Homemade Musical Instruments

Easy Crafts that Make Music

musical dru

There are many types of homemade musical instruments. Music activities are even more fun when the kids have created their own instruments. The following ideas can be simply crafted and will create a variety of sounds.

Make enough of the homemade musical instrument suggestions below to form your own band!

Rubber Band Harp

Use a sturdy box without the cover. Stretch rubber bands around the box, and over the open end. Pluck the rubber bands to make soft music.

This is probably the easiest homemade musical instrument to make. Be sure to decorate the outside of the box so the kids have a chance to be creative.



Fold two eight inch strips of cardboard in half. Glue a bottle cap to each end on the inside. To use, have the children hold the cardboard strips, one in each hand. Have them open and close their hands to make a clicking noise.

*To make this homemade musical instrument, ask for bottle cap donations from your families. The caps aren't as easy to come by as they used to be.

More Homemade Musical Instruments


Pie Plate Tambourine

Use a foil pie pan and 6-8 flattened bottle caps. Make a small hole in each bottle cap (adults only), and 6-8 holes around the edge of the pie pan. The children can then thread string through the pie plate holes and the bottle caps. Tie the string so there is enough room for the bottle caps to move and hit the pie pan. Start shaking to make music.


Coffee Can Drum

*While this homemade musical instrument was made years ago with coffee cans, coffee now tends to come in plastic containers. Look for family sized large cans to create this drum.

Wash the can thoroughly. Sand down any sharp edges. Cut construction paper to fit around the can. Have the children decorate the paper in any way they like. Glue or tape the paper to the outside of the can. Use a piece of waxed paper about 2 inches larger than the opening to cover the can. Secure the waxed paper with a large rubber band. This drum should be played gently.



Give each child an empty paper towel tube. Let them color them, or put stickers on their tubes. Make sure they have their name on it somewhere. Use a rubber band to secure a piece of waxed paper to one end of the tube. Use a toothpick to poke 4-5 small holes in the waxed paper. Have the children talk or make noise in the end that is not covered.



Decorate the bottom of two aluminum pie plates as desired. Put a handful of beans in one pie plate. Place the second place face down on top of the first plate. Staple the plates together, or punch holes with a paper punch, and thread yarn or ribbon through the holes, tying the ends together. Add ribbon streamers if desired.

*This particular homemade musical instrument tends to be a favorite of children. Not only is it easy to use, but it creates a louder noise.


Box Guitar

You will need a long tissue box with the oval in the center of the top. Put a few rubber bands around the top of the box and cover the hole. Put a pencil or dowel stick under the rubber bands on one side. Tape a paper towel tube to the side opposite the pencil. Decorate as desired.



Cover a cotton ball with a square of fabric. Attach it to the end of a dowel stick with a rubber band.


Sand Blocks

You will need: 2 small blocks of wood, sandpaper, stapler and staples, empty thread spools, wood glue or hammer and nails. Measure the sandpaper so it covers the top and the sides of the wood blocks. Staple the sandpaper to the wood. Glue or nail a spool to the block of wood on the opposite side of the sandpaper to make handles. Rub the sand blocks together to the rhythm of the music.



Collect different size bottles with lids. Fill each one about a quarter of the way with dried beans or rice. Make sure the lids are on tightly. Let the children shake. Different size containers will make different sounds.



Arrange several glass jars on a flat surface. Pour water into the jars in varying amounts. Add a few drops of food coloring to the water, using a different color for each jar. Using sticks, experiment with the different sounds each jar makes.


Bongo Drums

Use three different cardboard cylinders. Oatmeal boxes would work well for this project. Decorate as desired, and then tape the cylinders together. Show the children that you can use any part of your hand to play these. Try your fingers, knuckles, palm or heel of the hand.


Bell Drum

Cover an oatmeal cylinder with colorful contact paper. String bells along a ribbon or yarn, making sure to tie a knot between each bell. Attach the bells to the drum using a V pattern. The drum is then ready for playing.


Jingly Wrists

Cut a ribbon onto 6-8 inch lengths. String bells onto the ribbon. Tie knots between the bells. Tie the ribbon loosely on a child’s wrist. Now you can march, skip, and jump to the sound of bells.


Snare Drum

This is a good use for all those empty cookie tins available at almost every garage sale. Toss the cover and put several paper clips inside the tin. Make a cardboard cover the same size as the tin bottom, and secure with tape to the top of the tin. Use dowel sticks or pencils to play on the top of the cardboard.


Margarine Tub Drum

You will need: a 16 oz. margarine tub with cover, 3/8 inch dowel stick about 7-8 inches long. 2 wooden beads, 2 strings – about 6 inches each.With a craft knife (adults only) make a small hole in the side of the tub to insert the dowel stick. Secure the dowel stick with heavy duty tape. Make two small holes on opposite sides of the tub. The dowel stick should be at the bottom of the tub, the two small holes on each side, the top is left alone. Push the pieces of string through the holes and knot on the inside. On the strings outside the tub, attach a bead to each string and knot securely. Put the cover on. Decorate as desired. The drum will beat as the children roll the dowel stick in their hands.

*This musical instrument takes a bit more work to complete, but the kids love rolling the dowel stick to make the drum beat.


Rice Maracas

Use two white paper cups. Let the children draw designs on both cups with washable markers. Fill one cup half full of uncooked rice. Place the second cup upside down over the first one. Use colored tape 2-3 times around the rims to secure the cups together.


Make sure each child understands how their homemade musical instrument works. Some of the instruments must be played softly, others have a louder sound. Plan music activities and let the children have a chance to perform.



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