The Dr. Seuss-a-phone




About: It is my personal goal to learn how to do and/or make everything before I die. Just in case there is an apocalypse and I have to do it all myself.

What nerdy kid born after 1940 was not influenced by Dr. Seuss? Who here did not want to grow up to be a character in one of his books, or have a Brown Barb-a-loot as a pet?

Well, now you can live your dream with your very own Seuss-a-phone.

My apologies to the estate of the late Theodore Geisel. But since I am not making any money on this, and maybe this Instructable will sell a few of his books, I hope you will forgive me for using the name...

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

This is the easiest Instructable you will ever do. I purchased my materials for less than $50, but you can find them for free or almost free at garage sales and junkyards.

1. One trumpet mouthpiece. I selected the Belmonte 7c $19.99, as it is the most inexpensive around. If you want to add some color, Kelly Mouthpieces makes Lexan transparent mouthpieces in many colors and they are less than $20 on-line.

Also available on eBay and at garage sales.

2. 10' of copper coolant tubing 1/2 inch OD (outside diameter) $19.99. This will fit the trumpet mouthpiece perfectly. Available at any hardware store.

3. One Plews LubriMatic Utility Funnel $4.95. A galvanized metal funnel for oil and hydraulic fluid. The metal carries the harmonic resonance better than polypropylene, has a gooseneck for visual effect, and, coincidentally, fits over the copper tubing perfectly. I bought this at Home Depot in the hardware department.

Step 2: Mouthpiece

Unless you want to slice your lips to ribbons, you will need a trumpet mouthpiece. Stick it into one end of the tubing.

Step 3: The Bell

The big funnel shape at the end of the trumpet is called the bell. You can play it without a bell, but the sound will not be very impressive. Try it now if you'd like. The bell expands the sound.

Add a bell by sticking the Plews LubriMatic Utility Funnel on the opposite end of the tubing as the mouthpiece.

Step 4: Shape Your Seuss-a-phone

Now comes the really fun part. Shape it however you'd like; the crazier, the better.

The coolant tubing is nice and pliable, easy to bend and shape. Be careful not to kink the tubing. Big round bends are best. If you want a tight radius, you should use a tube bender. You can assist the process by filling the tubing with damp sand before bending. This will help avoid kinks.
Thanks to PaulE and his commenters.
But I don't have time for that sort of fussiness.

Incidentally, you can cut the tube to whatever length you want. Use a tube cutter or a light stroke with the hacksaw. The shorter the tube, the higher the pitch. This is how trumpets work, the valves lengthen or shorten the effective tube length, changing the notes. I like the 10' tube. It looks wacky and has a nice resonant sound.

Step 5: Now Hear This...

Play your new Seuss-a-phone
You will need to practice your lip buzzing technique a little to get a nice sound. Think of it as making a prolonged farting noise into the mouthpiece.

For added effect, put on a big striped hat and coverall, and ride a unicycle...

"And think of the
poor puffing Poogle-Horn Players,
who have to parade
down the Poogle-Horn Stairs
every morning to wake up
the Prince of Poo-Boken.
It's awful how often
their poogles get broken!"
-Dr. Seuss "Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?"

Have fun, and don't break your poogle!



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    30 Discussions


    4 years ago

    You can get an $8 7c gold trumpet mouthpiece on Amazon


    7 years ago on Step 5

    It would be cool if when you played the Suess-a-phone bubbles came out of it. It would be even more fun! :D

    But...the bubble solution would get all messy and stuff...


    Reply 11 years ago on Step 3

    True... But I have a full time job that takes precedence. Why didn't you write your comment in rhyming verse? ;)


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    but a rhyming comment my friend would take more time than he can lend and he was a bit like a hypocrite in his comment, what's up with it? wow this is quite weird and it took so long I now have a beard.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    you should make one with an actual sousa mouthpiece but then again they are really freaking expensive i lost one that the sschool let me use and my mom had to paaay for it(it was like $60)

    4 replies

    Well, I am way to cheap for that. In fact, I am trying to figure out how to make a usable mouthpiece out of PVC.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I was about to say the same thing. They also make plastic ones though. They're probably cheaper. Idk how much they cost, but they can't be nearly as expensive as the metal ones.


    You should make one. It is easy and inexpensive. You might even be able to borrow a mouthpiece from the school's band instructor, if you're nice. I bet if you look through some Dr. Seuss books, you could find lots more inspiration for simple instruments. I think I might do that.


    I believe they are slightly larger. However, the copper tubing comes in slightly larger diameters up to 3/4 inch, so you could probably find a tube that fits the mouthpiece.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    They are quite a bit larger. The bigger the brass instrument, the bigger the mouth peice, which is why it's easier to make a sound on a tuba then a trumpet.