How to Make Latin American Musical Instruments

Written by nicholas fix
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How to Make Latin American Musical Instruments
(maracas image by Dwight Davis from

Latin American musical instruments are various and include instruments such as maracas, castanets, cajons, rain sticks, pan flutes, guitars, and many more. Although it invariably takes a great degree of skill and patience to fashion a genuine piece of musical engineering, there are ways around it. It can be a great deal of fun to improvise your own maracas for instance, as the principle of this noisemaker is very simple.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Plastic balls a little larger than tennis balls
  • Uncooked rice
  • Uncooked beans
  • Craft knife
  • Scissors
  • Paints or coloured pens
  • Glue
  • Drumsticks
  • Saw

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    Homemade Maracas

  1. 1

    Make an incision in one plastic ball with the craft knife. Cut the ball exactly in half with the scissors. Cut sections out of the plastic ball so the two halves can eventually come together snugly around the drumstick.

  2. 2

    Saw the drumstick in half or to a desired length for use as the handle of the maraca. Glue one half the plastic ball to one end of the drumstick. Set aside to dry.

  3. 3

    Fill the one half of the plastic ball glued to the drumstick with a mixture of uncooked rice and beans. The differing quantities will make different sounds. Use only rice for a finer shaker, and beans for a heavier shaking sound.

  4. 4

    Glue the second half of the plastic ball on to the drumstick, enclosing the beans and rice and completing the maraca. Set aside to dry.

  5. 5

    Repeat step 1 through 4 to make your second maraca. Once they are both dry and securely assembled, paint them or colour them with your desired designs.

Tips and warnings

  • Only adults should use the saw.

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