How to make a musical instrument out of recycled materials

Updated February 21, 2017

Children often grow bored with toys very quickly, and parents regret having spent a lot of money on items that collect dust in a corner. One way to save money and to engage children's creativity is to make musical instruments out of recycled materials. Most children enjoy creating music and participating in hands-on types of projects. Using recycled materials to make these instruments also helps to cut down on waste a little.

Empty an old shoebox and cut a hole in the centre of the lid. The hole should be about 2 to 3 inches in diameter.

Glue the lid to the shoebox.

Use a craft knife to cut three or four shallow notches on the top of both ends of the lid. Line the notches up with the hole in the centre of the lid.

Stretch three or four rubber bands across the hole. Fit each rubber band into the slots on the ends so that they don't slip.

Cut a pencil in half and insert it under the strings on one end of the hole. This will serve as a bridge.

Glue or tape a paper towel tube or a paint stirrer onto the top end of the box (the end opposite the bridge) as a decorative neck for the guitar.

Embellish the guitar artistically by using markers, crayons, paint and stickers.


Try rubber bands of different thicknesses and sizes to experiment with creating different tones.

Things You'll Need

  • Shoebox
  • Rubber bands
  • Paper towel tube or paint stirrer
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Markers, crayons, paints and stickers
  • Craft knife
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Charlotte Johnson is a musician, teacher and writer with a master's degree in education. She has contributed to a variety of websites, specializing in health, education, the arts, home and garden, animals and parenting.