DIY Instruments ideas and lesson plan examples for teachers on a budget



It’s time to throw away your rubber-band tissue boxes! Children love music as much as they enjoy making things! Having your students help to build their own instruments is a great way to join these two creative forces and make easy musical instruments to encourage play and creativity!


Check out these great ideas from NAfME members below on how to DIY musical instruments.



  • Make tiny finger bells with a washer and some dowels. How-to
  • Theremins are awesome, so why not make your own – and for less than $20! Full guide here.
  • Make your own Mbira: aka a really awesome thumb piano. Find out how
  • Make a mini guitar out of a cigar box. Bonus: this one’s electric. Instructions
  • If you’re comfortable using power tools (drills and sanders) you can DIY some seriously cool-looking ukuleles. Learn how
  • Have old floppy disks lying around? Make this cool-sounding percussive instrument, similar to the Japanese kokiriko! (Because what else are you going to do with floppy disks, anyways?) Learn how
  • It might take some time, but here’s how to make a super affordable, bite-sized banjo. Here’s how.
  • Fully tunable and quiet enough to not annoy your neighbors, here’s instructions on how to make a homemade percussion pad. 
  • Check out this step-by-step on how-to make surprisingly effective PVC flutes. You can cut different lengths to make pipes for many different notes, and they’re each capable of hitting two octaves or so.
  • Looking for something simpler? How about these homemade shakers and maracas! Instructions.
  • You can always try out this Powerpoint with step-by-step instructions on how to make PVC Pan Pipes!


pvs flute



Do you have any other ideas?

Share them with us in the comment section below OR pin them on our NAfME Pinterest page under ‘Classroom Ideas!’



12 Sweet DIY Instruments For Cash-Strapped Musicians by Buzzfeed

Homemade Musical Instruments: Shakers and Maracas by Let’s Play Music

How to Make PVC Pan Pipes Powerpoint Presentation by Linda Barnhart


 Kristen Rencher. February 13, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (