Bottle Cap Tambourines

Bottle Cap TamborineThis simple and easy to make instrument is a lot of fun! You just need to gather about 20 to 30 bottle caps, a wire hanger and some free time!

Piece of cake! Throw a little party at home and get all the bottle caps you need in one night or visit your favorite neighborhood bar and ask the bartenders to save bottle caps for you. They could get you a colorful and varied stack in no time! Don’t forget to tip them!

If you collect lots of different kinds of bottle caps, you can get creative and come up with some cool designs and patterns, like the Rastafarian tambourine shown below. You can also add cool beads for fun and colorful fabrics for a better grip.

Whatever you decide to do to your tambourine, make sure you are ready to start jamming!

If you happen to save way too many bottle caps, you can make a bottle cap mural!

How to make your recycled bottle cap tambourine

Materials and tools:

  • 20 to 30 bottle caps
  • 1 metal hanger
  • 1 plastic bag or some yarn (you can also use old shoe lases)
  • A wire cutter and a set of pliers
  • A hammer and a large nail
  • Duct tape


First of all, straighten the hanger with the set of pliers and cut the hook off with the wire cutter. Then use the hammer and the nail to punch a large hole in the center of each bottle cap. The hole has to be large enough to pass the hanger wire through the bottle caps. The bigger the holes are, the more the caps will shake. You could also use a red or black sharpie to paint the metal hanger, like it was done in the Rastafarian tambourine below.

The next step is to pass all of the bottle caps through the hanger wire. Make sure you add them as pairs and that each pair is back to back, as shown in the following picture.

Note: You will be separating the bottle caps into at least two groups. If you are working on a specific design, add a single cap at the end of each group to show its color.

Once all of the bottle caps have been threaded onto the wire, bring the ends of the wire together and twist them. This will be the handle of your tambourine, so do your best to hide the ends of the wire. Use some duct tape to reinforce your twist and to make the handle more comfortable.

Separate the bottle caps on the hanger into two or three groups. You can make dividers with some yarn, plastic bag strips, or shoe laces; you can also add some beads if you have them. Just make sure you leave enough room in each section for the bottle caps to shake freely.

In order to give the handle some extra cushion and create a better grip, wrap it with some old fabric or denim, a used elastic, or anything you might have around and available. After this step, you should be ready to start jamming!

Shakers: You can also make some quick and simple shakers. Use some soda cans or any metal or plastic container with a lid. Add some rice grains, dry beans, or even seeds (Mexican fan palms drop some hard black seeds that are ideal for making shakers!). Close top with lid or seal cans with duct tape.

A customized set of shakers and tambourine would make an upbeat present for a friend or a kid! And remember, you can always find something to reuse or recycle to wrap a present with!

Ready to start grooving?! If you need music to accompany you, GSU recommends the New Orleans funk and jazz jam band Galactic.