Composition, Early Childhood Music, Games, Group Classes, Music Camps, Music Theory

DIY Floor Music Staff for $10

I’ve been wanting a floor staff for a long time.  Now I finally have one!

Here’s the materials I used:

  • oblong vinyl tablecloth (mine is 52” x 90”) or a shower curtain.  (I paid $8 at Wal-Mart for my tablecloth.)
  • black masking tape, or electrical tape.  (I found a roll of black masking tape for $1.29 at my local craft store.  Masking tape is 1” wide.  If you want thinner lines, use electrical tape.)
  • ruler
  • pencil

I’m happy with my decision to go with a vinyl tablecloth over a shower curtain.  I got the tablecloth suggestion from a friend of mine from back in Michigan (thanks, Michelle!).  The vinyl is a little bit stiff which helps it stay flat on the ground (although it’s pretty wrinkly from the packaging – hopefully those little bumps will smooth out with time), and the fabric backing prevents it from slipping around on my hardwood floor.  The vinyl will be easy to sweep or wipe off if needed, and I love that my floor staff folds up easily for storage!

After some math, I determined that I would make the spaces 3.5” wide.  Using a pencil and ruler, I marked where the tape should go using a little dash every 18” or so.  I wanted to make sure the tape lines were nice and straight!

I would have liked to make the spaces larger so I originally considered using the tablecloth vertically instead of horizontally, but I also wanted to have plenty of room down the length of the tablecloth.  My own two feet don’t really fit well in the spaces, but it will probably be just the right size for my students’ little feet.  Fortunately, my beanie animals fit just right too!

The plush alphabet letters pictured in the first photo came from Goodwill.  It was a near-complete set of 2 of all 26 letters for just $1.  I removed A-G from the set and plan to give the rest to my 3-year-old nephew, who is obsessed with letters right now.  🙂  If you wanted to make your own set of colorful letters, you could make them by cutting letters out of felt.

I’d like to sew some black, round bean bags to use as music note heads, but I think for now I’m going to buy a package of small black paper plates at the dollar store and cut out the middles to fit on the staff.  Another idea is go to one of those foam board printing stores, buy a package of pre-cut round foam discs from a craft store or dollar store.

Now I just need to make a treble clef and a bass clef!  I don’t think masking tape is going to work well for making the curvy treble clef shape, so I’m trying to think of an easier way.  I might just cut the clefs out of cardboard or out of a dollar store shower curtain, and then spray paint it black.  Any other ideas?

I can’t wait to show my new floor staff to my students!  I found a few floor staff games here at Jennifer’s Pianimation blog.  Please let me know if you know of some other great floor staff games.  🙂

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22 thoughts on “DIY Floor Music Staff for $10”

  1. Joy,

    I LOVE your new floor staff. I have been wanting to make one of these for some time now and seeing how you made it work for only $10.00 is really making me want to take the plunge!

    I also love the letters- what a great find at Goodwill!

  2. Let us know how it holds up! I was just getting ready to order a pre-made staff mat and keyboard mat from Music in Motion. I might try your idea first, since it’s so cheap. I’m thinking I may use black duct tape. It might be less likely to peel up off the mat with use.

    1. A year later, my floor mat is still looking as good as ever! It isn’t something I use on a regular basis, but I am pleased nevertheless that none of the masking tape is peeling off so far.

  3. Looks good. I love the beanie babies 🙂
    For clefs you could cut them out from black foam board or presentation boards ($2-5). Might be more durable then felt/cardboard and less likely to fold in the corrugated creases or get scratches/wear and tear on paint. I am in a rural area so I am going to try and find some local heavy duty sileage plastic from a farmer which is thick and durable plastic. If that doesn’t work I’ll try your fab idea!

    I’m so motivated to get one of these done now! Especially with the colorful beanies! Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Programs like Finale and Sibelius put musical fonts on machines when they’re installed – at least with PCs (not sure about your Mac). But assuming you can print one out at the perfect size, you could then cut it, then go have it laminated with the thickest lamination setting they offer. This is assuming of course that there’s a way to fold the tablecloth so the clefs aren’t folded.

    Another idea – you could print out a couple of perfectly-sized hard plastic clefs at this website. Their deals start at just $19,900.00.

  5. For clefs, what about the long, bendable glow sticks….wrap them in the same black tape or paint them.

    For the notes, possibly the styrofoam wreath molds- I’ve seen them in large and small sizes…they would have to be wrapped or painted, too, though.

    And the letters- what a great find!!

  6. For the clefs use a long piece of thick rope and the pupils can practise themselves making the correct clef shape.

  7. I’ve made my large treble clef by enlarging a printed one on the copier, then using it as a pattern to cut the clef from a sheet of craft foam from the kids craft section at the store.

  8. The giant floor staff looks amazing! Beanie Babies (and Aussie Beanie Kids) are great fun to use in the studio – so many varieties of cuteness. I love the plush alphabet – jealous!! What a wonderful find. I may have to ask one of my sewing friends to make some. Is it too late to suggest you don’t give the spares away? When I introduce the music alphabet I relate it first to the whole ‘reading’ alphabet and make a game of laying out all the 26 letters (plastic, flash cards) and finding A to G. eg when the music stops find an A and so on 🙂

  9. I wonder if you can get the wrinkles out by simply hanging it in the bathroom while you shower.

    I love everyone’s ideas about the clefs. I bought my floor staff and it already has clefs, but I also want a staff on my white board to use with magnets. I tried drawing one on with a Sharpie marker, but it’s already coming off. Any ideas?

  10. I love this idea! I just mentioned it to my 9-year-old daughter who then said “oh cool, we could play twister on it”. UM YES! I think a make shift wheel with notes would be cool and the students could get all crazy learning through play by playing twister.

    I have to go and get dressed now so I can start making this. I love this website…it has become more valuable to me than gold lately…

  11. I have a music cartridge for my Cricut. I could cut a treble and bass cleff any size. You can also cut out of a variety of materials. Happy to do it for you.

    I made the musical Jenga game. I was not sure of my handwriting, so I used the void spaces of clear cd labels. I printed on my computer and they look great.

    Also made Bang and used some fun printed duct tape. It was a big hit at our noon New Year’s Eve party today.

    1. Hi Christi,

      I ended up just printing a treble and bass clef as large as I could on a couple of pieces of paper, and then laminating the sheets. It’s not perfect, but it actually looks okay and they are easy to store. I’m not familiar with Cricut machines and how they work – but they sound interesting!

      It sounds like Jenga and BANG! worked well for you! I’m so glad your students enjoyed it!

  12. I just made mine, same size. I love the rope idea for the kids making the staff themselves. I bought craft foam board (in black) to cut out note heads from. I found a tip for de-wrinkling the vinyl – put it in the clothes dryer on low heat with wet towel for 5 minutes. Worked great before I started. It might make the tape come off though. I think I’ll store it on a hanger to keep it wrinkle free. Thanks for your website. I really appreciate it. This is where I come when I need some inspiration.

  13. For a fun composition/ game, students can toss beanbags onto the staff. Then they have to play their piece. It’s always fun to ask them if they liked it or whether it sounded weird/ funny/ cool/ whatever.

    PS: I recently expanded my music studio (very quickly!) and am looking for more off-the-bench activities. I just found your blog this month and love your ideas.

  14. I am going to make one of these – great idea, and so much cheaper and lighter than ones you can buy. Another game – get students to sing the note names of a piece they are learning and jump onto the appropriate lines or spaces along the stave as they do so. With a group, you can get them to repeat the music several times, whilst they line up and jump along the stave one at a time.

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