How to make a plastic pipe xylophone

Written by steven symes
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How to make a plastic pipe xylophone
You can make a xylophone out of PVC piping. (xylophone image by Andrey Lukyanov from

A xylophone is a percussion instrument that is played by hitting each pipe with a rubber mallet. The longer the pipe is, the lower a note it will produce, and the shorter the pipe, the higher a note it will produce. You can make a xylophone with as many or as few pipes as you want. Once you finish making your xylophone, practice making music with it. As with all musical instruments it takes time to learn how to play the xylophone well, but it is fun learning.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • PVC pipes
  • Clamp or vice
  • Hacksaw
  • 2 wooden boards, approximately 10x24 inches
  • String
  • Rubber mallet

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  1. 1

    Place one end of the pipe in a vice or clamp attached to a work bench or table. Cut the PVC pipes with the hacksaw, making each one gradually shorter than the pipe cut before it.

  2. 2

    Arrange the pipes on the two boards, from the longest to the shortest, with about one-third of each pipe hanging over the edge of the board to allow for sound to resonate inside the tubes.

  3. 3

    Tie each pipe to the boards using string, making sure to keep the pipes ordered shortest to longest, xylophone style, as you go.

Tips and warnings

  • To play the xylophone, use a rubber mallet or similar tool to hit the pipes close to the middle of each pipe.
  • Only an adult should use the hacksaw to cut the PVC pipes. Hacksaws are very dangerous tools and should be handled carefully.

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