Make a homemade lap harp

Written by kelly sundstrom
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Make a homemade lap harp
You can make a homemade lap harp from craft materials. (castel image by jeancliclac from

Stringed instruments, such as lap harps, create their sound from the plucking of strings. The strings of a lap harp are organised in varying lengths and widths to make different pitches. You can create your own lap harp instrument out of simple materials that can be purchased at any department and music store. Once finished, you can tune the harp so that you can play melodic and harmonic songs on it.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Picture frame
  • 16 nails
  • Hammer
  • 8 guitar strings, low E, F, G, A, B, C, D, high E
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Digital tuner

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  1. 1

    Take the backing and the glass off the picture frame; discard them or save them for a different project.

  2. 2

    Place the frame onto a flat surface, such as a tabletop.

  3. 3

    Hammer eight nails onto one side of the frame, spacing them about 1 inch apart.

  4. 4

    Hammer eight nails onto the opposite side of the frame, spacing them about 1 inch apart.

  5. 5

    Wrap a guitar string around a nail, using the needle-nose pliers. Stretch the string across the frame and attach it to the opposite nail. Do the same with the other seven strings, arranging them from the thinnest to the thickest. Make sure that the strings are taut.

  6. 6

    Trim off the excess string using wire cutters.

  7. 7

    Place a digital tuner next to the harp.

  8. 8

    Turn each of the nails slightly with the needle-nose pliers so that the strings are tuned to low E, F, G, A, B, C, D, and high E.

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