52 Homemade Musical Instruments to Make With Kids

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Written By Will Fenton

Founder of MidderMusic. From numerous bands to stints working in music shops, read more about me on the 'Here's My Story' page!

Are you looking for a fun activity for your family?

Why not make your own diy instruments?

It’s not as complicated as it sounds – if you know how to do it.

In this simple guide, we will show you how to make homemade musical instruments in a fun and easy way!

1. Floppy Disc Percussion

Floppy Disc Percussion, diy instrument.

Making an instrument can indeed be very simple, even for kids. 

The best way to get your kids’ attention is to make an instrument that they’ll use later.

And one of the best diy instruments for kids is a floppy disc percussion – a modern version of a traditional Japanese instrument called the kokiriko or bin zasara.

You’ll need paracord and floppy discs (instead of wood and rope), and you’ll have to drill the holes before tying them together.

Then you’ll need to add the handles using a bolt or something else. 

And that’s it!

2. Plastic Easter Egg Maracas

Plastic Easter Egg Maracas

Another improvised instrument you can make at home are plastic Easter egg maracas.

These diy instruments are great for small kids because they’re colorful and noisy.

To make them, you’ll need plastic Easter eggs, plastic spoons, popcorn kernels, white tape, and markers.

You’ll have to fill the eggs with popcorn kernels, tape two plastic spoons on either side, and tape the spoon ends together.

In the end, decorate with tape with colorful markers or nail polish. 

3. Ribbon Spool Spin Drums 

Ribbon Spool Spin Drums

Ribbon spool spin drums are fun homemade instruments for kids.

The supplies include empty ribbon spools, paper straws, wood beads, card stock, washi tape, ribbon, and a hot-glue gun (or craft glue.)

Nevertheless, making these craft instruments is pretty simple, which makes it a fun activity for kids’ birthday parties.

You’ll just need to do a little preparation first, and kids can do the rest. 

4. Balloon Skin Drums

Balloon Skin Drums

Balloon skin drums (or tin can drums) are popular diy percussion instruments.

To make them, you’ll need small tin cans, balloons, scissors, ribbon, paint and brush, and craft or hot glue.

The most important step is to cut the balloon and stretch it over the tin can’s opening.

After decorating it however you want, you’ll have fun diy drums for your kids to play with.

5. Japanese Pellet Drums

52 Homemade Musical Instruments to Make With Kids 1

Japanese pellet drums with wooden spoons are convenient school project diy instruments.

You can use your old wooden spoons, and you’ll also need beads, a drill, and string or a thread. 

You’ll have to drill small holes, thread the string through them, and then thread the beads onto the string (and tie a knot in the end.)

And there you have it – your own homemade den den drums!

6. Bell Shakers 

Bell Shakers 

Homemade bell shakers require a little prep work, but they’re relatively easy to make.

You’ll need a bunch of materials including scrap wood or wood kit, wooden dowels, small embroidery hoops, rubber bands, acrylic paints, jingle bells, and wood glue.

You’ll also have to do some drilling, sawing, and sanding.

So, making this instrument is a bit time-consuming, but it will be worth it in the end. 

You can find the whole process of making a bell shaker here

7. Popsicle Stick Harmonica

Popsicle Stick Harmonica

On the other hand, making popsicle stick harmonica is fairly easy.

For a single instrument, you’ll need two popsicle sticks, two rubber bands, two toothpicks, and a piece of paper.

You can also paint it however you want.

8. Jingle Bell Bracelet 

Jingle Bell Bracelet

If you want to make Christmas-themed diy instruments, we have a suggestion – jingle bell bracelets!

They are very easy to make, and you won’t need a lot of materials – only pipe cleaners and jingle bells.

You’ll need to string jingle bells onto a pipe cleaner and then twist the ends around each other.

And that’s it!

9. Paper Plate Tambourine 

Paper Plate Tambourine

If you’re looking for a simple, noisy instrument to make with your kids, a paper plate tambourine is a great option.

