Make A Tambourine

Homemade Instruments
Plastic Egg Shakers
Materials :
plastic Easter eggs
filling - rice and barley are recommended, but you can also fill different eggs with different
things and have children compare sounds
hot glue gun, and hot glue
Put a couple of tablespoons (you can experiment with sound before sealing) of rice or other filling in bottom half of
egg. Run a bead of hot glue along the inside edge of the TOP of the egg. Carefully place top on and check to be sure
it’s on straight and tight.
Comments: The larger size egg is fun, but if you use eggs the size of real eggs, you can store them in egg cartons
painted to match the egg colors, and children can sort them when putting them away.
Jingle Sticks
Materials :
six metal bottle caps for each stick
six inch dowels or sticks
common nails, approx. 1 3/4" long
one nail larger in diameter, to use to punch holes in bottle caps
Polyurethane or other clear finish
optional: different colored electrical tape, and permanent black marker
Instructions :
Coat dowels with 2 coats of polyurethane, and allow to dry.Using larger nail, hammer holes in the centers of the
bottle caps.Using common nails, hammer 3 sets of 2 bottle caps each along one side of the dowel, leaving enough
dowel for handle.If desired, decorate handle end of dowel with bands of electrical tape, and draw design on tape
with maker
African Tambourine
Materials :
jar to set balloon in while forming paper mache
12" balloon
masking or other tape
awl or ice pick for punching holes
hot glue and glue gun
newspaper torn into 1" strips
white glue and water mixture (1 part glue to 3 parts water)
acrylic paint
1 3/4" wide cloth or duct tape (vinyl or electrical tape won’t stick well)
yarn or string
cowry shells, buttons, or beads ( shell necklace is less expensive than individual shells)
Instructions :
Blow up balloon to about 2/3 full size (this is arbitrary). Set the balloon in jar, and lightly tape it to keep it from
rolling around. Dip strips of newspaper in glue and water mixture, and pull off excess by running paper through
fingers. Cover top half of balloon with several layers of newspaper, and allow to dry for 2 days. When paper mache
is dry, remove balloon from jar, and pop it.Using scissors, cut an even edge around the bottom so you have a bowl
shape. Fold cloth or duct tape over the cut edge of the bowl.
Using an awl or an ice pick, punch holes all around the bowl, just below the cloth tape, and a couple of inches
apart.Thread yarn or string through the holes, and attach shells or buttons on the outside of the bowl, allowing
them to hang loosely making a sound when the tambourine is moved back and forth.
Comments: to play the tambourine, hold it in both hands, with fingers up, and twist wrists back and forth. Once
you have mastered this, you can gently toss it while twisting your wrists.
Sand Blocks
pieces of wood (1X4 cut into 4" lengths)
felt rectangles cut to fit blocks of wood
medium grit sandpaper cut same size as felt pieces
white or other glue
Polyurethane and brush to seal wood
* optional- stickers to decorate wood blocks
Lightly sand wood blocks, and check to be sure there are no rough edges or splinters. I you are decorating the
blocks with stickers, place them now. Then coat bottoms and sides of all blocks with 2 coats of Polyurethane. Let
dry. Glue one or two pieces of felt, and then a piece of sandpaper onto the blocks, and place weight on them while
they dry.
Juice Can Shakers
These are fun ethnic-looking shakers– very easy to make!
Juice cans with paper labels (Dole Pineapple is the only one I have found, but you may find others).
