How to make a hand rattle drum

Want to make a homemade hand rattle drum? All you need is the discarded tube from the inside of a packing tape roll and a few other bits and bobs to build your own musical instrument.

A hand drum with colourful beads, on a long wooden stick

You can even get creative and add colourful drawings and decorations in felt tip or tape. 

This guide is part of our Sense Arts, Sport & Wellbeing programme. This activity can be done at a time that suits you, either at home or in an educational setting. 

Who is this for

This is a musical and crafting activity for people who are deafblind or have complex disabilities and can be enjoyed by anyone.

Why does this make a difference?

This is a sensory activity that promotes wellbeing and learning, helping people their senses to connect with their surroundings, exploring touch and sound while supporting independent choice and creativity.

How to do this activity

Coloured paper, felt tip pens, scissors, beads, string, colourful tape and a tape tube

What you’ll need

  • Inner tube from a roll of tape
  • Card
  • Tape or glue, scissors
  • Straw or stick
  • String or ribbons
  • Beads
  • Paint and other things to decorate
Tracing the outline of the tape tube on the orange paper using a purple marker

Step 1

Place the round cardboard tube on your card or paper, and draw around it to leave an outline. Cut out the circle, leaving an extra 1cm of space around it, so you have a circle slightly larger than your tube, then repeat.
Making little snips all around the green circle of paper

Step 2

Do a series of little snips in the 1cm margin all around the circles, so it has a lot of small flaps.
A pair of hands carefully folding up the snips of paper onto the tape tube

Step 3

Place the tube in the centre of the card circle, and fold the strips up onto the tube. Tape or glue in place (tape is less messy!)
Wrapping colourful tape around the middle of the drum

Step 4

Decorate the drum using patterned tape, paint, stickers, felt tips or whatever you like.
Attaching string with beads on it to the drum using multilcoloured tape

Step 5

Thread some beads onto some string, and cut the string, making sure that it will be the right length to hit the drum when attached rolled between the palms. Then, tape these strings either side of the drum.
A hand drum with colourful beads, on a long wooden stick

Step 6

With supervision, make a hole in the base of the drum to insert your stick or straw, and slide it in. You may need to glue it in place. Then your drum is done! Roll it between your palms to use.
Hands colouring in small beige beads with a purple felt-tip pen

Top tip

  • Make it more colourful by colouring in the beads