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How to Make a Banjo from a Cookie Tin

Published November 11, 2011        by Nicole

Photo Credit: Garry Toma

Now granted, you may not be able to hit the Grand Ole Opry with your instrument, but it will be fun for grown-ups and kids alike. You’ll need to gather some materials. First, you’ll need a cookie tin of a medium or large size. The teeniest of cookie tins are good as toys, but if you want to try to play it, use a bigger one. Most metal cookie tins that you’ve saved from butter cookies are perfect. You can also find these tins by the truckload at the Goodwill or Salvation Army.

Next, you’ll need some sort of wood for the neck. If you’ve got a workshop full of scrap wood, great. If not, ask around and see if anyone you know has a piece of wood that can be used to make the neck of a banjo. It should be about 25-30 inches long, depending on your tin size.

Photo Credit: Instructables - Visit link for full 16 step process.

Now, if you are a handy person, you will want to drill your tin with a hole big enough to insert the neck piece for the banjo. If not, just use wood glue or a hot glue gun to glue it to the top of the circular tin.

After your neck has adhered to the cookie tin (or been threaded through the tin), you can go ahead and embellish the banjo. Some ideas include adding a fret for the keys to rest on and tuning pegs from a guitar store. If you just want to play with it, string yarn “strings” up and down the neck of the guitar. Your tin’s cover will be the front of the banjo. Depending on how fancy you want to get, you can include fret bars and the aforementioned fret on the actual tin.

You can actually get a sound out of your banjo using a cookie tin. It’s fun and exciting to see it come to life. If you’re handy with wood and tools, your banjo can sound great with just a few pieces from the guitar store. Tell the shop owner that you are making a banjo and he may have the perfect ideas for you and be able to recommend products.

If you’re going to form a living room band with the kids, keep your materials age-friendly. Younger kids will love the thick, soft yarns from the craft store, while older kids might like string that feels more like guitar or banjo strings on theirs. Keep it fun and let the kids decorate their cookie tins. It’s a great rainy day activity that passes the time in a meaningful way. And you can always hang your creations on the wall when you’re resting from a heavy day of playing gigs.

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