The materials include a paper plate, decorations (markers, crayons, stickers, etc), jingle bells, yarn, hole punch (or pencil), and scissors.

First, your kid will decorate the plate, and then you’ll thread one jingle bell onto each piece of yarn.

Then you’ll use your hole punch or a pencil to poke holes so you can tie jingle bells to the plate. 

10. Ankle Bells

Ankle Bells

Ankle bells are similar to jingle bell bracelets, but they’re much better for dancing.

This noisy diy instrument requires some sewing, but other than that, it’s very simple to make.

You’ll just need small bells, sew them into place, and cut the excess of a ribbon.

And the rest is easy – dance, dance, dance! 

11. Paper Plate Cymbals 

Paper Plate Cymbals

Did you know that you can make your own cymbals?

You’ll just need to glue coins or washes to the edges of the plates you previously painted.

To create straps, you can use a pipe cleaner or a pair of golden ribbon strips.

And that’s it – an easy diy instrument you can make without hassle.

12. Balloon Bongo 

Balloon Bongo

If you’re looking for homemade instrument ideas that don’t require a lot of materials or prep work, balloon bongos might be a solution.

You’ll need cleaned tin cans, rice or lentils, balloons, elastic bands, and sticks or chopsticks (to be used as drumsticks.)

This is arguably one of the easiest diy instruments to make, and your kids will surely love it. 

13. Garden Hose Trumpet 

Garden Hose Trumpet 

Yes, you can also make your own trumpet.

You probably have all the items at home: a garden hose, medium sized funnel, duck tape, and metal connector or a real trumpet mouthpiece.

This homemade horn is cheap and easy to make.

And your kids will have an extra instrument for their little orchestra. 

14. Cardboard Guitar

Cardboard Guitar

And if your kids want to start a band, they’ll also need a guitar.

Making a cardboard guitar might take a little longer, but it will be worthwhile.

You can attach the cardboard guitar pieces with a hot glue, and create a bridge at each of the guitar strings (with a pencil or wooden dowel.)

You’ll also need to drill holes and attach the strings (rubber bands.)

You can check the whole process here

15. Fabric and Stick Jingle Stick and Jingle Ring

Fabric and Stick Jingle Stick and Jingle Ring

These homemade musical instruments are great for creative play because your kids can help you make it.

You can use random scraps of fabric, sticks or grapevine leaves, and jingle bells.

Once you have all the supplies, you’ll be able to make jingle sticks and rings in less than half an hour.

16. Tom-Tom Drum 

Tom-Tom Drum 

One of the best diy ideas for kids is making a homemade tom-tom drum.

You’ll need a cardboard tube (porridge container), balloons, scissors, elastic bands, and pencils.

You can start with decorating the drum and then cut the top of a balloon, place the rest of the balloon over the top of the container and secure it with an elastic band.

When you’re done, you can use two pencils as drumsticks. 

17. Egg Carton Maracas 

Egg Carton Maracas 

If you want to make your own maracas, you can also use egg cartons.

You’ll just need to cut 4 sections from an egg carton, fill the egg carton cups with rice or beans, and attach the rim with a hot glue.

You can use a popsicle stick as a rim, and cover everything with tape or something else.

The only thing left to do is to decorate your maraca with glitter, stickers, gems, and so on.

18. Cardboard Rain Stick

Cardboard Rain Stick

One of the popular diy instruments for kids is a cardboard rain stick.

Materials for this simple homemade instrument include a tube (made from thick, strong cardboard), a hammer, smaller nails or panel pins, and something to put inside the tube that will make noise (beans, rice, etc.)

The point of nails/panel pins is to allow the noise to last longer – because it will take longer for the beans to fall through. 

To complete your little diy project, decorate the tube with anything you want.

19. Singing Straws

Singing Straws

Singing straws are also a good option for a school diy project.

Making singing straws is inexpensive and easy, and it won’t take you long to complete it.

