Homemade African-Style Drums

Written by melissa smith
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Homemade African-Style Drums
Create a homemade African drum from recycled cardboard cylinders. (Marokkanische Trommel image by Matthias from Fotolia.com)

Make beautiful music while creating a recycling project. Children and youth can create an African drum with small or large oatmeal containers and decorate with construction paper, ribbon, stickers or buttons. Young children should ask an adult to help with making a drum template, as well as with cutting and gluing. Older children and adults can make a conga or African drum with a carpet tube, a plastic flower pot, an embroidery hoop and an old beach ball. Customise your drum with exotic fabrics, vibrant paint and colourful paper.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Small or large oatmeal cylinder
  • Craft glue
  • Safety scissors
  • Stickers
  • Buttons
  • String
  • Ribbon
  • Drum template
  • 4-inch diameter cardboard carpet cylinder
  • Standard 6-inch plastic flowerpot
  • 6-inch diameter plastic embroidery hoop (two-piece)
  • Old beach ball
  • 2-inch-wide packing or masking tape
  • Paint, paper or fabric
  • Yarn or jute (optional)
  • Rubber bands

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    Child's African Drum

  1. 1

    Take the lid off an oatmeal container.

  2. 2

    Glue red or green construction paper around the container and let it dry.

  3. 3

    Personalise the drum by drawing designs with permanent markers.

  4. 4

    Measure, cut and add string, buttons, ribbons and stickers. Adults should help very young children with this step.

  5. 5

    Let the drum dry completely, and then tap the drum with your fingertips or a pencil to hear the beat.

    Youth's Conga

  1. 1

    Cut a carpet cylinder to 12 inches long.

  2. 2

    Cut a long slit in an old beach ball.

  3. 3

    Take apart a two-piece embroidery hoop. Cover the inner hoop with the cut beach ball. Get help to stretch the outer hoop over the inner hoop to create the drum head.

  4. 4

    Tape the drum head into place on top of a flower pot. Secure the flower pot by taping or gluing it to the top of one end of the carpet cylinder.

  5. 5

    Customise the look of your drum by decorating with paint, paper or fabric. If desired, drape yarn or jute around areas where the tape is showing.

Tips and warnings

  • Create a template by using the canister lid as a guide to draw a circle on parchment paper. Draw at least 1 inch from the edge of the lid to create an oversized circle. Use safety scissors to cut out at least eight circles. Apply glue to one whole side of parchment paper, and then attach the glued side to the next parchment circle. Repeat this step until there are eight layers. Attach the sticky side of the layers to the top of the canister where the lid used to be. Put rubber bands around the parchment paper to hold it in place while it dries.

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