Make Your Own Rainstick

Making a rainstick is a fun craft for kids. We made these rainsticks at our art camp, and even my ten-year-old son said, “This is a quality craft!” Here’s what you need:

1. Heavy-duty cardboard tube. You can make them from smaller tubes, such as a paper towel tube or wrapping paper tube, but for a quality craft that will last, use something heavier, such as a thick tube from a carpet store. The tubes we used came from a printing company; they were happy to give them away, as they were going to just dispose of them anyway. These tubes were about two and a half feet long; though we could have cut them, they made great rainsticks!

2. Two cardboard circles, cut a little bigger than the ends of the tube. To do this, place the tube upright on the cardboard and draw around it, making a circle on the cardboard. Cut around the circle with scissors, making sure you stay about an inch away from the circle you drew.

3. Large nails

4. Hammer

5. Ball Point Pen

6. Colored duck tape

7. Beans or Rice

8. Glossy Acrylic Craft Paints

9. Paint Brushes

10. Water in a container

11. Paper towel

How to Put it together:

1. To begin, draw a line on your tube starting on one end and moving diagonally down the tube. Your line will go around and around the tube until you get to the other end.

2. Starting on the same end of the tube but the opposite side, draw another line moving diagonally down the tube. The two lines will cross several times before you get to the other end.

3. Next, place the nails along the lines you drew by hammering them into the tube so only the head of the nail is showing. Use as many nails as you’d like, but remember, the more nails you use, the more sound you will hear as the rice or beans hit the nails.

4. It’s time to be creative! Color your cardboard tube with the acrylic paints, using the water to clean your brushes when you change colors. You can find design ideas for rain sticks on the Internet, or you can make up your own. By using glossy paints, your finished stick will have a nice shine to it. Paint directly over the nails.

5. To add the first “end” of your rainstick, take one of the cardboard circles and cut slits along the side of it, from the edge of circle to the line you drew when you first traced it. These slits can be about an inch apart.

6. Next, place the cardboard circle on one end of the tube. You should have an inch or so overhanging the edge of the tube; this part of the cardboard circle has the slits in it. Press this extra cardboard down around the sides of the tube – because of the slits in the cardboard, this should be fairly easy to do. The cardboard is now shaped as a “cap” for the end of the tube. Fasten this cap to the tube with the colored duck tape (colored so you don’t need to paint it) by wrapping it around the cardboard cap and the tube. You can cover the whole end with duck tape to give it a finished look.

7. Tipping the tube over so the cap is on the bottom, pour beans (any size) or rice into the tube. Different sizes of beans create different sounds, so you may want to try out the various types of beans before you seal your tube. You can pour them into your tube, then pour them out again into a large mug or bowl to try something else. You can also use a combination of both beans and rice.

8. You’re almost done! Cap off the other end of the stick the same way you did the first one, using the second cardboard disc and duck tape. Your stick is now ready to use! Enjoy the rain!