How to Make a Homemade TV Antenna

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Save the time and expense of buying a "rabbit ear" antenna if you need a TV antenna for just a few days.

Cable and satellite TV offer viewing of virtually any program on hundreds of channels; however, cable or satellite services may not always be available. If you have recently moved into a new home or apartment and have to wait several days before cable or satellite can be installed, quickly fashion a homemade TV antenna so that you can still watch programs delivered from a local broadcasting station.


Step 1

Use scissors to cut a 1/2-inch diameter hole into the center of a removable top of a plastic or cardboard can, such as a Pringles chip can. Use scissors to cut a 1/2-inch diameter hole in the bottom center of the plastic can.

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Step 2

Cut the coax connector terminal off one end of a coax cable. Strip 1 inch of the foil and plastic dielectric from the end of the cable so that only the metal core remains at the end of the cable. Strip 5 inches of the plastic jacket from the end of the coax cable that no longer has a connector.


Step 3

Spread and straighten the wires surrounding the coax cable out to the side of the cable. Place the coax cable, connector end first, through the plastic can and through the hole in the bottom of the can.

Step 4

Insert the coax cable end that does not have a connector through the hole in the plastic can lid so that six inches of cable protrude from the top of the lid. Snap the lid in place on the top of the can and over the wires extending from the side of the cable, so that the lid holds the wires and cable in place and at least 1 inch of wire protrudes from the top of the can.



Step 5

Completely cover the can in aluminum foil ensuring that the foil is tight against the can and against the wires protruding from the top of the can. Only the coax cable ends protruding from the top and bottom of the can should be visible.

Step 6

Connect the coax connector terminal at the end of the coax cable to a TV to start using the antenna.

Things You'll Need

  • 3-inch diameter plastic can with a removable top

  • 6-foot coax cable with coax connector terminals at each end

  • Wire cutters

  • Roll of aluminum foil

  • Scissors