How to Make Paper Instruments


Small toy drum
Small toy drum

Handmade paper instruments for kids can break through the boredom on a rainy day or give kids a reason to march around the block in the sun. Who says listening to music has to be a sit-around activity? It definitely isn't with paper instruments that adults and children can make together.

Everybody can participate in designing and creating paper instruments that are fast and easy kid crafts to make. Grab the boxes, pull out the paints and glitter, and let the band begin!

Follow the links below to learn how to make your own paper instruments:

Banjo Box

Transform a shoe box and paint stick into a banjo box ready for small hands to play.

Small Toy Drum

Turn an empty ice cream container into a colorful small toy drum.

Musical Bell Shaker

Add a shimmer and a jingle to your band with a musical bell shaker.

Keep reading to learn how you can keep kids strumming along by creating a homemade banjo box.

For more paper crafts and fun activities, check out:

Banjo Box

Strum along on a banjo box.
Strum along on a banjo box.

Plink, plank, plunk on a banjo box! Transform an everyday box and some rubber bands into a musical instrument that's sure to provide hours of entertainment.

What You'll Need:

  • Box, approximately 4 x 6 x 1 inches, with lid
  • Acrylic paint: Brown, yellow, red, blue
  • Yellow card stock
  • 5 rubber bands of varying thicknesses and colors
  • Wooden paint stick
  • 3 toothpicks
  • 6 wooden beads, 9.5mm
  • Yellow dimensional paint

Tools:

  • Pencil
  • Craft knife
  • Paintbrush
  • Black felt-tip marker
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue

Note that this craft requires adult help.

Step 1. Download the banjo pattern as a PDF and download the banjo opening pattern as a PDF. Enlarge the banjo opening pattern to fit on your box with at least a 1-inch margin on all sides, and trace the pattern on a folded piece of paper. Center the opened pattern on the inside of the box lid. Trace around the pattern, and ask a grown-up to cut out the oval using a craft knife. Paint the lid brown if desired; let dry.

Step 2. Enlarge the banjo base pattern to fit the narrower end of your box. Trace the pattern onto yellow card stock. Outline the shape with black marker; use scissors to cut out. Fold the glue flap back on the dotted line, and glue this flap to one end of the box lid.

Step 3. Stretch five rubber bands lengthwise across the box, centering them so they will be visible through the oval opening on the box lid. Place the lid on the box, and glue it in place.

Step 4. Paint the paint stick yellow, and let it dry. Glue it to the back of the box with one end sticking up to use as the banjo handle.

Glue the handle. Glue the handle.
Glue the handle.

Step 5. Paint the toothpicks red and the beads blue. Let dry, and then slide two beads onto each toothpick. Snip off the sharp ends of the toothpicks. Glue each set to the top of the handle.

Step 6. On the front of the box, outline the oval with small dots of dimensional paint. Once that dries, the banjo is ready to play.

Now that you have a banjo, how about adding some rhythm to the band? Check on the next page to learn how quickly and easily you can make a small drum.

For more paper crafts and fun activities, check out:

Small Toy Drum

Small toy drum
Small toy drum

Use this small toy drum to add rhythm to your band. It's quick and easy to make.

What You'll Need:

  • Round ice cream container and lid, rinsed and dried
  • Acrylic paint: Blue, light yellow, silver
  • 10 brads
  • Red yarn

Tools:

  • Paintbrush
  • Sharp pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Craft glue

Step 1: Paint the container blue, the top of the lid yellow, and the rim of the lid silver. Dip the head of each brad in silver paint, and let it dry.

Step 2: When the paint is completely dry, use a sharp pencil to poke holes along the top and bottom of the container, about 3 1/2 inches apart. Stagger the placement of the top and bottom holes. Insert a brad into each hole, and secure.

Step 3: Wrap a piece of red yarn around one of the top brads, and then carry it down to the next bottom brad. Wrap it around this brad, and carry it up to the next top brad. Repeat around the drum. Tie off the yarn and trim when all the brads have been circled.

Step 4: Glue the lid onto the top of the drum.

If you'd like to carry this drum in a marching band, glue about a yard of 2-inch-wide ribbon across the top, and hang the drum around your neck. For drumsticks, use unsharpened pencils, wooden spoons, or wooden dowels.

Keep reading to learn how you can add the jingle of bells to your band of paper instruments.

For more paper crafts and fun activities, check out:

Musical Bell Shaker

Shake, rattle, and roll! Colorful ribbons keep the bells in place and make this musical bell shaker look extra festive.

What You'll Need:

  • Toilet paper tube
  • Acrylic paint
  • Sparkling stickers
  • 16 jingle bells
  • 16 pieces of 1/8-inch-wide ribbon, each 6 inches long

Tools:

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • 1/8-inch paper punch
  • Paintbrush

Step 1: With a tape measure and pencil, mark positions for eight holes approximately 1/2 inch apart along both edges of the tube. Punch a hole at every pencil mark. Punch another row of holes 1/2 inch above the first row, spacing them between the first holes.

Step 2: Paint the tube the color of your choice; let dry. Apply stickers around the tube. Tie bells to the bottom row of holes using 6-inch lengths of ribbon. Double-knot each ribbon.

For more paper crafts and fun activities, check out: