How to Make a Simple Lyre

By Ryan Fergerson

Things Needed

  • Shoebox lid
  • Rubber bands
  • Toilet paper roll
  • Scissors
The lyre has undergone many transformations over the years.

Making a simple version of the classic Greek lyre is easy to do and requires only a few supplies. Get creative with the length and number of strings you use, and how tight the individual string tensions are -- different sized rubber bands will change the sound of your homemade lyre. Slight adjustments can be made to personalize the design and add character to your creation.

Cut an oval-shaped hole roughly three inches in diameter near the center of a shoebox lid.

Create very small holes around the edges of the shoebox lid. The holes should be spaced out evenly with one on each side of the large oval hole. This will create imaginary straight lines between pairs of smaller holes. Two holes are required to hold one string in place -- lyres can contain four, five, six, seven or more strings.

Cut the rubber bands to create rubber strings. Insert one end of the rubber string into one of your small holes and tie it tightly underneath to prevent it from popping out. Stretch the string out tightly; insert the loose end into the corresponding hole on the opposite end of the shoebox lid and tie off. Continue until all strings are tied securely and parallel to one another.

Cut an emtpy toilet paper roll in half. Place it under the strings on one end of the shoebox lyre. This will raise the strings on one side and increase tension to help with tone and playability.

About the Author

Based in Austin, Ryan Fergerson has been writing about the art and music scene since 2001. His online articles cover photography and other topics. Fergerson graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in English.