How to Make a Drum Out of a Can: A Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting Your Own Instrument

Are you looking for a unique and creative way to make music? Look no further than your own recycling bin! In this guide, we’ll show you how to turn an ordinary can into a drum that you can use to create your own beats. It’s a fun and easy project that requires just a few basic materials and some imagination. So grab a can, a pair of scissors, and some string, and let’s get started on our journey to make a drum out of a can.

Materials Needed

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  • Can (preferably a 16 oz. soda can)
    • The can should be clean and dry before starting the process. A 16 oz. soda can is ideal as it provides a good balance between size and portability.
  • Drill
    • A drill is necessary to create the hole for the drumstick and to tighten the tension rods. It should have a 1/4 inch drill bit.
  • Drill bit (1/4 inch)
    • The drill bit should be 1/4 inch in size to create the hole for the drumstick.
  • Ruler
    • A ruler is used to measure and mark the can for cutting.
  • Pencil
    • A pencil is used to mark the can before cutting.
  • Pliers
    • Pliers are used to tighten and loosen the tension rods.
  • Sandpaper
    • Sandpaper is used to smooth the edges of the can after cutting.
  • Hammer
    • A hammer is used to flatten the can after cutting.
  • Adhesive (glue or super glue)
    • Adhesive is used to secure the tension rods and the drumhead.
  • Lighter or heat gun
    • A lighter or heat gun is used to shrink the drumhead.
  • Metal scraps (optional)
    • Metal scraps can be used to create a tension rod if one is not available.

Choosing the Right Can

Key takeaway: To make a drum out of a can, choose the right can size, material, and shape. Prepare the can by punching holes and attaching the drumhead. Create a sturdy drum rim using wood or plastic. Assemble the drum by attaching the drumhead, adding snare wires, and attaching the legs. Follow proper techniques to play the drum.

When it comes to making a drum out of a can, choosing the right can is crucial to the success of the project. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a can:

  • Size: The size of the can will affect the sound of the drum. A larger can will produce a deeper, more resonant sound, while a smaller can will produce a higher-pitched sound.
  • Material: The material of the can will also affect the sound of the drum. Aluminum cans are the most common choice, but steel cans can also be used to create a different sound.
  • Shape: The shape of the can can also affect the sound of the drum. Round cans tend to produce a more resonant sound, while rectangular cans can produce a sharper, more defined sound.
  • Condition: The condition of the can is also important. A new can will produce a better sound than an old, dented can.

By taking these factors into consideration, you can select the right can for your project and create a drum that produces the sound you desire.

Preparing the Can

Before starting the process of making a drum out of a can, it is important to properly prepare the can. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Clean the can: The first step is to clean the can thoroughly. Rinse it with water and remove any labels or residue.
  2. Measure the can: Measure the can to determine the diameter and height. This will help you determine the size of the drumhead and the type of drumsticks you will need.
  3. Punch holes: Punch holes around the can, about an inch apart, using a nail or a drill. This will be the point where the drumsticks will hit the can and create sound.
  4. Attach the drumhead: Attach the drumhead to the can using duct tape or another adhesive. Make sure the drumhead is tight and secure.
  5. Tune the drum: Once the drumhead is attached, use a screwdriver or a stick to adjust the tension of the drumhead. This will help you achieve the desired sound.

By following these steps, you will have a properly prepared can that is ready for the next stage of the drum-making process. Remember to take your time and be patient, as proper preparation is key to creating a high-quality drum.

Drum Head Preparation

When it comes to choosing the right material for the drum head, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost, the material should be durable and able to withstand the impact of playing. Additionally, it should be able to produce a clear and resonant sound when struck. Some common materials used for drum heads include Mylar, polyester, and synthetic blends.

Once you have chosen the appropriate material for your drum head, the next step is to prepare it for attaching to the can. This typically involves cutting the material to the desired size and shape, and attaching it to the rim of the can using a strong adhesive. It’s important to ensure that the drum head is securely attached to the can, as this will affect the sound quality of the instrument.

