Soda Can Battery From Trash

I really love DIY projects and proof of concepts with electricity and radio so when I saw this little project using soda cans, cardboard, copper wire, sand, and saltwater to build a battery, I was all over it.

(video from, an alternative to YouTube’s increasingly anti-free speech platform)


  1. Cut the tops off of old soda cans carefully and deburr the can edges.
  2. Draw circles around the bottoms of the cans on a sheet of cardboard to create the bottom insulators.
  3. Cut out the circles, and place each one inside the cans at the bottom.
  4. Cut out rectangles of cardboard to just slightly under the height of the cans and wide enough to form a tube inside the can. These will be your insulators for the sides of the can battery cells.
  5. Insert the cardboard tubes into the cans.
  6. Create a coil out of copper wire for each can with about an inch of the wire sticking above the can top.
  7. Place the coils inside the cans and center. Fill the cans with play sand around the coils nearly to the top.
  8. Add 2T of salt to 16.9oz of water, and mix well.
  9. Fill the cans with the saltwater mix until the sand is completely saturated.
  10. Check the voltage and amps of each cell by clipping tester leads to the center copper wire and the can top edge.
  11. Use hot glue to fasten the cans down in place to a piece of foamcore board or plastic. Leave a little space between each cell to avoid shorting out across the cells.
  12. Wire the cells in series, from center conductor of one cell to side of the next cell. (The side of the can is negative, the center conductor is positive.)