Duct tape
Waxed paper
Rice or other similar filling
Hot glue
Electrical tape in different colors (available from hardware stores for under $2 )
Drink the juice, remove the paper labels and pull tab, and wash and dry the cans. Put a small amount of rice in
each can. You can hold your finger over the top and shake it, to see if it seems like the right amount. Place a strip
of duct tape on waxed paper ( the waxed paper us just to act as a backing for the tape while you cut it). Trace a
circle using the bottom of the can, and cut out enough duct tape circle to have one for each can. Peel the waxed
paper off, and carefully apple the tape over the top of each can. Then make a ring of hot glue around the edge of
the duct tape to further seal the top. Lastly, put one piece of electrical tape around the middle of each can. If you
use all four colors, red, blue, yellow, and green, and have 12 cans, you will end up with 3 cans of each color. You
can then use the songs to learn colors in Spanish (or other languages), such as Tocan Las Maracas (on Rhythm of the
Rocks CD), or try using some of the egg-shaking songs.
Jingle Bracelets
elastic ponytail holders or Chinese jump rope (one jump rope will make 7 jingle bracelets)
elasticized gold thread
jingle bells (available by the handful at craft and fabric stores, or on cards at variety stores)
If using Chinese jump rope, cut into seven inch lengths, and form form bracelets by tying ends in a knot.
Using elasticized thread, tie 4 jingle bells on each bracelet, Space them equally around the bracelet.
Comments: Songs which use hand movements are quite fun when using these bracelets. examples: Tingalayo (can
be found on Raffi recording), and A Rum Sum Sum (can be found on Rhythm of the Rocks, by MaryLee and Nancy)
Quilting Hoop Drum
Materials :
14" quilting hoop (available at craft and fabric stores)
white glue
heat-shrink nylon fabric (sold at airplane supply stores- you can order from
Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co. PH. 1-877-477-7823.
Specify item # 09-00500. One yard of fabric will be enough for 8 14" drums, and is under $4
a yard).
clear polyurethane and brush to apply it
acrylic paint or permanent markers for making design on drum
wooden dowel
wooden ball with pre-drilled hole the same size diameter as the dowel
Cut a 17" square of dacron. Spread a bead of glue on opposing faces of the two hoops. Place the inner hoop on a flat
surface and overlay the fabric square so that the sides overhang evenly. Loosen the nut on the outer hoop so you
can spread it enough to fit it over the inner hoop. Tighten the wing nut as you adjust the fabric, working out any
wrinkle and puckers. Let glue dry. Heat-shrink the fabric by running an iron at the nylon setting repeatedly over the
fabric. (each drum will tighten a little differently and have a slightly different sound).Trim the excess fabric with
an exacto knife. Paint a design on the drum, if desired, and finish by sealing all surfaces with a coating of clear
Make the drumstick by cutting a dowel in 8" piece. Glue small wooden ball on the end.
Native American Rattle Craft
More Crafts
You can make a simple yet beautiful Native American rattle from a twig,
yarn and beads. When you shake it, it makes a rattling sound. Many
Native Americans made ceremonial rattles from natural objects (like deer
hooves strung on twigs or rib bones). In this craft, we use beads, spools,
washers, or shells as noise-makers.
Supplies needed:
 A y-shaped twig
 Yarn
 Scissors
 Tape
 Feathers, beads, buttons, washers, spools, and/or shells with holes in them.
Wind yarn around a y-shaped twig, covering it entirely. Start and
end the winding with knots (or tape, if the children cannot make
knots). Along the way, wind in a few decorative objects, like
feathers or beads.
Tie a short piece of yarn to one arm of the "y." Thread a few
beads, washers, spools, or other small objects onto the yarn. Tie
the other end of the yarn onto the other arm of the twig.
Paper Plate Maracas Craft
More Crafts
A maraca is a Latin American and Tupi rattle. The original
maracas were made from hollow gourds filled with pebbles
or seeds.
You can make simple maracas from one or two paper plates
stapled together, containing dried beans or popcorn. These
are fun to make at a party for preschoolers - you can then
make a lot of noise!
Supplies needed:
 One or two paper plates
 Dried beans, rice, or popcorn
 Stapler
 Paint, markers, or crayons
 Optional: crepe paper streamers
Put a handful or two of dried
beans, rice, or popcorn in a paper
plate. Staple a paper plate securely
on top of it.
