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Make a Tambourine | Homemade Musical Instruments

Make a Tambourine

Add some jingle-jangle to your next sing-along with an inexpensive, homemade tambourine. (Hesitant parents take note: this instrument is quieter than the store-bought variety.)


  • 10 metal bottle caps*
  • piece of scrap wood
  • large nail
  • hammer
  • 10- or 20-gauge craft wire
  • neddle-nose pliers (optional)
  • 7-inch wooden embroidery hoop
  • corrugated cardboard
  • colored plastic or electrical tape


Make a Tambourine step 1

1. Punch a hole in each bottle cap by placing them, one at a time, top down on the piece of scrap wood, setting the tip of a nail in the center of the cap, then tapping the nail with a hammer. Use caution, as the edges of the holes will be sharp.

Make a Tambourine step 2

2. Cut five 3-inch lengths of the wire. Using your fingers (or pliers, if necessary), bend a half-inch hook at one end, as shown. Thread two bottle caps onto each wire, top to top for the best sound.

Make a Tambourine step 3

3. Separate the two parts of the embroidery hoop and screw the outer hoop tightly closed. Cut five 1-inch squares of cardboard for spacers. Cut a length of tape about 5 inches long and lay it sticky-side up. Place a spacer in the center of the tape, aligning the edges, and tape it in place, as shown. Reinforce the spacer with more tape. Repeat with the other four spacers, taping them evenly around the hoop.

Make a Tambourine step 4

4. Between each of the spacers, hook the bent end of one wire over one hoop, then bend the other end over the second hoop.

Make a Tambourine step 5

5. Use short lengths of tape to cover and secure the wire ends to the hoops. Now, tambourine man, play a song for me!


* If you don't have access to a supply of used bottle caps, you can purchase brand-new caps at a store that sells beer-brewing supplies.