Posts Tagged ‘homemade musical instruments’

One of my favorite Halloween costumes from last year (I had multiple, ha!) was my take on the great and powerful Stevie Nicks.


All the costumes I was a part of came together pretty damn well; my friends and I nailed Spinal Tap, and my friend Kate and I were the perfect Nancy and Tonya (in my opinion). My Stevie outfit was the easiest to throw together, though, because I had so much of what I was looking for in my closet already. The ONE thing I wasn’t able to complete in time for this costume was a homemade tambourine. I would have also liked a top hat and maybe a few more talismans, but a guy can only do so much.

But all is not lost! Seeing as our next release is Lullaby Renditions of Fleetwood Mac, I have the perfect opportunity (excuse) to finally make a Stevie tambourine. So let’s do it!


What You’ll Need

Embroidery hoops (any size will work)
Heavy string
Lace (leather would be fun, too!)
Ribbons (cut to various lengths)
Hot glue gun


1. Separate the embroidery hoop, placing the inner hoop to the side.
2. Make dashes along the radius of the hoop, mimicking the hours of a clock.
3. Near the metal piece of the hoop, take the end of your string and tie a knot wrapping the string a few more times at that same mark.


4. Thread a bell through the string, securing it to the “One o’clock” dash.
5. Wrap the thread 5 more times until you meet the “Two o’clock” dash. Repeat until you reach the top of the hoop
6. Tie another knot at the top, cut string and loosen metal screw.
7. Take ribbons and tie along top between the “10 o’clock” and “2 o’clock” marks
8. Place your fabric over the inner hoop.


9. Take the bigger hoop and place over the smaller.
10. Tighten screw.
11. Trim excess fabric.
12. Secure the bells in place with a hot glue gun (if desired).


There you have it! You see your gypsy?
(how perfect would this have been for my costume?! Next year . . . ) 

Lullaby Renditions of Fleetwood Mac arrives February 10. But you can channel your inner Stevie Nicks now to a sampling of tracks from the release!

For more DIY musical instruments to start your band on the cheap, try our selection below.

And see more of Ms. Rockabye’s costumes, too!

Feeling crafty? We’re back with another DIY instrument tutorial.

This time, we’re setting foot on unmarked ground . . . with a wind instrument. *Gasp!*

Yeah, we know, it’s crazy but we promise it’s super simple and your little ones will be fluting about all day after you’ve crafted your very own!

How to Make a Flute

What You’ll Need:
A ruler
10 Straws
Tape or glue

1. Gather your supplies
2. One straw needs to remain uncut at 10 inches. Take the next straw and cut off 1 inch from its bottom.
3. Take your next straw and cut an additional inch (2 inches total)
4.Continue the process (i.e., removing 3 inches, 4, 5, etc.) until desired number of straws is achieved.
5. Cut a long piece of tape.
6.  Lay out a long strip of tape and line up the straws longest to shortest.
7. Continue until all straws have been laid over the tape, with each of the tops even with one another.
8.Secure in place by wrapping tape around the front of the straws.

Bada bing bada boom! You have yourself a flute!




There’s more where that came from. Check out all of our DIY instruments!

Guitar - Rain stickTubular BellsDrum

Happy March, everyone! You know what that means? It’s Music in Our School’s Month!

Around the country this month, schools will be celebrating and raising awareness of the benefits of music education. If you’re big music fans like we are, we’re sure you agree just how vital music classes in our schools are.

So in honor of Music in Our School’s Month, we’re doing our own part to spread awareness of the importance of music for our little ones with fun and simple DIY instruments this week.

Up first is one noisemaker that’s a great starter instrument for the little rocker in your life. So lets get shakin’ with some percussion!

How to Make an Egg Shaker

What You’ll Need:
Plastic, Hollow Eggs
We used rice, lentils and quinoa
Hot or Super Glue


  1. Open your plastic egg.
  2. Fill the bottom half of the egg almost to the rim with your material of choice: rice, beans or lentils.
  3. Using a hot glue gun or super glue, line the ridge of the egg and place the other half of the egg over the glued section and wipe away excess glue.
  4. Let glue dry completely and decorate as you wish!
  5. Now it’s time to SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE!



027297963122And we have the PERFECT song for you to shake to from Lullaby Renditions of AC/DC. Can you guess what is? Click below to keep the music going all…night…long.


diydrumI’m not a drummer, but, gosh dang, sometimes I wish I were.

My fascination with drumming came at a young age. I was at a county fair watching my great-uncle’s polka band with my grandma 20 years or so ago. My grandma had me plopped on her lap and was bouncing me about to the “oohm-pa-pa-oohma-pa-pa” of the drums. I remember just staring with my mouth open as the drummer beat away on her little drum kit. I was mesmerized.

Nowadays I see drummers playing (mouth still open) and all I can think is: “How are you getting your limbs to do all of those things!?” I can’t even coordinate and control my hands long enough to cut food with a fork and knife!

I’ve tried my hand at drumming a few times but just the act of sitting at a kit seems to turn my arms and legs to rubber. It’s a sad thing to admit but drumming just isn’t for me . . .