Attaching the Drum Head

  • Step 1: Gather the necessary materials, including a drumhead, drum key, and can.
  • Step 2: Clean the can thoroughly with soap and water to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Step 3: Using a drum key, stretch the drumhead over the opening of the can, making sure it is taut and secure.
  • Step 4: Use the drum key to tighten the drumhead, making sure it is evenly tensioned.
  • Step 5: Use a sharp object, such as a knife or scissors, to trim any excess drumhead material.
  • Step 6: Test the drumhead by tapping on it with your finger. If it sounds good, move on to the next step. If not, adjust the tension of the drumhead and try again.
  • Step 7: Once the drumhead is attached and tensioned properly, you can proceed with the rest of the steps to complete your drum.

It’s important to take your time when attaching the drumhead to ensure that it is secure and properly tensioned. A loose drumhead can lead to poor sound quality and a lack of control over the instrument. By following these steps, you can ensure that your drumhead is properly attached and ready for use.

Making the Drum Rim

Creating the drum rim is a crucial step in making your own drum out of a can. The rim provides stability and support for the drumhead, and it is essential to ensure that it is made correctly. Here are the steps to create the drum rim:

  1. Measure the can: The first step is to measure the diameter of the can to determine the size of the drum rim. The rim should be slightly larger than the diameter of the can to ensure that it fits snugly.
  2. Cut the rim: Cut a piece of wood or plastic that is slightly larger than the diameter of the can. This will be the base for the drum rim.
  3. Cut the rim strips: Cut strips of wood or plastic that are slightly wider than the diameter of the can. These strips will be used to form the rim.
  4. Assemble the rim: Begin by attaching the base to the top of the can. Then, attach the rim strips to the base, overlapping them slightly to create a solid rim.
  5. Sand the rim: Once the rim is assembled, use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges or bumps.
  6. Paint the rim: Finally, paint the rim with a durable paint to protect it from moisture and to give it a finished look.

By following these steps, you can create a sturdy drum rim that will provide a solid foundation for your drum. It is important to take your time and ensure that each step is completed correctly to ensure the success of the rim-making process.

Assembling the Drum

  • Putting everything together
    • Attaching the drumhead
      • Using a mallet to tighten the drumhead
      • Checking for any wrinkles or bubbles
    • Adding the snare wires
      • Positioning the snare wires evenly
      • Tightening the snare wires
    • Attaching the legs
      • Using screws or bolts to secure the legs
      • Ensuring the legs are stable and level
  • Tips for a successful assembly process
    • Make sure all the parts are clean and dry before assembly
    • Use a level to ensure the drum is balanced
    • Take your time and be patient during the assembly process
    • If you encounter any difficulties, refer to the instructions or seek help from a professional.

At this stage, you will be adding the finishing touches to your drum, ensuring that it looks and sounds its best. This section will provide you with some tips to help you achieve a successful finishing process.

Firstly, it is important to ensure that your drum is well-sanded. Use a fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges or imperfections on the surface of the drum. It is recommended to use a sanding block or sandpaper attached to a sanding board to ensure that you have a consistent surface.

Next, you will need to apply a sealant or primer to the surface of the drum. This will help to protect the drum from any damage and ensure that it looks professional. There are many different types of sealants and primers available, so choose one that is suitable for your needs.

Once the sealant or primer has dried, you can apply a layer of paint or finish to the surface of the drum. Choose a color that you like, or match it to your personal style. Be sure to use a high-quality paint or finish to ensure that the drum looks and sounds its best.

Finally, you can add any additional decorations or details to the drum. This could include stickers, decals, or other design elements. These details can help to make your drum unique and personalized to your own style.

Overall, the finishing touches are an important part of the drum-making process. By following these tips, you can ensure that your drum looks and sounds its best, and is ready to be played.

Once you have gathered all the necessary materials and tools, it’s time to start assembling the drum. Here are some tips and ideas to help you customize and personalize your drum:

Customizing the Drum

  • Experiment with different materials: While a plastic soda can is the traditional material for making a drum, you can also try using other materials like metal containers or wooden blocks. Experimenting with different materials can produce unique sounds and tones.
  • Changing the diameter of the drum: The diameter of the drum affects the sound it produces. You can try different sizes of cans or use different materials to achieve a desired sound.
  • Adding resonators: Resonators are objects that amplify the sound of the drum. You can add objects like pieces of PVC pipes or metal scraps to the drum to increase its volume and projection.

