Making DIY Drums

I am continuing my little series, if I can call it that, on musical instruments that you can make at home from items you already have there, with some drums. These were easy to make-took about 2 minutes- and a lot of fun to play with.

Firstly, what do you need to make a DIY drum?

  • An empty cylindrical container- I used two food tins that I had washed out and removed the label from. I also tried a larger round container for coffee beans I had given my husband for Christmas.
  • A balloon
  • Scissors
  • An elastic band
  • Duck tape (optional, and other tape would work too)

So the first thing I did once my tins were washed and dry, was to cover the tin in dick tape. I did this because when taking the lid off the tin as I was washing it I slightly cut my hand on the sharp edge, and didn’t want little hands to play with the sharp edges. It had the added benefit of making the tin, therefore the drum, looking much prettier with this lovely tape that I found in Wilkinsons a few days ago.

Covering over any sharp edges
Much prettier!

I cut the bottom off a balloon and then stretched it over the top of the tin can securing it in place with an elastic band. You need a nice, tight fit for the balloon, and for the balloon to appear level on the top, this give the right sort of skin for the drum.

The only balloons we had in the house were ones left over from my daughter’s 2nd birthday last year-and voila, celebratory drums!

I repeated the process with the second tin can and also the coffee bean canister. The canister was much harder to use. It was much larger than the tin and so the balloon had to stretch far more to cover the top. I didn’t feel like I got a nice, taut and level surface with this. Also, as the sides of the canister were made from card rather than tin, they were not as rigid, and also contributed to the sides moving when the drum was being played, and the top of the drum being less taut, so not making a very good sound. We abandoned this drum very quickly when trying them out.

Then the children and I played with the drum. Their preferred method was to use a pencil and sort of poke the balloon top! But I did get them to use the pencil on its side like a drum stick.

Using a pastry brush was a lot of fun, though very quiet, my son decided to try out his hands, playing it like a bongo. And then I had a go and dripping water onto the top of the balloon which created some surprising and fun sounds. There is a video at the bottom of this post showing some of the different ways we played this DIY musical instrument.

A great instrument to play with, if rather noisy! I’m not sure I’ll keep it in easy reach for the children, but will definitely bring it out again for them to have a play with!


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