That’s not going to stop me from being a fan though! Double pedal for LIFE.

As it’s International Drum Month, we couldn’t help but roll out a little DIY Drum project for you to share with your little drummers. Plus, this is a drum I think even I could play.

What You’ll Need and Instructions:
1. Cans, fabric, glue, scissors, leather to wrap around the top and bottom of cans (or” pleather” as we used), leather straps, heavy duty hole puncher, *optional: wooden dowel and wooden ball to make drum mallet
2. Cut fabric to size of can and glue one side.
3. Wrap the fabric around your can and pat to secure.
4. Lay out leather and trace the bottom of your can. Measure about 1 inch around your circle and draw another. Cut out the larger circle.
5. With the heavy duty hole puncher, punch holes about 1/2 inch from the edge around the circumference of your circle.
6. Weave your leather laces through each of the holes.
7. Tightly cinch the leather (pleather) over the top of your can and tie the laces together. Repeat the process on the bottom of the can.
8. Decorate as desired and SMASH!


These would make great holiday gifts, too ;) Here’s Little Miss D playing with the set we made!

For more great DIY instruments, click on the images below.

52 photo stick

You love to rock out on (fill in the blank with your instrument of choice)… Question is: How do you choose the right instrument for your child? I’ve been trying to figure that out since our daughter got her pincers working, and the instrument is always changing. She has shown me a lot about what is right for her when it comes to rocking out, so I thought I’d share what Little D has taught me about choosing the right instrument for your child.


Have more tips on how to choose the right instrument for a child?

Share below! And for some great music to play along and sing and sleep to, check out some of our releases below.

We’re back with another installment of our Music in Our Schools Month DIY! Today, we’re making Homemade Rainsticks.

In elementary school, we would have a day every few months when our music teacher would bring out every odds and ends instrument she had collected over the years for us to jam with, including a giant rainstick from Chile that stood taller than her. When she’d flip the stick end over end, all the contents inside would run down and create a beautiful, rainy chiming that was mesmerizing.

So again, in honor of “Music in Our Schools Month” (and to continue inspiring the littlest music makers), we’ve created another kid-friendly musical instrument for your little rockers! This week, we’re making Rainsticks.

What You’ll Need:
Mailing Tube (we used an 11×2 inch tube with ends)

Aluminum Foil

3 tbsp Rice

3 tbsp Unpopped Popcorn


Hot Glue
Masking Tape

Optional: Glue and construction paper


1. Tear a 2 ½ foot length sheet of aluminum foil and crush it lengthwise into the shape of a long cylinder.

2. Wrap it around the handle of a broom (or comparable-shaped object) to form a coil. Remove from broom. Coil should measure about the length of your mailing tube)

3. Create a 2nd coil by repeating step 1 & 2. This time after, removing the coil from the broom, continue twisting the aluminum to create a tighter coil.

4. Place the small coil within the larger coil.
5. Place the two coils into mailing tube.

6. Use hot glue or masking tape to secure the ends of the foil inside the tube about ¼ inch from opening.

7. After one end of the mailing tube has been securely closed off, pour in rice and popcorn combination.

8. Secure both ends. Tip and let it rain!



March is Music in Our Schools Month! Schools around the country will be raising awareness of the benefits of music education and the numerous ways it enriches lives. We’re sure you agree with how important music in our schools is and having children introduced to the joys of playing music at an early age.

Choosing which instrument I wanted to play in 2nd grade was one of the biggest decisions I made in my adolescence. I was torn between two: My best friend had decided to join band to play the trumpet so I considered following her, but I desperately wanted to play the guitar. When I was in kindergarten, all of the kids in my class, myself included, made little rubber-band shoebox guitars during one of our “Music Days.” My fascination and love of the guitar was born then.

So, after a 4-minute internal debate with my 7-year-old self, I concluded it was a no-brainer. Soon after I got my first real guitar (which I named Jack), started taking lessons and still play to this day about 16 years later.

Sadly, Jack was broken a few years ago by my little cousins who were trying to serenade my uncle while I was at school. It’s safe to say little tykes should begin their musical endeavors with simpler, “starter” instruments at first.

In honor of “Music in Our Schools Month” (and to inspire the littlest music makers), we’ve created a few homemade, kid-friendly musical instruments perfect for a mini jam session so your little ones can start their bands now! Our first installment: DIY Tubular Bells 

What You’ll Need:
Mailing Tube (we used an 11 x 2 inch tube)
Measuring Tape
Small drill of puncturing tool
Needle and thread
21-14 bells (depending if you want stacks of three as we did or two as Minieco did)
Optional: Glue and construction paper

1. Decorate mailing tube as desired (we jazzed our tube up with a bit of hot pink construction paper).
2. With puncturing tool, make a line of vertical holes spaced about 3/4 an inch apart down one side of the tube  (make sure not to put holes too far down as you won’t be able to sew the bells on properly).
3. Repeat this step around the remaining area of the tube leaving about an inch of space between each vertical line of holes.
4. Using needle and thread, sew on bells, weaving in and out from the bottom hole up until securely fastened.
5. Continue until desired amount of bells are attached to tube.
6. Shake, shake, shake!



