How to Make a Drum Head From Plastic Sheeting

Written by sarah davis
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How to Make a Drum Head From Plastic Sheeting
Home-made drum heads can give you a cheap alternative to a store-bought instrument. (drums image by agno_agnus from

Drum heads can be made at home with plastic sheeting for a fraction of the price of the name brand drum heads from your local drum head dealer. A home-made drum head that is thicker or thinner than normal will alter the sound of that drum, as well as the feel of playing that instrument. Your home-made drum head may not sound as good as a professionally constructed drum head, but plastic sheeting is one of the most similar sounding alternatives.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Drum
  • Plastic Sheeting
  • Scissors
  • Drum key
  • Measuring tape

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  1. 1

    Loosen the tension rods on one side of the drum with the drum key and remove tension rods from lugs. Place the tension rods together and to the side.

  2. 2

    Remove the drum hoop and place to the side with the tension rods. Loosen and remove the remaining tension rods and drum hoop from the opposite side of the drum.

  3. 3

    Cut your plastic sheeting four times the drum diameter. If you are using an 11-inch tom, for example, cut two pieces of plastic sheeting that measure 25 inches by 25 inches. This will allow you to make four layers for more durability.

  4. 4

    Fold the plastic sheeting in half and then fold that half in half again. You should have a four-layer, 12.5-inch by 12.5-inch square.

  5. 5

    Place this square on the drum shell, where the drum head would usually go. Put on the drum hoop over the plastic sheeting and hold the drum hoop on tight, keeping the plastic sheeting in place. Replace the tension rods and tighten.

  6. 6

    Turn the drum over and repeat this process for the other side of the drum with your other piece of plastic sheeting. Keep the plastic as tight as you can while tightening the drum hoop with the tension rods. Repeat for the rest of your drums. Tune your drums to your liking using the drum key.

Tips and warnings

  • The softer you play, the longer your drum heads will last.
  • Try using drum brushes instead of drum sticks to maximise the longevity of the drum heads.
  • Try a smaller drum for begining drummers.
  • This method will not make your drums sound like they have regular drum heads.

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