Directions to Make a Koto


A koto is a musical instrument from Japan that can be made out regular household supplies, such as shoes boxes, rubber bands and colored markers. In ancient Japan, the koto was wooden and shaped like a dragon lying on the ground. The instrument is played with a dragon claw, which connects to your middle finger, thumb and index finger. This musical instrument is easy to make if you have the right supplies.

Things You'll Need

  • Shoe box
  • Construction paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Hole Puncher
  • Rubber bands
  • Cardboard
  • Glue or tape
  • Cover your box and lid with paper. If you use plain paper, design and/or color the paper before covering it. You can make it authentic looking by drawing a dragon on it. Use a pair of scissors to cut an oval in the lid of the box. The box should now resemble a tissue box.

  • Punch four to six holes on each side of the oval. Each side should have the same amount of holes.

  • Cut rubber bands. Wrap them lengthwise around the lid and tie them into the holes. The box will now look like a guitar with the rubber bands acting as the guitar strings.

  • Draw and cut a dragon claw. Use your hand as a stencil to draw a claw on your cardboard. Add sharp claws at the end of the index and middle fingers and the thumb. The claw should be three inches long.

  • Cut strips of paper. Wrap the strips around your three fingers and glue each one to create a paper ring.

  • Glue and/or tape the claw to the paper rings. Once the claw is secure on the rings, play your koto.

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  • Photo Credit musical instruments image by agno_agnus from
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