Create Interactive Drawings With MaKey MaKey and Soundplant

Create Interactive Drawings With MaKey MaKey and Soundplant


Have you ever wanted to add a sound effect to your pencil drawing? Sounds cool, right?

The magic lies in the fact that pencil lead is graphite, a form of carbon, which due to the vast electron delocalisation within the carbon layers can conduct electricity.

What you need

  • MaKey MaKey (including Mini-B USB cable)
  • Paper
  • Graphite pencil (a school pencil will do, but a graphite pencil is more reliable)
  • Alligator clips
  • Soundplant software
  • Computer (any Windows or Mac of the past 8 years will do, but for optimal performance a multicore processor and 4GB RAM is recommended)
  • Sound files


  1. Draw a picture on a piece of paper with a graphite pencil. Make sure the lines are thick and unbroken. In our case we drew a monkey head with big ears that we coloured in.
  2. Connect MaKey MaKey into your computer using USB cable. Plug the small side of USB cable into MaKey Makey and the big side into your computer. (If your computer asks you to install the drivers, simply click cancel or close the window.)
  3. Open this link on your browser to access and download the Soundplant software.
  4. Open Soundplant. Make sure it is open on your screen all the time.
  5. Drag and drop your sound files onto the keyboard keys you would like to use on Soundplant. In this case we assign individual sounds (monkey sounds) onto “left arrow’ and “space” keys.

Soundplant and Makey Makey 1

  1. Connect to Earth - Now you can connect one end of an alligator clip to the bottom of MaKey MaKey which is marked as “Earth”.
  2. Connect to Yourself - Then you hold the other end of the alligator clip (the metal part) between your fingers, and now you become “grounded”.
  3. Connect MaKey MaKey to your drawing - If you want your drawings to become your keyboard keys, you connect them to your MaKey MaKey with the help of alligator clips. On the front side of MaKey MaKey you find “space” and “left arrow”. Connect them with two alligator clips to two parts of your graphite drawing. In our case, we connected MaKey MaKey “space” and “left arrow” to the monkey’s ears. Soundplant and Makey Makey 2
  4. Touch the monkey’s ears and play sounds! (Don’t forget the step 7)

Made with by artefacto

We are Artefacto, a creative technology company specialising in learning and making for the libraries, museums, archives and galleries sectors.