Coffee Can Drums

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Drums are an important part of life and ceremony in many cultures. Here is a simple method for you and your students to create a fun sounding drum as you celebrate the cultures of the world.

By Andrea Mudler-Slater

What You Need:

  • An empty coffee can (or oatmeal container) with a lid (small, large, whatever you have).
  • Construction paper, glue & scissors.
  • Paint or markers.
  • Paintbrushes & water.
  • Dowels or sticks from trees in the park.
  • String, leather, feathers, beads… any bits of scrap material you might have.

What You Do:

  1. You have two options here. Either paint the coffee can with paint or cover the can with construction paper. Leave the plastic lid on the coffee can.  This will be your drum head.
  2. If you cover the coffee can with construction paper, you can paint or draw designs and creatures on the coffee can. Have a look at pictures of different kinds of drums and the images found on them. (Try covering the can with aluminum foil for a neat effect.)
  3. After the paint is dry, you can glue all sorts of wonderful things to your drum.
  4. Using wooden dowels or simply wooden sticks, drum away on your new coffee can drum.
  5. Older students may want to try pounding the bottom of the coffee can with a rubber mallet to make a Caribbean-style steel drum.

Make coffee can drums