2 easy ways to make homemade musical instruments for kids

A boy and a girl dancing and playing handmade musical instruments

If there are two things that kids love doing, it's making noise while leaving a trail of mess in their wake. And what better way to channel these facts of life than by making homemade musical instruments? While scraps of paper and card cascade into the air, turning your living room into a temporary, real-life snow globe, just keep your eyes on the prize: you might be about to discover this generation’s musical prodigy! Digging out scraps of paper from behind the sofa is a small, small price to pay.

In this article, we’re sharing our step-by-step guide to show you and your kids just how musical certain everyday items can be. We say certain because although that vase on the fireplace makes a catchy ringing sound when accidentally bumped into, it's best not to encourage a bongo session on it. That is, unless you fancy banishing all members of your household before army-crawling all over the living room floor, plucking up shards of porcelain!

With these homemade musical instruments, kids can channel their acoustic energy into the right types of materials!

The importance of using what we have

The best part? There are probably things dotted around your house at this very moment that could be used to craft these homemade instruments. You can reduce waste  and no need to splash the cash on new materials.

For example, if you have some empty tissue boxes and Plenty kitchen roll  tubes lying around, you’ve got the perfect building blocks to make homemade musical instruments that will keep the kids entertained for hours.

Just keep in mind that some sharp objects and hot glue are involved when learning how to make musical instruments with recycled materials. It’s always best if a responsible adult does the cutting and hot glueing. Leave the decorating and creativity to the kids!

So, join us and learn how to repurpose waste, use less, and make a racket in the meantime. The resultant tunes might be questionable, and the living room floor a mosaic of carboard clippings, rubber bands and kitchen roll tubes, but that’s no match for the giant smiles on the little musicians’ faces.


Painting and decorating are fantastic fun for children, but we must use paint that’s non-toxic. Be sure to check for ‘non-toxic’ labelling on your paint before embarking on your adventure.

How to make homemade instruments: tissue box guitar

Calling all young rockstars! It's time to rock and roll because we're learning how to make musical instruments from waste material with a tissue box and cardboard tube guitar! You can have loads of fun making your instruments all on your own with some wrapping paper and your favourite colour paint. Let’s get started!

Takes 1.5 hours

What you’ll need to make your homemade instruments: 

  • Empty tissue box or similar-sized box
  • Plenty kitchen roll tube
  • Plenty kitchen roll 
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Wrapping paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Craft knife
  • Hot glue gun
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Large rubber bands
  • String
  • Sticky tape

Musical instruments kids can make: a 5-step guide

  1. An empty tissue box with paint and a paintbrush to make a homemade instrument. First, paint your empty tissue box and kitchen roll tube your favourite colour and leave them both to dry. You might want to add a second coat of paint – just make sure it’s all dry before you continue. Choose a non-toxic paint, but also one that has a better chance of sticking to the box, like non-toxic acrylic paints.
  2. Painted and dry tissue box with a pair of scissors and a rectangular piece of wrapping paper for the lining. Once the tissue box and cardboard tube are both dry, go ahead and line the inside of the tissue box with a rectangular piece of wrapping or decorative paper – or paint it, if you like.
  3. The decorated tissue box, a paper roll, a hot glue gun, and a craft knife. Next, stand the tissue box on one end and hold the kitchen roll tube on top. Trace around it, and then have an adult cut out a hole with a craft knife. Pop the kitchen roll tube in the hole and have the designated adult glue it on with a hot glue gun.
  4. The paper tube, lollipop sticks, small balls of tissue, and a craft knife. Carefully cut some slits at the end of the kitchen roll tube, and slot the lollipop sticks through them. Scrunch some small balls of Plenty kitchen roll, and glue these to the ends of the lollipop sticks to make the tuning pegs.
  5. The homemade guitar is finished with large rubber bands and a strap. Finally, stretch some large rubber bands around the tissue box section on either side of the kitchen roll tube so your homemade instruments can make some noise. If you think your guitar needs a strap, you can glue a piece of string to either end of your guitar.

There you have it: how to make a musical instrument in five simple steps. You can actually make lots of different homemade musical instruments with this method. If you use six rubber bands, for example, you have a regular guitar. And if you opt for four, you’ve got yourself a bass! You can almost hear the deep, rhythmic twang, as your friends and family duck for cover from a stray band pinging off into the ether.

While your designated treasure hunter sets off on an adventure to find the spare band, why not try a few different instruments and see which sound you like jamming out to the best?


If your laminate floor resembles a Jackson Pollock, consider keeping some Plenty Flexisheets – Product of the Year 2024 winner* – to hand. They’re tubeless, and while this isn’t much help for crafting instruments, they’re incredibly useful to clean up the aftermath. And with more perforations on the roll, you choose what you use!

How to make a kitchen roll shaker

When it comes to musical instruments kids can make, the classic shaker is a must. After all, no band is complete without a rhythm section. Next up in our ‘How to make musical instruments with recycled materials’ tutorial is—drum roll please—a simple kitchen roll shaker! Just be sure to follow these steps closely and keep the shaker contained, because if you thought shaking it was a work out, you should try picking up thousands of grains of rice out of the carpet. But hey, the carpet needed a clean anyways, and the kids have gained a core memory they’re unlikely to forgot for a long time.

You can make this instrument out of an empty Plenty kitchen roll  tube, some duct tape, dried rice or beans. Get creative with pens and markers to decorate and personalise your homemade musical instruments. Let’s get started!


Just as you're cutting down on waste by repurposing it for this craft, we're taking steps on our own sustainability journey. Our kitchen roll  is as strong as ever, and we're committed to a goal of 100% recyclable packaging by 2030. It’s no compromise on quality, but less waste.

Takes 1 hour

What you’ll need for your homemade instrument:

  • Plenty kitchen roll tubes
  • Toilet roll tubes
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Coloured duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Dried rice or beans
  • Wrapping paper
  • Glue
  • Coloured pens or pencils

How to make the musical instrument:

  1. Two cardboard tubes painted and left to dry. First, paint the outside of the cardboard tube with your colour of choice and leave it to dry. Just like with the first method, you might want to throw on a second coat of paint to give it more colour. Just make sure it dries before you continue to the next step.
  2. A bowl of dried rice to fill the paper tubes with Next, cut some strips of duct tape and stick them across the end of your tube. Fill the tube with some dried rice or beans, while making sure there’s enough space for them to move around inside the tube. Stick more duct tape over the other end to close your tube.
  3. Different-sized tubes, decorated and filled with rice or beans to make a homemade musical shaker. Finally, cut some strips of wrapping or decorative paper and use glue to stick them around the painted tube. Now you can get your coloured pens and pencils out and start decorating! When you’re happy with your creation, the only thing that’s left to do is to start playing!


Tip: Getting more for less is a great feeling. So is putting a smile on your loved one’s face. For more great ideas on how to do both of these things, check out some of our other ingenious kitchen roll crafts, like these impressive-yet-easy paper crafts, or these recycled cardboard animals.

That’s it: you’ve just learned how to make musical instruments. You also know how to create a long-lasting memory with your budding musician, while reducing waste – what's not to love? Now it's time to have a blast bringing your homemade instruments to life. Who knows, one day, we might see you and your kitchen roll shaker in the charts!

*Winner General Household Category. Survey of 8,000 people in UK & ROI

Did you find this article helpful?Thanks for your feedback!