[You can use a single plate for
each maraca by folding a paper
plate in half, adding the beans,
then stapling the rim to itself.]
Decorate the maracas with crayons, markers, or
Optional: Staple long crepe paper streamers
to the maracas.
You now have great maracas that you can
use to make music.
More Kinder Crafts
A simple-to-make Rainstick.
Rainsticks are ceremonial musical instruments used to invoke the rain spirits. They are made by
people who live in the deserts of northern Chile. In Chile, rainsticks are traditionally made from
dead cactus tubes with hundreds of cactus spines hammered into the tube. Tiny lava pebbles
cascade gently through the tube, sounding much like rain.
This rainstick is definitely not traditional. It is made from a cardboard tube (instead of the dried
cactus) and aluminum foil (in place of cactus spines).
Supplies needed:
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).
Rainforest designs are nice, especially brightly-colored
butterflies, frogs, and flowers. Tiny construction paper
butterflies (like the one on the right) are nice glued onto
the rainstick.
Straw Oboes
Reed-like instruments are created from plastic drinking straws.
You will need:
plastic or paper drinking straws (paper straws work better, if you can find them)
overhead projector (optional)
This activity takes some practice to master. You should become proficient at playing a straw
oboe before presenting this activity to your students.
Flatten one end (about 2 cm) of a drinking straw. Use your teeth or pinch it between your
fingers. Use scissors to make angular cuts as shown, on each side of the flattened end.
Insert the straw into your mouth. Position the reed flaps just inside your lips and apply very light pressure with your lips.
Blow through the straw. The reeds should vibrate and produce a tone. You may need to move the straw around slightly to
locate the best position for creating your musical note. You can cut portions off the non-flattened end of the straw to create
different pitched tones.
Building a 5-note set of Panpipes
Begin by getting approximately 2 feet of 1/2-inch/schedule-40 PVC
sprinkler pipe.
Inches Centimeters
1) Cut the tubing into the five
1 sections listed on the left.
D 5 3/8
E 4 3/4
3 2) Place a penny over one end
of each pipe and cover each
5 penny with a 2" X 2" square
piece of duct tape.
A 3 7/16
3) Wrap about 18 inches of
duct tape around the set as shown on the right. Blow
across the top of each pipe — it's just like blowing on a
soda bottle
C 6 1/16
Building a 5-note Glockenspiel
Inches Centimeters
11 1/4
F# 10 9/16
A 9 11/16
9 1/8
6 Get ten feet of 1/2-inch Electrical Metallic Tubing (EMT) pipe — also
referred to as Electrical Conduit, or EMT Conduit.
1) With a metal pipe cutter (not a hacksaw), cut the tubing into the five sections listed on the left
(some full-service hardware stores will do this for you).
2) Arrange your tubes as shown so that the longest is on the bottom and the shortest is on top.
3) String the tubes together (simple knots will do) along both sides so there are 2 inches between
each tube. You may also place the tubes on two pieces of felt or foam rubber.
4) Try different "mallets" (metal/wood/plastic) to obtain a variety of timbre
Make a Tambourine
Add some jingle-jangle to your next sing-along with an inexpensive, homemade tambourine. (Hesitant parents take note: this instrument
is quieter than the store-bought variety.)
10 metal bottle caps*
piece of scrap wood
large nail
10- or 20-gauge craft wire
neddle-nose pliers (optional)
7-inch wooden embroidery hoop
corrugated cardboard
colored plastic or electrical tape
Punch a hole in each bottle cap by placing them, one at a time, top down on the piece of scrap
wood, setting the tip of a nail in the center of the cap, then tapping the nail with a hammer. Use caution, as the edges of the
holes will be sharp.
Cut five 3-inch lengths of the wire. Using your fingers (or pliers, if necessary), bend a half-inch
hook at one end, as shown. Thread two bottle caps onto each wire, top to top for the best sound.
