March to the Beat of Your Own Xylophone

April 13, 2020  |  by Bonifas Arts Center

Create your own musical instrument called the xylophone. A xylophone is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by mallets. 

Download Instructions »


 Paper towel rolls (4 to 5) 
 Hole punch 
 Ruler 
 Pencil 
 Scissors 
 Pipe Cleaners, twine, or string of some kind 
 Stickers, Sequins, or anything to decorate your xylophone how you would like (if you use sequins or anything that sticks up, only do one side so you can play the other side with a pencil or pen) 
 Elmer’s glue if you use sequins 


1. Collect your paper towel rolls (4 to 5) 

2. The average paper towel roll is 11 inches long - keep one this length, measure (mark with the pencil) and cut one to 9 inches, measure and cut another to 7 inch-es, measure and cut another to 5 inches, and from one of the last two cut, measure and cut the last to 3 inches (you will have 5 paper towel rolls in total now) 

3. On each paper towel roll, hole punch a hole in the top and bottom on each side directly above/below each oth-er 

4. Connect the paper towel rolls using the pipe cleaners, twine, or any other type of string by simply twist-ing or tying together 

5. Once the rolls are connected, you can make your handle for your xylophone from pipe cleaners (you will need 2 twisted together to reach across the longest paper towel roll), otherwise, you can use twine or any other string 

6. Now, you can decorate one side of your xylophone using the stickers, sequins and Elmer’s glue, or even anything else you would like to use to decorate (if you’d like you can color them with markers, but be sure to leave time for them to dry and I’d suggest coloring them after cutting them to size) 

7. It’s time to play your xylophone! Just hold it by the handle you made and play on the non-decorated side with either a pen or a pencil! Notice the different pitches that the xylophone has based on how long or short the paper towel roll is! Have fun marching to your beats! 

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