How to make cardboard instruments

Written by daisy peasblossom fernchild Google
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How to make cardboard instruments
Musical instruments can be very complex or incredibly simple. (bongos image by Maria Bell from

Music is loved by almost everyone, and young children are no exception. Double the fun of making music by creating your very own musical instruments. These simple instruments can be made from household throwaways and inexpensive supermarket supplies.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Cardboard tubes
  • Stick
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Paper plates
  • Heavy-duty rubber bands
  • Plastic rings from drink packs
  • Crisp cans
  • Cloth tape (duct tape works, but isn't very pretty)
  • Paint
  • Glue
  • Scissors

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    Simple Cardboard Guitar

  1. 1

    Cut an oval hole in the lid of a shoebox. Glue or tape the lid to the box.

    How to make cardboard instruments
    A shoebox can become a guitar. (empty brown box image by nTripp from
  2. 2

    Place five heavy-duty rubber bands around the box, positioning them so they stretch across the oval opening. Place a pencil or short dowel rod under the strings on one edge to act as a bridge.

  3. 3

    Tune the strings by twisting golf pencils or short pieces of dowel rod in each string to tighten them. Position these on the end of the box opposite the bridge. Tape the ends to hold them in position.

  4. 4

    Glue tooth picks under the strings on the side of the hole opposite the pencil bridge (the tuning sticks should be one this side as well), to act as frets. Change notes by pressing a finger on the string between frets.


  1. 1

    Find or purchase a sturdy cardboard mailing tube, at least 2 feet, but preferably 3 feet long.

    How to make cardboard instruments
    Didgeridoo are essentially a hollow stick. (aboriginal didgeridoo image by Vladislav Gajic from
  2. 2

    Remove both ends of the mailing tube. Decorate with fanciful shapes, but do not use anything that will break if struck.

  3. 3

    Play the didgeridoo by singing, humming or blowing into it while striking the outside with a stick. Use a natural stick or decorate a dowel to match your didgeridoo.

    Rain Stick

  1. 1

    Empty a tall crisp container.

  2. 2

    Place the plastic ring assembly from a six-pack drink cluster inside the can. Let it spread out from top to bottom of the can.

  3. 3

    Pour in a half-cup of rice.

  4. 4

    Secure the lid by taping with duct or decorative packing tape. Make very certain it is secure. Decorate the outside using paint or glued-on paper.

  5. 5

    Play the rainstick by turning it over slowly. The plastic rings will act as baffles inside the can, and the rice will trickle gently through, striking either the plastic cap or the metal bottom of the can, making a soft rain sound.

    Paper Plate Maracas

  1. 1

    Fold two paper plates in half.

  2. 2

    Staple half way around the rim of each plate.

  3. 3

    Pour 1/4 cup of dry beans or peas into the cavity of each. Finish stapling.

  4. 4

    Tape around the edges with cloth tape.

  5. 5

    Paint the outside of the maracas in fanciful patterns. Let dry.

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