How to Make Your Own Xylophone Out of Metal Pieces

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Make a simple, hand-held xylophone from metal pipes.
Make a simple, hand-held xylophone from metal pipes. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

An ideal way to incorporate math, science, music and arts and crafts into children's activities is to make a xylophone. Whether you are a parent having fun with your child or a teacher leading a lesson plan, this activity is ideal for children of all ages. With a few simple hardware supplies and household tools, you can make your own xylophone out of metal pipe pieces in less than one afternoon.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Permanent marker
  • 8 feet of metal electrical conduit tubing
  • 4 feet of 1/2-inch PVC pipe
  • 4 PVC elbows
  • Polystyrene foam pool noodle tube
  • 4 rubber bands
  • Hacksaw
  • Scissors
  • Utility knife
  • File
  • Silicon carbide sandpaper

Measure and mark two 11 3/8 inch sections and two 12 3/8 inch sections on a 4 foot PVC tube. On the metal electrical conduit pipe, measure and mark eight sections using the following measurements: 181.5 mm, 186.5 mm, 199 mm, 210.5 mm, 223 mm, 230.5 mm, 245 mm and 258 mm. Measure four 2-inch sections of polystyrene foam tubing.

Cut out the polystyrene foam tube sections with a pair of scissors. Use a hacksaw to cut the PVC pipe, and metal electrical conduit pipe sections. Measure all components again to ensure proper sizing. Smooth out the edges of the metal electrical conduit pipe sections with file or a small piece of silicon carbide sandpaper.

Take one of the smaller PVC pipe sections and slide two of your polystyrene foam pieces over each end. If you used a hollow child's pool toy, slide the pipe right through the center hole. If not, use a utility knife to make a small slit in the polystyrene foam to push the pipe through. Arrange the polystyrene foam pieces about 1 1/2 inches from the edges of the pipe. Repeat this step on the other small PVC pipe.

Place an elbow over the ends of both longer PVC pipes. Lay them side-by-side on a flat surface. Wrap two rubber bands -- together -- around one end of one of both PVC pipes, and two more at the other end. Slide the shorter PVC pipes into the elbows stretching the rubber bands and enclosing the xylophone frame. Arrange each set of rubber bands just on the inside of the elbows at the top and bottom of the frame.

Align the metal electrical conduit pipes in order of height. At the top-left of the frame, cross the rubber bands to make web-like opening and slide one end of the longest, pipe through. Proceed to do the same with each of the remaining metal pipe sections. Along the bottom, cross the other set of rubber bands and insert the bottom of the longest pipe. Continue this step until all pipes are secured at each end.

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