How to Make a Homemade Handbell Instrument

Written by scarlett gauthier
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How to Make a Homemade Handbell Instrument
Create a carillon of handbells for a performance or to use as a decor element. (Handbell image by Aleksey Ubozhenko from Fotolia.com)

Hand-bells are a type of musical instrument similar to hand chimes. They are used by various solo artists and in performances of church choirs. Hand-bells were originally derived from large church bells and have been modified over the years to form hand-held bells that can create a various musical experiences. They are generally forged in iron or cast in bronze to create different musical tones. You can make your own hand bell with household materials as a recreational arts-and-crafts project or for performances.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Newspaper
  • Small clay or terra-cotta flower pot
  • Industrial strength glue
  • Dowel
  • Putty
  • Twine
  • Paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Metal washers
  • String
  • Drill
  • Drill bits

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place newspaper over a flat surface to create a work area.

  2. 2

    Place the flower pot upside-down on the newspaper.

  3. 3

    Use paints in various colours to decorate the flower pot by creating designs. Paint the inside of the flower pot as well. The paint will not have an effect on the bell's tone. Allow enough time for the paint to set until it is dry to the touch.

  4. 4

    Insert a dowel approximately 1/4 inches into the hole at the flower pot's base. The dowel should be approximately the same size as the hole.

  5. 5

    Secure the dowel with industrial strength glue. Allow enough time for the glue to set. Determine the drying time by reading the label on the glue.

  6. 6

    Place the putty around the part of the dowel outside the flower pot in the shape of a handle. Mold the putty so the handle is comfortable to hold.

  7. 7

    Smooth down the putty against the base of the flower pot and remove any excess putty. Allow enough time for the putty to set and harden.

  8. 8

    Knot several metal washers to the end of a small piece of twine to serve as a striker. Use glue to secure the other end of the piece of twine to the inside of the pot at the centre of the base.

  9. 9

    Test the bell by picking it up and ringing it. Adjust the striker inside by making it shorter or longer, as well as adding or removing washers until you reach the sound desired.

  10. 10

    Drill a hole in the top of the bell's handle through the putty and dowel.

  11. 11

    Cut a piece of string between five and ten inches in length. Insert the string through the hole in the bell's handle and knot the two ends to create a hanging loop. Use the hanging loop to store the bell as well as transport.

Tips and warnings

  • Experiment by making additional bells and using flower pots in various thicknesses and sizes to make different bell tones.

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