Painted Stick Instrument Tutorial

Today I’m sharing a beautiful DIY instrument that you can make with children of all ages, even toddlers, using natural materials and just a few craft supplies. This instrument is based on an Egyptian sistrum, which is a hand-held percussion instrument that was often played for pharaohs and nobility in ancient times. So cool, right? This idea is from the amazing collection of DIY musical instruments and musical crafts available at Daria Music – you may remember our giant didgeridoo inspired by Daria’s tutorial a few weeks ago. Daria did send me two of her beautiful children’s music CDs as compensation for posting about her tutorials, but all opinions are my own, and I can tell you right now that we will be returning to this musical craft collection time and again for inspiration…there are some really great ideas there for adults and children of all ages and abilities!

Following Daria’s Egyptian Sistrum tutorial, here is how we created our musical pieces of art:

Painted Stick Instrument tutorial

Step One: Painting

On one of our recent trips to the creek, we gathered a couple of large, forked sticks that would be perfect for this project.   During one of our arty afternoons, I gave the twins the sticks and a rainbow of acrylic paints to choose from and let them have at it.  We ended up with a couple of rainbow sticks that would have been masterpieces themselves…but we weren’t finished yet!

Painted Stick Instrument tutorial

Step Two: Adding the Shaker

This is a step that Sydney and I completed together a few days later when she woke up early from her nap.  I cut a piece of thin craft wire for each stick and had her choose a few large buttons from my button jar to thread onto each wire, as well as a couple of brightly colored jingle bells. After we threaded them on the wire together, I stretched the wire across the forked end of each stick (see photo below) and wrapped the ends tightly, ensuring that no spiky ends remained.

Painted Stick Instrument tutorial

Step Three: Adding a Handle

For the final step, I took some different colors of yarn from my stash and wrapped it tightly around the end of each stick, forming a multicolored handle.


Painted Stick Instrument tutorial

And there you have it- your very own Eygptian sistrum made from a simple stick!

Painted Stick Instrument Tutorial

 I tried to get a good photo of Syd shaking her new instrument, but this was the best I could manage…

Painted Stick Instrument tutorial

Hey, that means she’s having fun, right?

Daria’s instrument tutorials would be fantastic for teachers, homeschoolers, or just parents wanting fun projects to do with their kiddos at home.  You can find the complete instrument tutorial/craft list HERE – we are planning on making several more of these as we continue to explore instruments and music at home.

Interested in learning more about Daria Music? You can check out her website, catch her on Facebook or Twitter, or view her videos on YouTube!

For more music fun, don’t miss our Giant DIY Didgeridoo, or read up on how to Build Language with Music for children who are in the emerging stage of communication.


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  1. I am seriously obsessed with these gorgeous instruments! LOVE them!!!!

  2. Great project for any age!

  3. Gorgeous project! How fun for the kids to make music with instruments that they helped make?!

  4. Its actually a very good picture of her shaking the instrument…the blurriness shows movement

  5. Thanks so much for sharing your DIY instrument. What a great way to recycle materials and make a beautiful looking instrument as well :-)


  6. Love the colors and I know my kids would love making music.
    I would love it if you would come link up at Artsy Play Wednesday.

  7. My two will adore these. We’ve been doing a little bit of yarn bombing lately too :) These will be a really cool extension of our beaded branch. Love them :)

  8. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Love this and will feature it in the next Share It Saturday. Thank you.

  9. What a great idea ! I have 4 boys, who have accumulated quite the stick collection. We’ve done stick painting before, but have never taken it to the next level, as you’ve done here. Definitely saving this one for a ‘rainy day project’ in the near future. Thanks.

  10. Remarkable issues here. I’m very satisfied to look your article.
    Thank you a lot and I’m looking ahead to touch you.
    Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?


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