How to Make a Hair Comb Harmonica

Updated February 21, 2017

For only pennies, you can make a harmonica out of a hair comb and a few other simple materials. Give the hair comb harmonica to a child, and you have an impromptu lesson on the pleasure of playing a musical instrument. As simple as it may seem, the comb harmonica actually has a place in American music history, according to California State University at Northridge. In the 1920s, the comb harmonica was included in the limelight with a variety of other folk instruments, including jew's harp, violin, washboard, wood blocks, thimbles, washtub bass, banjo and mandolin.

Cut a piece of tissue paper into a 3 inch by 4 inch piece. Alternatively, use waxed paper. The waxed paper will make a slightly different sound.

Fold the tissue or waxed paper over the teeth of the 4-inch plastic comb. Secure the paper with a small piece of clear tape.

Hold the hair comb harmonica to your lips and hum through the lips. Slide the comb back and forth to change the sound.


Teach children to play their favourite songs such as the happy birthday song or favourite Christmas carols on the hair comb harmonica.


Hair comb harmonicas are appropriate for children age five and over. Don't give comb harmonicas to younger children, who may choke on the paper.

Things You'll Need

  • Tissue paper or waxed paper
  • 4-inch plastic comb
  • Clear tape
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About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.