How to make a survival whistle from a soup can

This simple beacon can help you in the wild
This simple whistle could save your life — or just drive your family members crazy. Specific Love Creations

Did you plan on getting lost in the middle of the woods, where no one could hear your calls for help? Of course you didn’t.

That’s why this DIYer—who prefers to go by his YouTube handle, Specific Love Creations—designed a high-volume whistle that hapless hikers can make with just a tin can and a nail.

“I wanted to help others if they ever had a moment of getting lost,” he says. “I was inspired when I saw a similar item by another person—but they missed out on the survival aspect.”

By blowing into holes in a tin can lid, users can produce a piercing whistle. “I was actually surprised how much noise it could make,” Specific Love Creations says. In addition to the video below, he posted the project on Instructables, and allowed Popular Science to share it here.


  • Time: 2 minutes
  • Cost: The price of a soup can
  • Difficulty: Easy

Tools & Materials

  • Soup can lid (or any strip of metal)
  • Medium-size rock
  • Large nail or another sharp object


  1. Choose a strip of metal to use—Specific Love Creations took the lid of a tin can, but any flexible metal of similar width will work.
  2. Fold the lid in half and place it on a flat, hard surface.
  3. Identify a spot less than half an inch from the folded edge of the lid. Use the rock as a hammer and the nail as an awl to puncture a hole at that spot, straight through both layers of metal. Warning: The metal around the holes and the edge of the lid can be sharp. Be careful not to cut your fingers or tongue!
  4. Pull the lid open so that the two halves are about 30 degrees apart apart, like a hard taco shell.
  5. Carefully place your tongue on the edge of the top half of the whistle, avoiding any jagged metal. Cover both holes with your lips and blow. The piercing noise should be loud enough to attract help.