In regards to materials, you’ll need paper straws (six to eight), scissors, sticky tape, and colored paper.

The important thing is to cut the straws in different lengths so they can produce different tones.

20. Wrist Bells

Wrist Bells

To make these easy homemade wrist bells, you’ll need jingle bells, cotton belting, ribbon, velcro, and needle and thread.

The process is similar to making ankle bells, so you’re free to play around and see what works best for you.

However, the useful tip is to sew bells to the strap by hand (using thread or embroidery floss) so they don’t fall off when your kid starts to shake it.

21. Bobby Pin Mbira / Thumb Piano

Bobby Pin Mbira / Thumb Piano

These cool diy instruments could be described as mbira for children.

Mbira are traditional Zimbabwean musical instruments, and they are both chime-like and percussive.

You won’t need a lot of materials to make your own mbira, but it will take some time to tape everything together.

You can use a block of wood, bobby pins, a tape and hot glue (for sticks), and board pins.

22. Plastic Pan Pipe or Pan Flute 

Plastic Pan Pipe or Pan Flute

You can also make a panpipe or pan flute by yourself. 

This homemade panpipe is made out of plastic pipe from a hardware store, a plastic ware lid, string or embroidery floss, craft sticks, and beads.

To make this effective diy instrument, you’ll also need glue, a small saw or knife, marker, and scissors.

Once you attach everything (like you see in the picture), you’ll be surprised what a lovely sound you’ll be able to produce.

23. Roasting Pan Chinese Board 

Roasting Pan Chinese Board

Before making this instrument, you can show your kids a video of a real traditional tong – that will certainly get them excited.

To make your own homemade gong, you’ll need a few things: a metal roasting pan, pipe cleaners, cardboard tube (from wrapping paper), and decorative items.

And for the beater, you’ll need a wooden dowel and electrical tape.

This shouldn’t take you long, and the only tricky part is poking two holes in the top area of a pan so you can slip a pipe cleaner.

24. Cardboard Tubular Bells 

Cardboard Tubular Bells

If your kids like the sound of jingle bells, they will undoubtedly like this easy homemade instrument.

As you might assume, cardboard tubular bells are made of paper tubes, bells, and needle and thread.

If you have all the supplies, you’ll just need to pierce holes and sew the bells to the tube.

25. Paper Towel Rainbow Shakers

Paper Towel Rainbow Shakers

These homemade musical shakers are very fun and easy to make.

Making an instrument like this one is ideal for kids who like painting because decorating the tube takes most of the time.

And of course, the crucial step is to add something in the tube – rice, beans, or some other grains.

26. Castanets 

Castanets

You can make castanets at home very quickly and easily.

You’ll just need cardboards and bottle caps – or anything else that might serve the purpose.

The important thing is to use a somewhat noisy material and something that will allow you to hold it in your hand and tap it. 

And then you’ll be ready for flamenco!

27. Cardboard Didgeridoo

Cardboard Didgeridoo

Didgeridoo is a traditional wind instrument that produces a distinct, continuous sound.

You can make a cardboard version of didgeridoo at home, and we guarantee you that your kids will love it.

The materials include a long cardboard tube, brown or white paper, glue, and tip of the balloon that goes on the end of the tube.

You can also decorate it with animals or symbols.

28. Water Pipe Trombone 

Water Pipe Trombone 

This homemade trombone is super easy to make.

It’s a quick instrument project because it only requires sticking together all the parts: pipes and a funnel.

Once you glue the funnel, you should insert the wider diameter pipe over the smaller one. 

Your kids can then decorate it and start playing it.

29. Tambourine Stick 

Tambourine Stick 

This diy tambourine stick is a budget-friendly homemade instrument that is also very fun to make.

You can use a Y-shaped tree branch, a wire, or a wire coat hanger.

You’ll need hot glue to stick everything together as well as a few bottle caps to put them on a wire. 

