NEXT: Crestmead

Rubber Glove-A-Phone

A hand-y way to blow your own horn

Australian Curriculum links

  • Science > Physical Sciences > Year 1 > ACSSU020
  • Science > Science as a Human Endeavour > Year 1 > ACSHE022

You’ll need

  • Rigid PVC piping (approx. 30cm long)
  • Disposable rubber glove
  • Packing tape
  • Plastic drinking straw

Try this

Note: this instrument is similar to the Balloon Tuba, which we suggest you try making first.

  1. Place the open end of the glove over the top end of the rigid PVC piping. Tape the glove around the pipe. Make sure the seal is airtight.
  2. Cut the tip off the top of the glove’s thumb and feed the plastic straw into the hole. Tape the straw into the thumb of the glove, again making sure the seal is airtight.
  3. To make a sound, blow into the straw and pull the glove back towards yourself, so that the glove is stretched taut over the pipe.
  4. Playing the rubber glove-a-phone can take practice to develop the best technique, so keep trying if you don't get a good sound the first time!

Further investigation

  • What happens to the sound if you change how tightly stretched the glove is over the end of the pipe?
  • What happens to the sound if you change the length of your PVC pipe? What if you change the diameter of the PVC pipe?
  • Can you create a rubber glove-a-trombone with two PVC pipes of different diameter sliding across each other?

What’s happening?

By pulling the fingers of the glove over the top of the tube you are making a skin over the top of the pipe. When you blow air into the tubing through the thumb, the skin vibrates as the air escapes. This makes the air inside the pipe vibrate, producing the sound. You can change the pitch of the sound by changing how tightly stretched the glove is over the top of the pipe.