how to make a drum & shaker

 

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Remember these drums from Mekhi's birthday?  They come out beautifully in less than an hour.  I love each one looks & sounds different every single time. They cost absolutely nothing & as you'll see, the kids (ages 1-7) lead nearly every step.  They are so proud of these drums & shakers!  Our house has become an instrument factory, & they're making gifts for all their friends.  While the shakers sound really vibrant & satisfyingly "noisy," the drums do sound a bit dull when played by hand.  It's nice to have some mallets.  Using the metal bottoms of your tubs makes a tangy Calypso beat.  We're going to gather some sticks for our drums, & smooth down the edges with sand paper.  For mallets we'll cover the ends with a bit of felt stuffed with wool & tied with string.  

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Materials:
1 Large Tub with a sealable top
1 small or long tub with top
glue and/or glue gun
scissors
small paper bags
shaker fillers: beans, rice, corn, lentils, pebbles
masking tape
5 rubber bands

felt

1/4 yard fabric, anything from fleece to calico
pretty string, yarn, twine or raffia
decorative bits like beads, feathers, shells
 
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This drum was made with Japanese rice paper on top & feathers to cover the seam.   To make the top last longer we used a glue gun to attach it to the lid.  The older boys took turns using a low-melt one to attach the feathers.  The shaker is covered with a heavy fleece & they made a handle by beading several lengths of raffia & tying it around the ends.  It's filled with pinto beans.  

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Shaker How-To:

Put a handful of corn into the shaker.

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"Yup.  Yup.  Like this.  Very Good." ~ Lake

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Close it.  

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If you're using a thin fabric, the shaker will feel "chinsty."  Adding a bit of padding makes it feel much better in the hand & gives it a nicer quality, especially if you're making a gift.  Tape one end.

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Roll & tape closed.

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Tape the fabric down & roll it up.  It should go around at least 1 & 1/2 times.  Cut & fold under the end.  Tape.
  
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Use rubber bands to gather the ends, like a tootsie roll.

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Wrap pretty string or raffia around it several times & double knot.  Open up the ends a bit.  Walla!

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Drum How-To:

 

Cut one of the small paper bags down the sides.

 

 

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Roughly measure the height of your tub & fold the edges of the paper bag to match.  Tape one end to the tub.

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Roll.  

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"And then, Mommy, tell them to tape it.  Like this..." ~ Lake

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If you are using the metal end, place a rubber band just below the top to help hold down the edges of the felt drum surface.  You could also just glue it.  Use a glue gun for that, or a very thin layer of white glue that won't seep through the felt or paper.

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Cover with a rectangle of felt & use a rubberband to hold it down.  Make sure the band falls under the inside red band in the picture above.  See how it sticks?

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Wrap several lengths of yarn or raffia around it & tie a lovely knot.

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Try it out!  Technically, it's done.  Mahal cut several strips of felt to cover the seam.  He liked it so much he added them all around the drum.

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For a two-sided tom-tom, just repeat on the other side: felt, rubber band, string.

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Don't forget to trim!  Or, I guess you could.

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Cute!!!

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It's important to use these drums with them a couple of times, regardless of how old they are.  Otherwise they'll just be more "stuff."  If you have any ethnic music or know a few songs, I recommend playing with the drum yourself a few times & letting them see you.  Then they'll use it themselves in context as an instrument, as opposed to a distraction.   We really use ours, everyday.