How to Make a Pan Flute Out of Toilet Paper Rolls

by Jennifer Dermody
The pan flute is a simple wind instrument.

The pan flute is a simple wind instrument.

Jupiterimages/ Images

Explore the contents of your household recycling bin to find supplies for making creative play instruments. You can build a set of drums by lining up different sized plastic tubs, and hitting them with a wooden spoon. Or assemble a shaker instrument by filling a container with bottle tops and placing a lid on top. You can even create a pan flute, which is a wind instrument that has existed since ancient times. Its simple construction entails joining together a series of hollow tubes. Make a play pan flute out of empty toilet paper rolls.

Items you will need

  • Four empty toilet paper rolls
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Four rubber bands
  • Plastic wrap
  • Packaging tape
  • Marker
Step 1

Set one empty toilet paper roll aside.

Step 2

Cut 1/2-inch off of one of the three remaining empty toilet paper rolls. Cut 1-inch off of the second roll and 1 1/2-inches off of the third roll.

Step 3

Gather all four toilet paper rolls. Cover the end of each roll with a piece of plastic wrap and secure it with a rubber band around the end of the roll.

Step 4

Stand each roll vertically on end covered in plastic wrap. Arrange the rolls in progression from shortest to longest.

Step 5

Wrap packaging tape around center of the whole line of tubes to join them together. Wrap tape around the tubes twice.

Step 6

Write the letter D on top of the longest tube just above the tape. Write C, B, and A on each of the other tubes, in order. The letters represent the notes on a real pan flute.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hold the pan flute correctly. Position the tubes so that air blows across them instead of directly into them.
  • The sound coming from the longest toilet paper roll is different from the sound coming from the shortest one.
  • A toilet paper roll pan flute will not produce the same sound as a real pan flute made out of wood or rigid plastic.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images