Monday, February 18, 2013

DIY Craft Stick Piano

My two boys and I had SO much fun with our DIY piano. It came together in 5 minutes and kept them occupied while my husband and I prepped lunch last weekend (unfortunately, they still wanted to pluck a tune when it was time to eat). If it's more fun than eating, it's a success though, right?!?

This amazing idea came from a clever book I picked up during my last trip to our public library. Sound Projects with a Music Lab You Can Build by Robert Gardner is packed with one idea after the next to encourage kids to understand the science of noise and make their own DIY experiments and instruments.

Some require construction experience but the piano we made was simple enough for my oldest son and I to undertake (my husband raided the garage to find some of the supplies we needed).

What You Need
8 jumbo craft sticks
1 wooden board
2 C-clamps
8 dot stickers labeled do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do (optional)

First, my oldest son added the dot stickers to the sticks and lined them up in order.

To assemble, he lined up the craft sticks so each would stick off the edge of our table. The first stick (on the far left) stuck out the farthest, with each stick protruding off the table less and less. We placed the board on top of the sticks, lining it up with the edge of the table.

Next we added our C-clamps, tightening them so the sticks were tightly sandwiched between the top of the table and the wooden board. NOTE: Your sticks should be close together but not touching and the clamps should be placed immediately before and after. The farther away they are, the looser some of your middle sticks will be.

Now, they plucked the keys, and we made subtle adjustments to the distance the sticks protruded from the table to tune. Then my oldest played a song! 

Can you guess what this one is?

mi re do re mi mi mi___ re re re___ mi so so___
mi re do re mi mi mi mi re re mi re do_________

That's right! It's Mary Had a Little Lamb!!

Oh boy, was this fun for my two boys ... and their dad too; he was caught jamming out on our DIY piano as well!


  1. Does it actually play piano-like sounds? I have a science project to make an instrument and I'd love to make it :)

    1. The sticks do play different notes but it isn't nearly as melodic as a piano. Good luck!