Homemade musical drinking straw

Written by anne baley | 13/05/2017
Homemade musical drinking straw
Adapt drinking straws to make musical instruments. (NikolayN/iStock/Getty Images)

A drinking straw is one of the most innocent looking items on a restaurant table. It just sits there quietly, not making a sound. If you have bored children and a table at a child-friendly restaurant, you can quickly turn that straw into a fun musical instrument. The drinking straw whistle will buzz like a kazoo, but has the possibility of being turned into an entire drinking straw band with the addition of a few more parts. Of course, you can always do the project at home if you feel sympathy for your fellow diners.

Flatten one end of a straw to the length of about 2.5 cm (1 inch). Use the back of the scissors to push down on the straw and get it really flat.

Cut a wedge from each side of the flattened end. The wedge should start about 6 mm (1/4 inch) down the straw and come up to the tip of the straw. One third of the width of the straw end should remain on the straw.

Blow into the cut straw end. Depending on the thickness of your straw, you may have to re-flatten the straw to make a noise, or you may have to blow harder or softer. Practice until you can make a consistent sound on your straw whistle.

Place a paper towel roll over the straw. The roll will not be attached, but you will hold it as if to make the straw longer. While you blow on the straw, slide the towel roll up and down on the straw to make the length shorter and longer. This will change the pitch of your whistle.

Add a plastic funnel to the end of the towel roll. This will change the sound to more of a drinking straw horn.


Experiment with different additions to your drinking straw horn to find different sounds that you can make.


Make sure that children are seated when using this instrument, as walking or running with a straw in the mouth could be dangerous.

Things you need

  • Plastic drinking straw
  • Scissors
  • Paper towel roll
  • Funnel

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