After stumbling upon this post from The Imagination Tree a little while ago, I knew we had to try making rain sticks of our own. We had a few really heavy duty cardboard tubes already on hand (two from rolled art paper and one from our Stuck on You parcel – review to come soon!) and since we’ve recently been collecting and making instruments for Gracen’s collection, it was the perfect project.
To get started, we collected a bunch of things from around the house… An assortment of pantry goods (beans, rice, and popcorn seeds to be exact), a hammer and some small nails, these duct tape sheets Grae picked out on our most recent States trip, some fluorescent dot stickers for decorating, and the cardboard tubes of course. (We also got out a Sharpie, a pair of scissors, and a small tin can out part way through the project.)
Here’s a better look at just how sturdy our tubes were. Like mentioned on Imagination Tree, ordinary paper towel and toilet paper rolls are not thick enough and won’t work for this project. Basically, you want your tube to be sturdy enough to withstand nails being pounded into it, and sturdy enough to hold the nails in afterwards.
Although this next part was a little too tricky for Grae to do on her own, she sure enjoyed helping. Using flat-headed nails that were almost as long as the diameter of the tube, we pounded them into the cardboard roll at random intervals. What worked best for us was hammering the nails in together using a hand-on-hand technique or having Grae hammer nails that I’d already put halfway through.
Here’s what the inside of our tube looked like once we’d finished with the hammering job. Of course, the more nails you add, the slower the beans or seeds will move through the tube, meaning a longer ‘rainfall’.
Next, we traced the end of our tube onto the backside of a duct tape sheet together two times and cut the circles out.
Then, using a small tin can, we traced and cut out two larger circles too.
In order to seal off the end of the tube without having our seeds stick to the duct tape, we placed the smaller circle in the centre of larger circle (sticky sides together).
Then carefully placed and sealed the larger duct tape circle over one end of the tube.
Next, my little helper chose her filling (popcorn seeds) and added a few handfuls to the tube. (She wanted the tube to stand on its own without falling over and was having no luck, so she quickly went and retrieved this mason jar from the kitchen… Of course, being her mama, I thought this was quite brilliant.)
With our seeds added, we created another double-layered duct tape circle and sealed off the second side.
At this point, you could really decorate the outside of the rain stick with anything, provided you ensure the nails are covered and cannot be removed by curious little fingers. We decided to use our duct tape sheets since they secure the nails and look pretty all at once. The bonus was that they were also the perfect width to fit the length our small tubes, so all we had to do was cut them in half to avoid wrapping around the tube more than once.
I positioned the tube onto the duct tape paper and Miss G gave it a good roll.
And there you have it – a fluorescent pink and leopard print duct tape rain stick!
Of course, nothing in this house is complete without being plastered with stickers, so on went a bunch of fluorescent dots.
Here’s our finished collection.
2 thoughts on “Homemade Rain Sticks”
I absolutely loved your tutorial of how to make these. My kids had them when they were little and loved them. It was one of their favorite things to play with. I wanted to find one for my granddaughters so they too could have fun with them. Now we can make them thanks to your instructions!