How to Make a Rainmaker Instrument

Written by scott root
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How to Make a Rainmaker Instrument
A longer cardboard tube means a better imitation of rain. (Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

A rainstick is an instrument used to imitate the sound of rainfall; sometimes it is also called a rainmaker instrument. It is believed that the rainstick originated in Chile or Peru, but it has gained traction over the past 30 years as a novelty instrument in mainstream western music. The instrument is typically made out of a hollow wooden tube which is filled with pebbles. Creating a wooden rainstick requires immense technical know-how and special tools. However, it's possible and fun, to make a rainstick out of household materials.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Long cardboard tube
  • Rubber bands
  • Waxed paper
  • Rice or beads

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  1. 1

    Take the long cardboard tube -- the kind that come from a roll of wrapping paper is perfect -- and attach a square of waxed paper to one end with a rubber band. Make sure that it covers the opening entirely.

  2. 2

    Pour in a handful of the rice or beads. Rice will create a soft pitter-patter, while beads -- like the cheap plastic kind available from most craft stores -- will sound like a steady downpour.

  3. 3

    Attach a second square of waxed paper to the other end of the tube, in the same fashion as before. Make sure that it also covers the opening entirely.

Tips and warnings

  • Waxed paper tends to be easier to work with than regular paper and provides a nicer sound, but in a pinch any old piece of paper can be used in place of the waxed paper.

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