Personalizing the Drum

  • Painting or decorating the drum: You can give your drum a personal touch by painting it with unique designs or patterns. You can also decorate it with stickers, beads, or other craft materials.
  • Adding a handle: A handle can make it easier to play the drum and carry it around. You can attach a handle to the drum using strong adhesive or drill a hole and attach a metal handle.
  • Incorporating found objects: You can add personal touches to your drum by incorporating found objects like coins, keys, or buttons. These objects can produce unique sounds when hit with the drumstick.

By following these tips and ideas, you can create a drum that is not only functional but also a reflection of your personal style and creativity.

Playing the Drum

Playing the drum you’ve crafted out of a can is an exciting and rewarding experience. To ensure a successful drumming experience, it’s important to learn proper techniques and follow some essential tips. Here are some guidelines to help you get started:

  • Hold the Drum Stick Properly: The way you hold the drum stick can significantly impact your drumming technique. It’s essential to hold the stick with a relaxed grip, keeping your wrists and arms loose. This will allow you to play the drum with ease and precision.
  • Develop a Good Stroke Technique: A good stroke technique is crucial for producing clear and consistent sounds on the drum. The stroke technique involves striking the drumhead with the right pressure and speed. Experiment with different strokes, such as downward and upward strokes, to find the one that works best for you.
  • Maintain Proper Posture: Posture is important when playing the drum, as it can affect your technique and endurance. Sit with your back straight and feet flat on the ground, keeping your body relaxed. Avoid crossing your arms or resting them on the drum, as this can cause tension and affect your playing.
  • Practice Different Rhythms: Practice playing different rhythms and beats to improve your drumming skills. Experiment with various drumming patterns and syncopated rhythms to develop your own unique style. You can also practice playing along with music or following drumming tutorials online.
  • Use the Right Amount of Pressure: Applying the right amount of pressure is crucial for producing clear and balanced sounds on the drum. Use enough pressure to create a clear sound, but avoid overplaying, which can cause a harsh or muddy sound.
  • Use Drumming Accessories: There are various drumming accessories, such as drum brushes and drumstick holders, that can enhance your playing experience. Drum brushes can create a softer and more delicate sound, while drumstick holders can help you maintain proper posture and avoid tension in your arms.

By following these tips and practicing regularly, you can develop your drumming skills and create your own unique drumming style using your homemade drum out of a can.


1. What materials do I need to make a drum out of a can?

To make a drum out of a can, you will need a metal can, such as an aluminum soda can, a rubber mallet or a hammer, a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, and some duct tape. You will also need some scissors or a craft knife to cut the foil and tape.

2. How do I prepare the can for drumming?

To prepare the can for drumming, you will need to remove the label from the can and clean it thoroughly with soap and water. Then, using the scissors or craft knife, cut the top of the can off, creating a flat surface. Next, use the aluminum foil to cover the open end of the can, shaping it into a circle that fits snugly over the top of the can. Finally, use the duct tape to secure the foil in place, making sure it is tight and secure.

3. How do I create a drumming surface on the can?

To create a drumming surface on the can, you will need to take the sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil and cut it into a circle that is slightly larger than the diameter of the can. Then, use the scissors or craft knife to cut a small hole in the center of the foil circle. Next, carefully place the foil circle over the top of the can, making sure it is centered and secure. Finally, using the rubber mallet or hammer, tap on the foil circle to create a rhythmic pattern.

4. Can I use any type of can to make a drum?

Yes, you can use any type of metal can to make a drum, but aluminum soda cans are the most commonly used because they are readily available and easy to work with. However, you can also use other types of metal cans, such as tin cans or coffee cans, to create your own drum.

5. How long does it take to make a drum out of a can?

Making a drum out of a can is a relatively quick and easy process, and it typically takes less than an hour to complete. The time it takes to make a drum will depend on how quickly you can gather the materials and how skilled you are at cutting the foil and taping the can. However, with a little practice, you should be able to make a drum in just a few minutes.

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