For more homemade instruments we’ve shared on our blog, click HERE!(Idea+Instructions via Minieco)

Get your kids started making a racket early on and get their creative fires burning with homemade instruments that are as fun to make as they are to play. has a huge list of homemade instruments, as does Here’s a list of some of the great ones from both sites.

Box Guitar
What you need:
-empty shoe box
-rubber bands
-ruler or stick

Remove the cover from the box. Stretch the rubber bands around the box. Attach the ruler or stick to the back of the box on one end to act as the neck of the guitar. To play, strum or pluck the rubber bands.

What you need:
-empty oatmeal box with cover
-2 pencils
-2 spools
-construction paper

Before beginning, you can decorate the oatmeal box with construction paper and/or crayons for a colorful effect. Place the cover on the box. Use a pen to make a hole in the center of the cover and in the center of the bottom of the box. Through these holes, pull a piece of yarn long enough to hang around child’s neck and down to their waist. For the drumsticks, place the spools at the ends of the pencils, secure with glue if necessary. Beat to play.

Water-Bottle Baby Rattle
What you need:
-1 Empty Water Bottle
-1/4 cup of uncooked rice, lentils or beans
-Assorted colored ribbons.
-Optional beads, sequins or felt shapes
-Hot glue or non-toxic craft glue

This craft project shows you how to make a baby toy out of a recycled water bottle. This baby toy craft is a great sensory toy for little minds to help them play and develop. Start by taking your water bottle and allowing it to dry. Once it is dry add your “rattle” items. This bottle is filled with rice, sequins, felt cutouts and a few assorted bright beads. Place some glue around the rim of the lid and then pop it on and allow it to set. This is just an extra precautionary in case the top should become loose. Keep in mind this toy is for small infants Birth-6 months so secure the lid with glue to be safe.

What you need:
-A paper towel tube or other long cardboard tube
-Aluminum foil
-Small dried beans (like lentils), unpopped popcorn, dry rice, or tiny pasta
-Brown paper (from a grocery bag) or construction paper
-Crayons or markers

Trace around the end of your tube onto a piece of brown paper (or construction paper). Draw a bigger circle around that circle and then draw a lot of spokes between the two circles. Cut along the spokes. Put glue on the spokes and glue the cap onto one end of your tube. Cut a piece of aluminum foil that is about one and half times the length of your tube and about 6 inches wide. Crunch the aluminum foil into two long, thin, snake-like shapes. Then twist each one into a spring shape. Put the aluminum foil springs into your tube. Pour some dry beans, dry rice, or unpopped popcorn into your tube. The tube should only be about 1/10 full. You can experiment to see how different amounts and different types of seeds and beans change the sound. Make another cap from brown paper (the same as the first three steps) and cap your tube. Optional: Decorate the tube by covering it with brown paper or construction paper, and then making designs with crayons or markers (or cut-out paper or stickers).

What you need:
-paper towel roll
-waxed paper
-rubber band

Cover one end of the paper towel roll with waxed paper, secure it with a rubber band. Punch a row of holes along one side of the roll with the tip of a pen. To play, sing a tune into the open end of the horn.

Homemade wash tub bassContinuing in my quest to make jug band musicians out of each and every kid exposed to this blog, I’m going to follow up my previous post on making a cigar box banjo with something to fill out the low end – a washtub bass. This classic hillbilly instrument is easy to make, fun to play, and makes laundry just a little bit harder to do.

You need:

  1. A galvanized metal washtub – get this at your local hardware store.
  2. A wooden pole – a broomstick works fine here.
  3. Two metal washers, two nuts, a large eye screw, and a bolt
  4. A length of medium-weight rope.
  5. You’ll also need a drill and bit that can get through the metal of the washtub.


Start off by drilling a hole in the center of the washtub to let the eye screw through. This is a grown-up job, as children lack the trigonometric knowledge to accurately judge the center point of the circle. Also drills and metal are a little bit dangerous. While you’re drilling, drill a hole in one end of the pole for the bolt.

Screw the bolt into the pole so it’s sticking out from both sides.  Put the eye screw into the hole with a washer on each side and the nut at the bottom, and tighten the assemblage. Cut a groove into the end of the pole that doesn’t have the bolt on it so it fits on the lip of the washtub.

Finally, cut your rope to about eight feet and tie one end to the eye screw. Wrap the other end around the bolt in the pole and tighten it until it sits at about a 30 degree angle when the pole is resting on the lip. Tie it off so it’s tight. Now you should be ready to play – drop the lip in the groove, pull on the pole to make the rope tight and pluck it to make the washtub resonate with that classic bwoom sound.

Have fun, jugheads!

Brooklyn inventor Ranjit Bhatnagar uses all sorts of things to make his homemade instruments – from melting ice to pots and pans with electrical current running through them.

Even better, he provides sound clips of everything so you can listen and learn. It’s a great place for ideas for homemade instruments to make with your kids.