Makey Makey Box Accordion



Less than 1 hr

Introduction: Makey Makey Box Accordion

About: I make things and I help others to make things. Twitter: joshburker

Although the website calls it a “Simple Box,” you can simply turn the Makey Makey packaging into an accordion using the Makey Makey’s mouse movement inputs and a clever hack of a website.

Construct handles for the accordion. Build the ground connection inside the Makey Makey box. Build and wire two switches to connect to the Makey Makey’s mouse movement inputs. Load a webpage and position the cursor. Ground the mouse click to the Makey Makey. Move the accordion and play polka tunes.


Makey Makey Classic, Makey Makey “Simple Box, ” or a similar box with an outer sleeve that slides on and off, Thin cardboard (this model used a piece of cardboard from a dry cleaner), Contact cement or other strong glue, Permanent marker, Awl (the tool on a pocketknife or multi-tool designed to poke holes in material), One white wire from Makey Makey kit, Copper tape with conductive adhesive, 1/2” width, Scissors, Masking tape, Twisted pair wire, or similar small gauge wire, about twelve inches, Wire cutters/strippers, Brass fasteners, Alligator clip, Box cutter

Step 1:

Cut four strips of cardboard, about an inch wide by nine inches long for three of the strips, and seven inches long for the fourth strip.

Educator Tip:

Note on Standards for teachers:
These lessons were developed with the idea that teachers all over the globe and a variety of grade levels could hack the lesson plan to meet their students' needs. Therefore, these are just some of the standards the lessons are based on, and not an all-inclusive list.

Core Music Standards - Technology Strand (

MU:Cr1.1.T.Ia Generate melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic ideas for compositions or improvisations using digital tools.

MU:Cr2.1.T.Ia Select melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic ideas to develop into a larger work using digital tools and resources.

MU:Cr3.1.T.Ia Drawing on feedback from teachers and peers, develop and implement strategies to improve and refine the technical and expressive aspects of draft compositions and improvisations.

MU:Cr3.2.T.Ia Share compositions or improvisations that demonstrate a proficient level of musical and technological craftsmanship as well as the use of digital tools and resources in developing and organizing musical ideas.

Step 2:

Apply contact cement to one side of each strip. You can use the seven inch strip of cardboard to align where the contact cement is applied on the corresponding nine inch strip.

Step 3:

While the contact cement sets, mark the center of the top part of the Makey Makey simple box. Use the awl from your pocketknife or multi­tool to punch a hole through the lid of the box. Feed one of the white wires through the hole from the inside of the box. The tinned wire part should poke through the hole you made in the box.

Step 4:

Cut a small piece of conductive copper tape, about an inch long. Gently fold it in half and make a small cut with the scissors.

Step 5:

Remove the backing on the conductive copper tape. Feed the wire through the slit you made in the tape and adhere the tape to the box so the wire is in the center of the copper tape.

Step 6:

Gently fold down the wire and cover it with another piece of conductive copper tape cut slightly longer than the one below it.

Step 7:

Turn the box over. Cut a piece of masking tape and use it to affix the wire to the inside of the box.

Step 8:

Turn the box over. Using the copper tape pad you previously constructed as a guide, cut two pieces of copper tape that cover the rest of the top of the box as shown.

Step 9:

Again using the copper tape pad on the box as a guide, adhere the conductive copper tape to the inside of the white “Simple Box” sleeve.

Step 10:

Repeat sticking copper tape to the other side of the white sleeve.

Step 11:

Strip a couple of inches of insulation from the twisted pair wire to expose the copper.

Bend the copper wire in a wiggle shape to help keep it from being pulled free. Cover the wire with a second piece of copper tape, making another conductive copper tape and wire pad. Repeat for the other side.

Step 12:

Use the awl to punch a hole in the front of the Makey Makey white sleeve in the space shown.

Route the wires from the two copper pads inside the white sleeve through the hole in the sleeve. Cut a piece of masking tape and cover the wires on the inside of the sleeve.

Step 13:

Turn the white sleeve over. Use the awl to poke a hole through the center of the back of the box, as shown. Route the wires from the front of the box, down around the side, and up the back. Route the wires through the hole in the back of the sleeve.

Step 14:

Now that the contact cement has set up, adhere the pieces to one another. The seven inch piece should be centered on the nine inch strip as shown.

Step 15:

Carefully bend the cardboard strip with the seven inch piece on the inside into a half loop. Fold the extra inch over to form a flap. Use the awl to poke a hole through the flap and the box. Use a brass fastener to connect the strap to the box. Repeat for the other side of the strap.

Step 16:

Cut a couple pieces of masking tape. Cover the brass fasteners with masking tape to prevent them from shorting out the Makey Makey.

Step 17:

Brush contact cement onto the other strip of cardboard and the white sleeve as shown.

Step 18:

Once the contact cement sets, affix the cardboard strip to the white sleeve in the orientation shown.

Step 19:

Slide the white sleeve over the MaKey MaKey “Simple Box” top.

Step 20:

Lay the box face down, with the MaKey MaKey logo on the white sleeve facing the table. Place the MaKey MaKey “face” side down on top of the box. Connect the red USB cable to the MaKey MaKey. Insert the white wire from the MaKey MaKey box lid into the Earth on the MaKey MaKey. Connect the wire from the left copper pad on the white sleeve to the Mouse Left on the MaKey MaKey. Connect the wire from the right copper pad on the white sleeve to the Mouse Right on the MaKey MaKey. Connect an alligator clip to the Click on the MaKey MaKey.

Step 21:

Use a box cutter to make a notch in the MaKey MaKey box as shown. Route the red USB cable through this notch.

Step 22:

On your computer, load the webpage

Step 23:

Align the cursor in the lower right corner of your browser window.

Step 24:

Connect the alligator clip from the MaKey MaKey Click to the MaKey MaKey Earth. When the MaKey MaKey is connected, the computer will think that the mouse button is clicked so any mouse movement will resize the browser window. Close up the accordion with the MaKey MaKey in it.

Step 25:

Hold onto the cardboard strip handles. You will probably need to apply some pressure to the front of the white sleeve to make certain the copper pads on the white sleeve stay in contact with the MaKey MaKey box. Move the box back and forth inside the sleeve with the handles. As your MaKey MaKey accordion resizes the browser window, the computer plays polka music! Instruct your friends to gather around and dance!

Step 26:

Scratch link

Click here to remix the project on Scratch

Alternately, you can use your Makey Makey accordion with this Scratch project as a start. Unplug the alligator clip connecting the Click key on the Makey Makey from the Earth on the Makey Makey. Click the Flag to start. Moving the accordion back and forth will move the Sprite on the screen and change the accordion sounds.

Step 27:

Check out this example.

Step 28: Extensions (Optional)

  • Build other MaKey MaKey instruments and program them in Scratch to accompany your accordion. Can you and your friends form an MaKey MaKey Oompah band?
  • What other applications could this type of switch have? Are there other games or Scratch projects that need left and right mouse movements?
  • Connect your MaKey MaKey accordion to a laptop, go outdoors, and busk.

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