30. Jar Lid Mini Banjo 

Jar Lid Mini Banjo 

You can make this cute mini banjo within minutes.

After all, you probably have some old jar lids lying somewhere in the kitchen.

You’ll also need loom bands (four per banjo), washi tape, duck tape, and craft glue.

Maybe you won’t get much sound, but making this could be a fun activity for your kids.

31. Hand Drum 

Hand Drum

On the other hand, this homemade hand drum can get really loud.

It all depends on the material you use, but the best way to make it is by using large wooden beads (for filling) and a wooden dowel.

You’ll also need duct tape, balloons, and a ribbon.

You can check a step-by-step tutorial here

32. Tin Can Howler and Tin Can Phone 

Tin Can Howler and Tin Can Phone

There are many ways you can use tin cans to make instruments.

For example, you can make a tin can howler – you just need to puncture a hole in the bottom, thread the string, and tie a knot on the outside.

That way, you can make a squeaky ‘howling’ sound when you pull the string. 

You can also make a tin can phone by connecting the tins with a long cotton string. 

Both options are cool ideas for homemade toys.

33. Embroidery Hoop Tambourine 

Embroidery Hoop Tambourine

Making this embroidery hoop tambourine is a great activity for a children’s birthday party or a slumber party.

You’ll just need to get all the supplies: embroidery hoops, jingle bells, glue, and a fabric of your choice.

You can use a plain fabric and let the kids decorate it. 

34. Frisbee Mini Harp 

Frisbee Mini Harp

If you have a frisbee you don’t use anymore, you can make a frisbee mini harp.

You can use elastic plastic strings – they are inexpensive, unbreakable, and easy to amplify.

This diy musical project takes a little longer, but it’s not too difficult.

A thorough step-by-step tutorial is available here

35. Pringles Can Drums 

Pringles Can Drums 

First of all, this diy project requires eating a lot of Pringles.

You’ll need seven empty Pringles cans with lids.

Put the cans together in a circle and surround them with duct tape.

You can also use duct tape (or something similar) to create straps.

And now you’re ready to join a marching band! 

36. Shofar 

Shofar

To make this homemade shofar horn, you’ll need toilet paper rolls (3 per horn), a party horn (the plastic noise maker part), masking tape, paint brush, glue, scissors and white and brown paint.

You’ll have to stick cardboard to a plastic noisemaker with masking tape, place the tubes inside each other, and wrap the tubes with masking tape.

You can also paint it to look more realistic since shofar horns are traditionally made from brown ram’s horn. 

And that’s it – you can try to play it.

37. Straw Zampoñas / Panpipes

Straw Zampoñas / Panpipes

Zampoñas are a series of hollow pipes made from hollow reeds.

You can make your own zampoñas with straws in a very quick and easy way.

You’ll need a small piece of sturdy cardboard, scissors, transparent tape, and a small length of ribbon for decoration.

When you’re done putting everything together, you can make different sounds by blowing over the tops.

38. Glass Sound Jars 

Glass Sound Jars

If you’re searching for a fun preschool activity, you can make sound jars.

You can use different containers with lids (water bottles, jars, cans, etc) and small items that can be placed inside.

Encourage your kid to use different items and explore how they sound.

39. Tin Can Music Makers 

Tin Can Music Makers 

Another great activity for small kids is making tin can music makers.

You’ll need coloured paper, clean recycled tin cans, balloons, scissors, glue, and fillings for the shaker. 

The purpose of this activity is similar to glass sound jars – your kid can use different fillings and notice the difference between the sounds.

40. Pipe Cleaner Bell Bracelet 

Pipe Cleaner Bell Bracelet 

Making a pipe cleaner bell bracelet could be very fun for your kid.

They can help you put the beads on the pipe cleaner and play with different colors.

You should also attach a few jingle bells to turn it into a tiny instrument.

41. Glass Hand Bells 

Glass Hand Bells

If you have crystal goblets or glasses at your disposal, you can use them to make homemade musical bells.