Separate the two parts of the embroidery hoop and screw the outer hoop tightly closed. Cut five
1-inch squares of cardboard for spacers. Cut a length of tape about 5 inches long and lay it sticky-side up. Place a spacer in
the center of the tape, aligning the edges, and tape it in place, as shown. Reinforce the spacer with more tape. Repeat with the
other four spacers, taping them evenly around the hoop.
Between each of the spacers, hook the bent end of one wire over one hoop, then bend the other
end over the second hoop.
Use short lengths of tape to cover and secure the wire ends to the hoops. Now, tambourine man,
play a song for me!
What's the Buzz?
If you've ever wanted to chirr like a cicada or buzz like a bee, just take this humming noisemaker for a spin. When you swing it around by its string,
the passing air causes the rubber band to vibrate, resulting in a droning insect sound.
Pencil eraser
Craft stick
Index card
Flat rubber band
To make one, start by slipping a pencil eraser onto each end of a craft stick.
Trim an index card into a 3-inch square. (We decorated ours with wasplike stripes.) Center the card between the erasers and
staple it to the craft stick.
Tie one end of a yard of string on the craft stick between the card and eraser. Stretch a flat rubber band around the eraser
ends, as shown. Get your hummer buzzing by swinging it in a circle above your head.
2 paper plates
stapler or glue
hole punch
jingle bells
Staple or glue two paper plates together, facing each other. Using a hole punch, make holes around the
plates and tie jingle bells to the holes with string. Decorate the tambourine with crayons.
Shake to play. Note: Heavy duty paper plates may be more durable for this craft.
Supplies: 1/2″ wooden beads, wooden skewers, and glue (the article called for “tacky glue” but not being
crafty enough to know what that was, I used carpenter’s wood glue):
First, as suggested by the magazine, I cut the pointy ends off the skewers to reduce the chance of injury.
Next, the children threaded 15 beads onto the skewers in any pattern they wished.
My 2 year-old had fun threading beads too. For her, I stuck a lump of playdough onto one end of the skewer so
she wouldn’t get frustrated by beads falling off:
After each child had made two sticks, I glued the two end beads with the carpenter’s glue. It turned out to be a
bit fiddly and messy, so I think it was a good thing that I decided to do this step myself.
We let the glue dry for several hours, and this was the result:
Rub the sticks together to make a cool sound.
This is an easy way to make a guitar using an old shoe box or tissue box,
rubber bands, scissors, a paper-towel tube, and a pencil.
Find an old shoe box, tissue box, or other
cardboard box.
Have an adult cut an oval-shaped hole in the top.
Stretch a few rubber bands around the box and over
the hole.
Put a pencil under the rubber bands on one side.
Optional steps. Tape on a paper-towel tube and
decorate the box.
Hear it
YOU WILL NEED A cardboard tube - a gift wrapping tube or paper towel tube is best.
A piece of construction paper or a file folder
Tape - Masking tape or duct tape is preferable.
1. Shape the paper into a funnel with a hole just big enough for the tube to fit into.
2. Tape the funnel to the tube as shown:
The tube shouldn't stick too far into the funnel - just enough to be secure.
That's it! Now to make some noise!
How to Play:1. First, practice making your lips buzz. It's kind of like when you used to make
machine gun sounds with your lips. Also you might consider the way that a horse does it...2.
Press your lips up to tube and buzz away!3. Try making your lips buzz faster and slower. You'll
soon discover that if you buzz your lips just right, you'll get the best sound from the horn. This
is because of an effect of sound waves. When the length of the sound wave you create matches
up well with the length of the tube, the sound gets stronger. The funnel acts as an amplifier - it
makes the sound much louder. If you don't believe me, try one tube without a funnel and one
with a funnel. There should be a BIG difference!
Here's what it should sound like:
Small Trombone Sound
Saran wrap tube and paper towel tube
Larger Trombone Sound
Two longer and larger bore tubes
- A Tube Horn - Follow this Link to get instructions on how to build the Tube Horn, then come back here.
