How to make bongos with everyday household items

Written by michael cantrell
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How to make bongos with everyday household items
Bongos are staples in popular Latin music. (bongos image by dead_account from

Bongos are two-drum instrument originating from Latin forms of music. Bongos are played using the hands rather than drum sticks like a lot of Western styles of percussion. Purchasing a set of bongos can be expensive and difficult to find. You can avoid spending a good amount of money trying to find a set of bongos by making your own set at home with some stuff you find around the house.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 2 oatmeal cans
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Craft knife
  • Paint
  • Canvas or cotton fabric
  • Craft glue
  • Large rubber bands
  • Paintbrush
  • Drill
  • Curved needle
  • String or cord
  • Saw
  • 1-by-1-by-4 inch wood block
  • Hot glue gun

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  1. 1

    Cut one of your oatmeal cans down to eight inches in height using a craft knife. Take the other can and cut it to twelve inches in height.

  2. 2

    Cover the body of the cans with construction paper or fabric. You can use markers or other art supplies to help decorate your bongos to give them a unique customised look.

  3. 3

    Spread out a piece of canvas on a flat table. Place the can down on the table and use a pen to trace a circle around the can. Add at least an inch to the circle so that you have a bit extra when you cut out the circle. Cut the circle out and repeat the process for the other bongo.

  4. 4

    Dampen a sponge with water and lightly apply moisture to the canvas pieces you have cut out. Apply craft glue around the edges of the circles. Stretch the canvas over the top of the cans over the open end and press the glued sides down against the can. Put rubber bands around the cans to hold the canvas drum heads in place while the glue dries.

  5. 5

    Apply a coat of craft glue to the canvas drum heads you put on your bongos. The craft glue will make the drum heads more stiff and give them a better tone when played.

  6. 6

    Use a drill to make holes in the sides of each can. Start at the top of the drum where the canvas drum head over laps the can or shell of the drum. Make each hole an inch apart.

  7. 7

    Take a curved sewing needle and use it to thread string through each of the holes in both cans. Do this twice and then make sure to tie off the strings at the ends.

  8. 8

    Take a saw and cut a block of wood down until it is four inches long. Put the block between the bongos and then use adhesive from a hot glue gun to attach the bongos to the wood block.

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