Bug hotel made from recycled tin cans
Activity/Craft,  Family

Build A Bug Hotel From Your Recycling

Since moving house, there’s been a big list of things that Luke and I wanted to do in our brand new garden. Two were very important, so made their way right to the top of the list. One of those was growing our own food, another was to build a bug hotel. I can now officially say that we have ticked both of those off the list! 

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A bug hotel made from recycled tin cans for a blog post about building a bug hotel.

Building your very own bug hotel from recycled materials couldn’t be easier. You really don’t need many items in order to build a bug hotel and it’s likely that you’ll already have everything you need at home already. 

Bug hotels are a great way to encourage insects into your garden.

I once read that at any given time, your garden might contain around 2000 species of insect. Some of these are pests – insects that most people don’t welcome so kindly into their garden because they eat their plants. Others are beneficial insects that feed on the pests and pollinate flowers. 

The benefits of building a bug hotel.

If you choose to build a bug hotel, you are encouraging biodiversity. Biodiversity refers to the variety of plants and wildlife in any given area; in this case, that area is our gardens! 

Building a bug hotel helps to boost the number of beneficial insects visiting your garden by recreating their natural habitats. Not only does this make bug hotels amazing for our environment, but bug hotels can also aid children’s education about the world around them and add a decorative area to your garden.

Boy selecting twigs and dead leaves to put into his recycled tin cans for a blog post about building a bug hotel.

There are countless more benefits to building a bug hotel, here are just a few of them:

  • Beneficial insects feed on your common garden pests, saving you from using chemical pesticides.
  • Provides an opportunity to educate children about the world around them.
  • Encourages insects that help with pollination to visit, including varieties of bees 

What can you put in a bug hotel?

We all know that bugs love dark spaces, wood, dead leaves and little holes that they can safely hide in. When you build a bug hotel, you need to recreate the bug’s natural habitat. When out and about in your garden, or when you’re out for a walk, look out for the following:

  • Dead wood
  • Tree bark
  • Pinecones
  • Small stones
  • Twigs

You can also use cardboard tubes, egg cartons, old planters, hay, bits of old tiles and so much more.

A collection of dead wood, twigs and dead leaves for a blog post about building a bug hotel.

For a free downloadable bug hotel checklist, click here!

How To Build A Bug Hotel

For our bug hotel, we used recycled tin cans from our tinned foods such as baked beans and tinned tomatoes. You can use a variety of different containers, just ensure that the container you decide to use is open at one end and closed at the other and has the capacity to hold all your fillers. 

Some silicone, some recycled tin cans and a bag of dead wood, leaves and twigs for a blog post about building a bug hotel.
Boy using silicone to attach recycled tin cans together for a blog post about building a bug hotel.
6 recycled tin cans held together with silicone for a blog post about building a bug hotel.
4.67 from 3 votes

Build A Bug Hotel From Your Recycling

How to build a bug hotel from your recycling that will attract all sorts of insects into your garden.
Active Time30 minutes
Drying time1 day
Author: Lukeosaurus And Me


  • 6 Recycled tin cans
  • Silicone or Super Glue


  • Toilet roll tubes
  • Twigs
  • Pinecones
  • Dead leaves
  • Dead wood
  • Tree bark


  • Ensure your tin cans are washed and dried.
  • Using silicone or super glue, carefully attach the tin cans to one another. I attached 3 cans to create the base, 2 for the middle and 1 can for the top.
  • Depending on the adhesive you used, leave the cans to dry. If using silicone, I recommend leaving it to dry over night.
  • Once the adhesive is completely dry, you can begin filling your bug hotel. Fill each tin can with a different material.


I’d recommend using silicone to fix the cans together as it holds together well in the rain. Silicone can be purchased cheaply from places like Screwfix or Amazon. Super glue will also work well, but avoid using glues such as PVA or hot glue as these will not stick the metal together and will not last outside. 
A close up of a recycled tin can stuffed with dead wood, twigs and pinecones for a blog post about building a bug hotel.

Where to put your bug hotel.

The joy of bug hotels is that you don’t necessarily even need a garden to have one. If you have a balcony, you can tie a bug hotel outside to attract insects. It’s best to ensure you have lots of insect friendly flowers around to help attract them.

If you’re placing a bug hotel in your garden, make sure that it’s level if placed on the ground and it won’t fall over or be blown over by the wind. Make sure it’s protected from things like flying footballs and it’s surrounded by flowers. If you’re growing vegetables in your garden, make sure your bug hotel is kept well away from your veggie patch.

Don’t forget that you can get your free printable bug hotel checklist which helps you to identify bug hotel fillers that insects love! 

Empty tin cans held together on the top and a finished bug hotel on the bottom with text that reads 'Build a bug hotel from your recycling - how to build a bug hotel from recycled tin cans, plus FREE bug hotel filler check list'. For a blog post about building a bug hotel.

Rachael is a 31 year old mum to 10 year old Luke and 5 year old Oscar. She lives in England and writes about family life, crafts, recipes, parenting wins(and fails), as well as travel, days out, fashion and living the frugal lifestyle.


  • Rebecca Jones

    this looks excellent – well done. Great fun for the kids to see the insects and bees. We’ve had a pile of twigs in the corner of our garden and it’s made such a difference to bio-diversity in our garden.

  • Jenni

    Oh it looks like you had so much fun! We have built a couple of these in our time, but we need to build one for our new garden – and I think I know the perfect spot!

  • Kacie Morgan

    5 stars
    I like the idea of having a bug hotel in your garden. I’m not a big fan of creepy crawlies but I can see how it might benefit my garden and the plants I plan to grow in it soon.

    • Hilary Johnson

      5 stars
      Well done Rachael. Great to see this and the positive comments you’ve had.
      My husband build a rather large scale bug hotel with his group of 30 children at our church holiday club. Although it’s made from wood, all of it is reclaimed and recycled and the chicken wire on the front I collected from someone giving rolls of previously used wire away by the roadside.
      The children thought it was fabulous. We placed it in our churchyard and dedicated it at a family service a few weeks later, so that the children had a chance to gather materials to put in it.
      I wrote new words to the tune for ‘cauliflowers fluffy and cabbages green’. My song was ‘Ladybirds red and beetles black’
      Great to hear of people caring for the environment and involving children.

  • Sarah Ann

    This is a great idea and looks like so much fun for kids. I’m actively trying to encourage wildlife to my garden (even our smallest friends) and this is such a clever way to make use of what you have.

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