School Projects on Homemade Instruments

Updated April 17, 2017

Helping your kids make homemade musical instruments for their school projects will not only be entertaining and educational for both of you, it will give you an opportunity to engage in recycling some of your household trash. You will also be using odds and ends you have around the house for another purpose. With any luck, you won't have to buy a thing.


If you enjoy sculpting, you can make a pair of maracas from papier mache, fill them with dried beans and paint them in bright colours. You can also make a pair from small, dried hollowed-out gourds. If you've no time for either of these projects, you can go to your recycling bin and rescue two empty water bottles with their lids. Fill them with beans, buttons, or unpopped corn. Then, cover each bottle entirely with masking tape. Decorate the masking tape with markers of different colors.To play them, hold them by their necks and shake.


Make a tambourine from two styrofoam plates glued together with the eating sides facing each other. First, colour both plates with markers and decorate with stickers or coloured paper shapes cut out and glued on. Glue the plates together. When the glue is completely dry, punch holes all around the edges of the plate and tie with ribbons or yarn strung with jingle bells. Hub caps also make good tambourines. Use the kind that have spokes to which you can tie bells. Play the tambourine by hitting it in the middle in time to the music which also makes the bells jingle.

Tin Can Xylophone

Find different sizes of tin cans in your recycling bin.Gather about six of all different sizes, if you have them. Wash them, turn them with the bottom sides up and tape them all together in a group with masking tape. To play, hit them with rubber mallets, wooden spoons or metal spoons for the sound you want.


Make a kazoo with an empty cardboard toilet paper roll, a piece of waxed paper and a rubber band. First, paint the toilet paper roll with markers or paint and decorate it however you desire. Cut the waxed paper in a circle about five to six inches in diameter. Place the waxed paper circle over one end of the toilet paper roll and secure with a rubber band. To play, blow through the open end toward the waxed paper.

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About the Author

Susan Miller has been a professional journalist since 1990. She edited two weeklies for a chain of suburban newspapers and has written for the "Indianapolis Star," the "Indianapolis Business Journal" and several magazines, among other publications and websites. Miller studied design, photography and technology at Purdue University and Central Piedmont Community College.