How to build a musical instrument for school

Updated April 17, 2017

Homemade instruments provide schoolchildren with hours of musical entertainment. Children can create simple instruments using basic materials found around the house, such as tissue boxes and paper towel tubes. Guitars, maracas and kazoos are three instruments children can make for school projects or just for fun. They can decorate the instruments with inexpensive art supplies, including paint, markers and stickers. These craft projects require minimal supervision, but parents are advised to assist young children with any measuring and cutting needed for the instruments.

Choose a tissue box, or a shoebox with a lid, to build your guitar.

Lay the box horizontal on a table. Stand it up so the lid or tissue hole is on top.

Cut a 12.7 cm (5 inch) by 7.6 cm (3 inch) oval-shaped hole in the centre of the top of the shoebox. If you're using a tissue box, there's already a pre-cut hole in the centre.

Stretch three normal-sized rubber bands around the length of the box, centring the rubber bands or "guitar strings" over the hole.

Place a pencil under the rubber bands on the left side of the oval.

Tape one end of a paper towel tube to the right side of the box to serve as the guitar neck.

Strum the rubber band guitar strings to make music.

Lay a paper plate right side up on your workspace so the lip of the plate faces up.

Fill the paper plate with one cup of popcorn kernels, dried beans or dry rice.

Place the second paper plate upside side down on top of first paper plate, lining up the lips of the paper plates so they touch all the way around.

Secure the two paper plates together with a staple every 1.3 cm (1/2 an inch) on the edges of the plates.

Decorate the paper plates with paint, markers, crayons, stickers or glitter glue.

Let the paint or glitter glue dry overnight.

Shake maraca for sound.

Cut a paper towel tube in half, or use a toilet paper tube.

Paint the tube any colour with non-toxic craft paint.

Allow the painted tube to dry overnight.

Cut construction paper or craft foam into decorative shapes, such as music notes, hearts or stars, to attach to the kazoo.

Glue the decorative shapes around the tube.

Cut waxed paper into a circle, 15.2 cm (6 inches) in diameter, or from end to end.

Place the waxed paper circle over one open end of the tube.

Wrap a rubber band tightly over the waxed paper circle to secure it into place.

To create music, make "tooting" noises into the open end of the kazoo.

Things You'll Need

  • Guitar:
  • Tissue box
  • Shoebox
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • 3 rubber bands
  • Pencil
  • Empty paper towel tube
  • Tape
  • Maraca:
  • 2 paper plates
  • 1 cup of either popcorn kernels, dried beans, or dry rice
  • Stapler
  • Paint
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Stickers
  • Glitter glue
  • Kazoo:
  • Empty paper towel tube
  • Empty toilet paper tube
  • Craft paint
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper
  • Craft foam
  • Glue
  • Ruler
  • Waxed paper
  • Rubber band
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About the Author

Ivy Morris specializes in health, fitness, beauty, fashion and music. Her work has appeared in "Sacramento News and Review," "Prosper Magazine" and "Sacramento Parent Magazine," among other publications. Morris also writes for medical offices and legal practices. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in government-journalism from Sacramento State University.