Things to Make - Cardboard Tube Instruments (From the Recycling Bin)

(The photos above exemplify why we chose to buy our kitchen table at Ikea.)

Last week a friend came over with her daughters and I thought the kids would have fun making cardboard tube instruments (yes, I'm in love with the recycling bin lately). My hope was that they would all choose different instruments and we could have a band, but that didn't quite work out as all the kids wanted shakers (why no bass bogs or kazoos?). Unfortunately for the kids the shaker had the least chance of long-term success (i.e. it fell apart). Oh well, the shakers' early demise was probably a good thing as parents only want to hear instruments for a set amount of time. Plus, they lasted long enough for us all to parade around the block and, as a parent, that's about how long I wanted them to last.

Here's the scoop:

For the shakers you'll need: cardboard tubes (large or small), paints or markers, beans or popcorn, tinfoil, and rubber bands.

1. First decorate the tube (paint it, color it, glue things to it, etc.) - this is really the highlight of the project.

2. Let tubes dry.

3. Cover one end of the tube with aluminum foil (we rubber banded it on).

4. Pour popcorn seeds into tube (or beans or anything else noisy).

5. Cover other end of tube with aluminum foil.

6. SHAKE!!!

In retrospect, we probably could have used more sturdy tubes (maybe a pringles can? but then I'd have to buy pringles. any other ideas?) or enclosed the popcorn with something more sturdy than aluminum foil and rubber bands, I've seen other people use thick masking tape and construction paper, which seems to work well.

(For other instruments: Bass Bog - make cuts in each end of the tube and insert a rubber band, pluck; Kazoo - cover one end with wax paper either using glue or a rubber band, blow). All ideas came from this book - Look What You Can Make With Dozens of Household Items!: Over 500 Pictured Crafts and Dozens of More Ideas!).


*We built doll slides and castles. Click here to see.

*These pillow boxes are so pretty.

*Use them for seed planting - what a great spring project.

*Adorable mini-princess crowns from Lilla a.

*I love these marionette puppets and these mini-lanterns.

*Heart-shaped stamps seem easy enough.

*Or why not just paint and cut them and make a sculpture or collage?

*And for the truly motivated - add some boxes and craft a Tangled tower, this is seriously beautiful.

What about everyone else? Any great ideas for crafting with cardboard tubes?


The random cat in the window made F's day. She said, "I really hoped that after people heard our traveling band they'd come outside and listen. I'm so glad that cat likes our music."


  1. Thanks for suggesting my tube projects! Looks like your kids had great fun painting and playing with their instruments!

  2. Great idea and a lot of fun! Our table looks like that too from time to time!



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