- Another tube that will fit inside your Tube Horn - it should be a snug fit but should be able to slide in and out
Slide the smaller tube into the bigger tube. The ideal is to slide smoothly in and out of the bigger tube without
catching, yet be pretty snug to the side of the big tube.
If your smaller tube is too loose inside the big tube you lose the "trombone slide" effect. If the difference is not
too much it is possible to wrap masking tape around the bottom end of the smaller tube to make a sort of
gasket that prevents too much air from escaping (see below).
How to Play:
1. First, practice making your lips buzz. It's kind of like when you used to make machine gun sounds with your
lips. Also you might consider the way that a horse does it (remember the old Mr. Ed shows?).
2. Press your lips up to the end of the smaller tube and buzz away!
HINT: With really short tubes (paper towel size, etc.) you can enhance the slide effect by buzzing your lips
slightly faster when the slide is in and slightly slower as you pull the slide out.
tin cans (you'll need at least 3 cans of the
same size
can opener
sturdy tape (masking tape is okay, but
plastic packing tape or duct tape works
wooden spoon
Tips on Cans:
Bonkos made from cans of different sizes will all sound different. Try making Bonkos from little cans
(like soup), bigger cans (like dog food), or really big cans (like tomato juice or Hawaiian Punch). With a
set of Bonkos, your whole family can make some interesting music together.
You can plan ahead and save your cans as you use them. Or you can do what the Fowler family did-plan a special dinner of canned foods and create your Bonkos after you eat.
Make sure that your cans have flat bottoms that you can cut off with a can opener. Cans with rounded
bottoms won't work.
Ask a grown-up to use the
can opener to cut off the
bottoms of all of the cansexcept one. Leave the bottom on
that one. (If you're using
different sizes of cans, make
sure one can of each size has a
Wash the insides of the cans and let them
dry. (Be careful of the cut edges: They might
Put the next can on top of
the other two, and tape it to
them. Now you have a Bonko
that's three cans long, with one
closed end and one open end.
(You can also make a four- or
five-can Bonko if you have
enough cans.)
be sharp.)
Take a can that still has a
bottom and put it on the
counter, open end up. Put
another can of the same size on
top of it. Tape them together.
Put a towel down on your
kitchen floor. Hold your
Bonko open end up, and bonk
it up and down on the towel.
Try making different sounds.
You can make your own
rhythms by bonking faster or
slower, softer or harder. If you
hold your hand over the opening as you bonk,
does that change the sound?
Why does a long Bonko make a deeper sound than a short Bonko?
Compare two Bonkos that are made of cans of the same size. You'll find that the longer Bonko makes a lowerpitched sound than the shorter Bonko.
Rather than talking about pitch, scientists sometimes talk about a sound's frequency. Every sound begins with a
vibration, and a sound's frequency is the rate of vibration-the number of times something vibrates in a unit of
time. Something that's vibrating very fast-like the steam rushing out of a whistling teakettle or the metal of a
tiny bell-makes a high-pitched, high-frequency sound. Something that's vibrating more slowly-like the
drumhead of a bass drum or the metal of a big bell-makes a low-pitched, low-frequency sound.
When air inside a Bonko vibrates, it makes a sound that contains many different frequencies. This complex
sound bounces around inside the metal tube. Sometimes vibrations of the same frequency overlap and add
together. When that happens, sounds with that frequency get louder. The length of the Bonko helps determine
which sounds get louder. Long Bonkos amplify low-frequency (low-pitched) sounds; short Bonkos amplify
high-frequency (high-pitched) sounds.
Have you ever seen an instrument like the Bonko? Maybe not in America. But all over the world-- from Africa
to South America-- people use objects just like your Bonko for dances and special ceremonies. Some of these
tubes are only about a foot long, but others are as tall as a grown-up man. People who study music call them all
stamping tubes.Each culture has its own name for this instrument.
In Venzuela, they are In Kenya and Tanzania, they are
called quitiplasand are called bazaras. They are made out of
made out of cane or
bamboo, sometimes with slits cut in
hollow wood.
the sides. People pound them on the
ground, but they also hit them with
In the islands of West
Java, they are called
kendang awi. These are
made of bamboo, and
two of them-- one large,
In Borneo, pieces of
dried fruit are put into
tubes of bamboo so
that the tubes will
also rattle when they
sticks to make a different sound.
one small-- are played
hit the ground.
Coffee Can Drum
By: Amanda Formaro
Difficulty: Very Easy
Age: 5 and up
Parental supervision is recommended
Click to view larger
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Kids love music and banging on pots, pans, and plastic containers. Combine their creativity with their musical
talent by making this adorable homemade drum.
For more great crafts and activities for kids, check out our Camp Crafts, Summer Crafts, and Classic Kids'
What you'll need:
Aluminum coffee can with plastic lid
2 sheets yellow construction paper
1 sheet tan felt
½ sheet magenta felt
Magenta yarn
1 rubber band
Glue stick
White craft glue
2 wooden dowels
2 small foam balls
Blue yarn
How to make it:
1. Remove lid from coffee can and set aside for a later step.
2. Cover the side of the can with yellow construction paper. Use glue stick to apply glue all over construction paper
then press on to the coffee can.
3. Using the white craft glue, “draw” diagonal lines onto the yellow construction paper. Start at the bottom, go up
at a slant to the top, and then go down from there at a slant, creating a triangle. Continue this pattern all the
way around the can.
4. Using magenta colored yarn, follow the glue lines and apply to the can. Do not cut the yarn into pieces; simply
follow the lines, gently pressing the yarn into the glue as you go. Cut only once at the end.
5. Lay tan felt on the work surface.
6. Pipe white glue around and on the top of the plastic lid.
7. Place the plastic lid upside down in the center of the tan felt.
8. Use scissors to trim around the plastic lid, leaving a 1-2” border.
9. Place the felt-covered plastic lid onto the coffee can and secure.
10. Wrap the rubber band around the coffee can, securing the tan felt border to the side of the can. Gently pull the
felt tight so that the top is smooth.
11. Cut two ½-inch wide strips from the magenta felt, enough to go around the coffee can at the bottom as well as
at the top, around the tan felt, covering the rubber band. Glue in place with white craft glue.
12. To make the drumsticks, gently insert the end of a dowel into the foam ball. If you press too hard and the dowel
goes through, just glue it back together.
13. Remove the dowel, and then add some white glue to the hole. Reinsert the dowel.
14. Cover the foam ball with white glue and wrap blue yarn around it until the ball is completely covered. (See
15. Put some glue on the dowel just below the ball and wrap some excess yarn around it. Trim and smooth in place
with your fingers, be sure the end of the yarn isn’t sticking out.
16. Allow everything to dry before playing your new drum!
To take this project to the next level, have a parent poke a hole on each side of the coffee can before you begin.
After pasting on the construction paper, find the holes and poke through, then thread a long piece of cord or
yarn through both sides to create a band to go around your neck. Secure the ends by tying then together inside
the can then complete the project.
The colors chosen for this project are optional; make your drum personal by choosing your own colors.
Be absolutely sure that you allow the project to dry completely (overnight is best) before playing your drum. If
you don’t allow enough time, the drumsticks may fall apart.
Mini Music Makers
Easy to make from empty film canisters and craft sticks.
You need:
Two Empty Film Canisters
 Two Craft Sticks
 Colored Vinyl Tape
 Black Marker or Paint
 Rice, Beans, or Beads
 Scissors
Paint the craft sticks black. Decorate the sticks and the containers using colored vinyl tape. Cut a slit
in the tops to hold the craft sticks securely. Fill containers half full with rice, beans or beads. Replace
the tops. Push in the crafts sticks.