give your bee some color on the bottom of the can – this will become the head. A bit of a black forehead is a good idea.
    Tin can bee project with stripes and head image.
  • Glue on the eyes. Give your bee a face with eyes. I choose to use 2 large googly eyes – (even though a honey bee really has 5 eyes).
    I got these at the Dollar Tree for a buck so you may find cheap ones locally. Use super glue or Elmer’s glue.
    Then, just because the tin can bee looked sad – I gave her a smile with a pink paint marker.
    Bottom of can bee face with google eyes image.
  • Adding bee fuzz. Bees are fuzzy. That is why insect pollination is so helpful.
    Use your paint brush with just a bit of black paint to blur the lines of your stripes and face.
    Brushing on fuzzy lines with paint brush image.
  • Make legs and antennae. Use black cord to make 6 legs and 2 antennae.
    The legs should be 7″ long and the antenna 3″ long. Tie a small knot in one end of the legs to simulate feet.
    Because I used paracord, I had to gently melt the ends of the cord to prevent fraying.
    You may not have to do this depending on the type of cording you choose to use.
    Paracord legs and antenna for bee can image.
  • Glue on legs and antenna. Use Super Glue (or any fast drying glue) to attach the legs and antennae to your can.
    You can glue the legs on the stripes or not – but put 3 on each side with the knotted feet end hanging down.
    The 2 antennae go at the top of the head.
    Paracord legs and antenna glued on tin can bee craft image.
  • Attach the hanger. A small piece of wire can serve as a hanger. This one was cut at about 16 inches.
    One end glued to the head of the bee and the other to the open end.
    Wire hanger glued to tin can bee image.
  • Pollen marks on bee head.
    Use a yellow paint marker to make a few yellow dashes on the bee’s forehead. This simulates pollen and brightens the face.
    Tin can bee fact with yellow markings image.
  • Adding hollow stems for solitary bees.
    Now you are almost ready to hang your tin can bee craft outside.
    Find some hollow stems and twigs to place in the can. You can even order hollow tubes for mason bees if you wish.
    If you hang your craft in the garden where it is exposed to rain, be sure to tip the can so no water will collect.
    Added hollow plant stems to can image.
  • Hang Your Tin Can Bee Craft in the Garden
    You did it! Now find a great place for your bee.
    If you want to prolong the life of your creation, spray with an outdoor sealer but this is completely optional.
    Finished bee craft project made from tin can image.
Learn more about bees and using products from the hive!Join me on Instagram - @carolina_honeybees