How to Paint Drum Skins

Updated March 21, 2017

Choosing what paint to use on a drum skin depends on what material the skin made of. If the drum is made up of natural skin, basic acrylic paint is preferable. With this paint, the chances of getting stains are high. If the drum is made up of synthetic skins, spray paints can be used such as Krylon. The paint designs usually include a logo or any other textures. To create a permanent design, drummers like to paint designs especially on the drum heads. The drum needs to be disassembled before painting the drum skin.

Use the drum key to remove the drum lugs. These lugs are used to attach the metal rims and drum heads in place. Unscrew the lugs and take out the rims and heads.

Remove the hub bolts fastened to each drum shell using a socket wrench. Unscrew the exterior of the each drum using a Phillip screwdriver. The exterior part of the drum consists of drum-mounting bolts and snare release lever.

Use needle-nose pliers to remove the circular metallic grommets that connect the drum shell's sheathing in place and remove the sheathing. In case the sheathing is custom-made, use a sharp knife to pry out the sheathing's seam.

Sand the drum shell gently to remove any unnecessary adhesive remains. Place the drum shell flat on a dust sheet. Apply a thin coat of paint with even strokes on the outer shell of the drum using the paintbrush. In the case of acrylic paint, a medium flat brush must be used with a paint thinner to avoid heavy coats of paint. This is to ensure that the paint does not dissolve the drum skin.

Re-assemble the drum by replacing the hub bolts to each drum shell with the help of a socket wrench. Tighten the bolts and screw the outer shell of each drum. Mount the circular metallic grommets once the paint is dried.


The painting process should be carried out in a properly ventilated area. Consult the paint label for estimated drying times and to determine the desired number of coats to be applied on the drum skin.


Paints may contain harmful vapours and chemicals. Wear a mask or open some windows before painting.

Things You'll Need

  • Acrylic paint or spray paint
  • Paint brush
  • Drum
  • Drum key
  • Phillip screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Socket wrench
  • Sandpaper
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About the Author

Khalidah Tunkara is an accomplished freelance writer and journalist based in Atlanta, Ga. Tunkara began her writing career in 1994 and attended Georgia Perimeter College. Her articles have appeared in "The New Trend," "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," and Trails Travel. Tunkara is the featured Headline News writer for the Examiner.