Musical Instruments Made Out of Household Recyclable Items

by Henry Francis
A simple glass of water can provide a pleasant, melodic sound.

A simple glass of water can provide a pleasant, melodic sound.

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Turning household items into musical instruments will appeal to your creative side. Not only do you get the pleasure of renewing household items and putting them to good use rather than throwing them away, you also get to have fun with your homemade instrument. Basic instruments from the different musical classifications, such as stringed or brass, can easily be made using everyday items.


Given their simplicity, percussion instruments are arguably the easiest to construct using household items. One example is a paper plate tambourine. Cut out the flat center of a paper plate, leaving just the raised edge. Gather a few small jingle bells to use in your tambourine and, using a hole punch, press one hole for each bell along the edge of the remainder of the paper plate. Use short lengths of string to tie the bells to the holes and shake your homemade tambourine.


Homemade recycled stringed instruments are relatively straightforward to build. Make a guitar or ukulele using a shoe box, the cardboard tube from the center of a paper towel roll, some rubber bands and tape. Stretch one rubber band for every string you want --- usually six for a guitar --- around the length of a shoe box. Secure them in position with tape. Attach the tube from the center of a reel of paper towel to one end of the shoe box, which acts as your guitar or ukulele's fretboard. Decorate your instrument using crayons, felt-tip pens and stickers before playing your homemade recyclable guitar.


You can build your own kazoo, a woodwind-style instrument, using the cardboard tube from a paper towel roll, wax paper and rubber bands. Simply secure a small piece of wax paper over one of the ends of the cardboard tube using rubber bands so that it is completely covered and decorate the length of the cardboard with paints, stickers and pens. To play your kazoo, rest your lips against the wax paper and hum into the tube --- note, this might take practice before you get it right.


The xylophone is a brass-style instrument that you can re-create using recycled goods from home. All you need is as many glasses or bottles of tap water as you wish to have notes. For example, if you want to build a xylophone with major notes from A to G, line up seven glasses and/or bottles.Take a wooden or metal piece of cutlery and tap the sides of your glasses or bottles to play the different notes while using a musical instrument tuner at the same time. Add or remove water until you have pitch-perfect note in each glass or bottle.


About the Author

I have been involved in coaching and administration of youth soccer with the Herts FA for several years. I have many years experience with the technical side and equipment of soccer, cricket, rugby, snooker and poker. I studied the health and fitness and dietary side of competitive sport while at University. Currently, I am not ready for on-camera opportunities, but this could change with access to training and equipment.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images