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How to make a raffle tumbler

Updated February 21, 2017

If you have ever participated in a church or community raffle or have seen those small, plastic balls rolling around in the containers for the late-night state lottery selections, then you are familiar with a device called a raffle tumbler. A tumbler is essential for any type of raffle or lottery where there are a large number of participants because it ensures unbiased, random selection. If you are planning a charity raffle or some similar event, you don't need to go looking for a raffle tumbler; you can make one.

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The drum

  1. Put on your work gloves and have your goggles handy. Place one of the wooden boards on your workbench and place the bucket right-side up in the centre of the board. Trace around the bottom of the bucket. Place another board on the surface and turn the bucket upside-down with the lid on. Trace around the bucket once more. Set the bucket aside.

  2. Retrieve your hand-held saw and very carefully cut out the circles from each board.

  3. Take the remaining, uncut board and lay it down on your work surface. Nail the other two boards, standing straight up, each to an opposite side of the uncut board. Mark the two boards "Top" and "Bottom" according to the end of the bucket that was cut for each side.


  1. Turn the bucket over on its side and draw a 15 by 20 cm (6 by 8 inch) rectangle on it. The 15 cm (6 inch) sides of the rectangle should be parallel with the top and bottom of the bucket and the rectangle should be centred as evenly as possible. Cut this rectangle out of the bucket.

  2. Remove the rectangular piece and attach one side of the door hinge to one of the 20 cm (8 inch) sides using the drill and screws.

  3. Place the rectangle carefully back in the cut area of the bucket and attach the other side of the door hinge onto the bucket. Now the bucket has a door-like opening on its side.

  4. Screw one of the eye screws into the 20 cm (8 inch) side of the door that does not have the hinge attached. Attach the hooked door latch to the loop of the eye screw. Attach the second eye screw to the bucket, just far enough in front of the first for the hooked end of the door latch to connect, This will keep the door closed while the bucket is turning and will allow the door to be easily opened.

  5. Attach the hand crank handle to either the bottom or the top of the bucket using the epoxy resin. If attaching to the top, use some of the epoxy to seal the lid onto the bucket, then attach the hand crank to the lid.


  1. Insert the bucket into the base by putting the bottom of the bucket tumbler through the hole that was cut for the top and gently pushing the tumbler through until the bottom fits in its hole and the top fits in its hole.

  2. Open the bucket door and fill the bucket with ballots, tickets, names or whatever medium is being used for the raffle. Close the door with the latch.

  3. Turn the bucket using the hand crank, then open the door and pick the winner.

  4. Tip

    The hand crank can come from a child's toy (jack-in-the-box), an old ice creamer machine or any other suitable device.


    Be very careful when handling power equipment and chemicals.

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Things You'll Need

  • Goggles
  • Work gloves
  • Large, round plastic bucket with lid
  • 3 squares of plywood, 60 cm by 60 cm (2 feet by 2 feet)
  • Large, black marker
  • Handheld, multipurpose saw
  • Nails
  • Claw hammer
  • Hand-held drill with screwdriver attachments
  • Screws
  • Small door hinge
  • 2 eye screws
  • Small, hooked latch
  • Hand crank handle
  • Epoxy adhesive

About the Author

Jeremy Cato is a writer from Atlanta who graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors and an English degree from Morehouse College. An avid artist and hobbyist, he began professionally writing in 2011, specializing in crafts-related articles for various websites.

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