Article Type Making Art Together Making Art Together Categories At Home Art Studio Collage Sculpture

Homemade Noisemakers

Ryan Murray
Whenever we switch projects in the Art Studio, we think about which toys to put in the toddler area that complement the theme well. For our most recent project, Portraits of Inspiration, I thought about framed portraits and which toys gave off the idea of frames. I decided on these wooden acrylic display blocks which are perfect for not only placing over things to “frame” them, but also for inserting objects such as seashells into them. 
A collection of acrylic display blocks with various objects inside.
When inserting some of the objects, I found that the blocks made noise when you shook them, particularly one that had jingle bells inside. This had me thinking of musical instruments, specifically shakers. On a whim, I wondered: Can I make a noisemaker inspired by these blocks? I was thinking specifically about rainmakers, which would tie into the next project, inspired by Eric Carle: Raining Cats and Dogs, quite well.  
A paper towel roll, wooden stirrers, masking tape, a bag of barley, and a piece of cardboard.
I gathered some paper towel tubes as well as some miscellaneous objects from our storage area that I thought could make interesting sounds. I cut out a couple of round pieces of cardboard to attach to each end of the tube. I then poured barley into the tube, although dry beans would work as well. I poked holes along the sides of the tube and inserted pieces of wood stirrers into the holes, taping the ends so they wouldn’t poke out. As the barley falls from one end of the tube to the other, it would hit the wooden sticks, making a rain-like sound. 
A paper towel roll covered in masking tape with a small round cardboard cutout.
To cover up all the tape and holes, I tissue papered the outsides using Elmer’s Art Paste and bleeding tissue paper. This also ties into the theme of the newest project in which guests experiment with tissue paper. 
Two paper towel roll noisemakers.
While this may be too many steps for an Everyday Art Project, it would certainly make for a great workshop one day! 


Picture of Ryan Murray

Ryan Murray

Ryan was an Art Studio Coordinator and Guest Services staff member at The Eric Carle Museum from 2016 to 2023, and is a local artist.
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