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Start Your Own Band Using These Recycled Materials

Start getting that tour bus ready!

Margo Gothelf and Sarah Burns

Making crafts out of recycled material is much easier than you would think. Some boxes, rubber bands, and string can go a long way. One easy way to upcycle those materials is to turn them into musical instruments. Check out the suggestions below to see how you can start your own family band from the comfort of your home. Then start getting that tour bus ready!

Strumming on a Guitar

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Heeral Chhibber / CAMP

A guitar is a must-have when starting a family band. Thankfully, you won’t need to pick between an electric or an acoustic with this handy tutorial. Simply gather an empty snack or shoebox, some rubber bands, duct tape, and a cardboard tube. The rubber bands will act as the guitar strings, making for some strong tunes.

A Little Country Banjo

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Heeral Chhibber / CAMP

Once you’ve got your guitar ready to go, it’s time for another string instrument. A banjo is a perfect companion to a guitar, and to make one, you’ll need some jar lids, big popsicle sticks, and rubber bands. Check out the full tutorial here to get strumming.

Banging Away on Drums

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Heeral Chhibber / CAMP

After your guitarist is lined up, you’re going to need to find a drummer. Drums keep the beat for the band so it’s important to make sure you can hear them loud and clear. There are many different types of drums, but you’re going to want to start with a “traditional” set. This set can be made using different sized cans and balloons in order to vary the sound of the drum.

The percussion section wouldn’t be complete without some cymbals, maracas, and a tambourine. These add-ons to the drum section are simple to make and allow family members to get pretty creative. Use recycled water bottles and dried beans or paperclips to create maracas, and paper plates and strings to make a tambourine. For the cymbals, simply color on two old CDs. While they won’t make the traditional cymbal sound, they will be fun to decorate with markers.

Blow Us Away, Wind Section

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Heeral Chhibber / CAMP

Depending on the type of music your family band is going for, a wind section might come in handy. To make a flute, you’ll want to have a cardboard tube from a paper towel roll. Decorate the tube however you would like with markers, paints, or even some glitter glue. Then poke some holes in the top to create a place for the sound to come out. You can follow the full tutorial here.

Pan Flute Straws

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Heeral Chhibber / CAMP

A pan flute might not be the most recognizable instrument in the family band, but it will certainly be the easiest to make. For a recycled pan flute, you need a handful of straws (paper or plastic will do), some tape, a scissor, and a ruler. Watch this video to get the pan flute up and running.

It’s Showtime!


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Now that you’ve got your instruments up and running, let’s take the band to the next level. First, have the family vote on a name. Make sure it’s one to remember. Next, come up with a few songs to play on tour. Once you’ve got a few numbers ready for that setlist, you’re ready to move on to the band's outfits. Let everyone come up with their look or have everyone coordinate outfits. After a few more rehearsals, it’s showtime! Invite some friends over or make a music video to send out to family. This will be one performance to remember.