How to Make Your Own Instruments From Recycled Materials

by Tamara Habchi, May 28, 2020 . 4 min read

How to Make Your Own Instruments From Recycled Materials

Although many parents have found the iPad to be a good substitute for parenting, there are those who believe that DIY crafts make more balanced human beings in the long run.

It’s also a great preventative measure for the dreaded Gear Acquisition Syndrome. And that’s why we’re going to outline how to make your own instruments from recycled materials so your little ones can join the next jam session. 


You need some beats, baby. Fortunately, it’s not rocket science to make a drum out of waste materials, so let’s have a look at how to get that kick and snare going. 

What You’ll Need

How to Make It

  1. Split the cork cap into halves using the knife
  2. Pierce a hole in each half and stick in the skewers
  3. Glue the holes so the skewers are held in place
  4. Cut the paper with the scissors and glue it onto the sides of the can
  5. Cut the tube off the balloon and stretch it over the bottom of the can 


We’ve got a beat going but it needs a bit of percussion, so let’s start with some shakers. These are easy to make as long as you have a container and some small bits and pieces.

What You’ll Need

How to Make It

  1. Wash the bottle so the label comes off
  2. Fill the bottle with the plastic bits
  3. Screw the bottle cap back on tight
  4. Cut out an appropriate amount of paper
  5. Glue the paper on to the sides of the bottle


We need something to make the transitions in the song pop. When the chorus hits, people need to know. And for that purpose, we have to make some crashing cymbals. 

What You’ll Need

How to Make It

  1. Create two handles out of the duct tape.
  2. Tape each handle to the appropriate metal plate.


To wrap up our rhythm section we need something a little higher pitched than the other percussion instruments. Good thing we know how to make a tambourine as well. 

What You’ll Need

How to Make It

  1. Put the plates together
  2. Use the pencil to mark where you intend to make the holes
  3. Punch those holes with the hole puncher
  4. Cut a piece of yarn for each of the holes you’ve made 
  5. Tie a jingle bell to each hole using the yarn
  6. Fill the tambourine with pebbles before you tie the last knot


Ahh, yes. The instrument we’ve all been waiting for. Let’s see if we can make a Les Paul using some paper, plastic, and a healthy dose of creativity.


What You’ll Need

How to Make It

  1. Cut a soundhole in the lid from one of the boxes
  2. Make six small holes for the strings under the soundhole
  3. Cut two pieces of cardboard off the other box and make six similar holes in each
  4. Feed the elastic bands (strings) through the holes 
  5. Glue both pieces to the lid from the first box
  6. Use duct tape to unite the box and the box lid
  7. Add the cardboard tube to the top of the box for a neck

Ready to Jam Out?

And that, kids, is how to make your own instruments from recycled materials. Greta Thunberg would be proud. Know of any instruments we didn’t cover here? Drop a comment below!

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