Make Your Own Instruments from Recycled Materials

Jul 31, 2013

Sound the trumpets, bang the drums and strike up the band! Let's make some super musical instruments using recycled materials.

There's no disputing that kids love making noise. And of course, studies have shown that there are both mental and physical benefits associated with playing and listening to music. So with those two facts in mind, we gathered some of our recyclables and came up with a winner of an activity!


A guitar made from a cardboard box and elastics.

To make a homemade guitar, simply stretch several large elastic bands around a cardboard box.

We chose a box with an open top, but a tissue box with a hole in the center, works well, too.

Choose elastic bands that vary in width to ensure that all of your "guitar strings" will produce different tones and sounds when they're plucked by little fingers.


A drum made out of an ice cream tub.

For our drums, we used a plastic ice cream container with a lid.

Using a hole punch, I made four holes in the container: one on each side of the container itself (just below where the lid sits) and one on each side of the lid.

With the lid off, but positioned close to the top of the container, simply thread a long length of wide ribbon (we used first aid gauze) through the holes.

Snap the lid in place, and knot the ends of your ribbon. Add a couple of chopstick drumsticks or sticks for a boomin' good time.


maracas made from plastic containers, rice and beads.

These "maraca" shakers were very easy to make.

I found a few containers that were small enough for little hands to grasp. We added some pony beads and dried rice, which we had previously coloured for another activity. Buttons and dried lentils or pasta would all be fine alternatives.

Make sure that your lids fit snugly. If you think your little one is still curious enough to pry the lid off the container, consider taping it shut.


Cymbals made from old cds.

Loop a strip of fabric through the hole of an old CD and tie it off at a point where the fabric strap will slide snugly around three or four fingers of your child's hand.

While your CDs don't make the resounding crash that real cymbals do, they certainly produce a fun and satisfying "clack."

Trumpet or Flute

Toy flute made out of a stick and tin foil.

Cover a paper towel roll with aluminum foil, folding and crimping the edges into each end of the tube.

Have your child decorate the tube with coloured tissue paper and adhesive foam craft pieces.

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Recycle stuff into musical instruments

Article Author Jackie Currie
Jackie Currie

Read more from Jackie here.

Jackie Currie is a mother, daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind the blog Happy Hooligans. A self-proclaimed glitterphobe, she specializes in easy, affordable arts & crafts and good, old-fashioned play.