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There are many musical instruments in the Museum that tell stories about the people who made or played them. You can make an instrument at home with everyday materials, following our examples.

How to make a drum or chimes

 	A blue tin with 'DANTE' written at the top and 'MINERVA SA' at the base. An image of a man dressed in red appears in a central circle on the tin. Bamboo tubing extends from one end.
A dàn tre or bamboo instrument handcrafted by Vietnamese refugee Minh Tam Nguyen

Skill level: ★ Easy 
Time:
30 minutes

What you need:

Drum:

  • a short piece of cardboard tube or PVC pipe, about 10–15 cm wide. You might need an adult to cut it for you
  • strong packing tape or a balloon
  • pencils or short sticks to use as drum sticks
  • decorative materials such as paper, cardboard, string, feathers, stickers and textas.

Chimes:

  • one long stick (about 20–30 cm) and one shorter stick
  • fishing line, wool or string
  • metal or ceramic objects such as bolts, screws, old keys (preferably with holes that can be threaded or tied)
  • tape.

Remember: scissors, are sharp! Ask an adult for help if needed.

Drum

Two decorated drums. One is decorated with cardboard and red and yellow tape, the other is decorated with string and feathers.
  • Take your tube and completely cover one end tightly with tape to make the drum skin. Or you could cut up a balloon, stretch it over the end and secure tightly with tape.
  • Decorate your drum with your own personal design. Use feathers and string for an exotic look or coloured paper for a different theme.
  • If you want to be even more creative, decorate your drum sticks too.

Make a couple of drums, bind or glue them together and you can create a drum set!

Chimes

A set of chimes made from a stick wrapped in wool and string that has a variety of bolts and screws dangling from it.
  • Wrap tape, wool or string around the ends of your long stick to ensure that the chimes you make won’t slip off the end.
  • Cut lengths of line or string for as many objects you have to hang.
  • Tie the objects with the string along the stick, evenly spaced. You might need an adult to help you with this, as it can be a bit tricky.
  • Use another stick to gently strike your chimes, or hang it outside to hear music playing in the breeze.

Can you think of other household items that you might be able to use to create an instrument? Have fun playing your new instruments!

Share your creation

We’d love to see your creation by emailing us a photo to: programs@nma.gov.au

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