The important step is to glue the wooden beads to glass so they can make noise.

You can find the whole process of making glass hand bells here

42. Bottle Cap Noise Maker 

Bottle Cap Noise Maker

As the name suggests, this bottle cap noise maker can produce a lot of sound.

You can use a wire and any kind of stick. 

Bottle caps are great for making improvised instruments, so next time you’re about to throw them away, put them in a box and save them for future diy projects.

43. Water Bottle Membranophone

Water Bottle Membranophone

If you want to make something original with your kid for their school project, you should consider making a water bottle membranophone.

Generally, it’s an instrument that produces sound from a vibrating stretched membrane.

So, your goal is to increase the pressure in a water bottle and allow the air to go out through the tube. 

You can check how it’s done in this tutorial video. 

44. Soup Can Diddley Bow

Soup Can Diddley Bow

Soup can diddley bow is another original diy idea.

Essentially, it’s a single-stringed instrument, and you can make your own version with a wood board, metal soup can, nails or screws, and steel wire (piano or guitar wire work best.)

You’ll need to tie the ends of the wire around the nails and wedge your can under the string. 

This might be a little tricky to make, but it will turn out great.

45. Electrical Tubing Xylophone

Electrical Tubing Xylophone

This electrical tubing xylophone is a fantastic diy idea.

It will take some time and preparation, but once you finish it, your kids will enjoy it so much.

You can find the instructions for making this small homemade xylophone here. 

46. Knitted Ankle Bells 

Knitted Ankle Bells

Another super simple diy instrument are these adorable knitted ankle bells.

It’s a fun activity for you and your family, especially if you like knitting.

The only things you’ll need are knitting needles, a ball of wool, and tiny jingle bells.

47. Ghungroo Ankle Bells 

Ghungroo Ankle Bells

Another type of ankle bells you can make at home are Indian-style Ghungroo ankle bells.

Ghungroo ankle bells are originally made from leather, but you can use felt.

Either way, making musical anklets could be a nice ay to spend a rainy afternoon.

48. Wooden Clapping Sticks 

Wooden Clapping Sticks

These homemade wooden clapping sticks are inspired by traditional Aboriginal clapping sticks.

To make it, you’ll need wooden paint stirrers, cotton buds, and paint.

As you can see, this is a very simple and inexpensive diy project.

49. Tissue Box Guitar 

52 Homemade Musical Instruments to Make With Kids 2

There’s another way to make a simple homemade guitar – by using a tissue box.

The materials include an empty tissue box, an empty paper towel roll, tape, and rubber bands.

The only thing you need to do is to place the rubber bands around the box and cut the slits on the roll and tape it. 

Of course, you can also decorate it to make the most out of it.

50. Kitchen Xylophone 

52 Homemade Musical Instruments to Make With Kids 3

If your kids love painting, they will certainly be thrilled if you suggest they make music at the same time.

This so-called kitchen xylophone is made of jars and coloured water.

The interesting part is how different water volumes affect the sound.

51. Copper Pipe Glockenspiel

52 Homemade Musical Instruments to Make With Kids 4

If you’re up for a challenge, you can try making this copper pipe glockenspiel.

The instrument is based on a wooden frame with two rows of nails sticking out of it.

However, this project requires time and energy, but it will definitely be worth it in the end.

You can find a detailed tutorial for making this incredible diy instrument here

52. Matchbox Guitar 

Matchbox Guitar

The fastest way to make a small homemade guitar is by using a matchbox.

Of course, this ‘instrument’ won’t make a lot of sound, but it’s an easy sensory activity for little kids.

The only thing you need to do is to paste a small stick standing on one side of a match box. 

Homemade Musical Instruments – Final Thoughts

As you can see, you can make all sorts of small instruments at home.

It’s a very fun and creative activity that will also help your kids develop a sense of rhythm.

Plus, your kids will learn a lot about different instruments and sounds. 

That being said, we hope this article provided you with a lot of cool ideas!

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