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Maracas (Oranges)

Maracas (Oranges)
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Learn how to make maracas using oranges, paper mache, tissue paper and glue.

By Andrea Mulder-Slater

Musical Instruments that you bang, scrape or shape are called percussion instruments. Some examples of percussion instruments are drums, rainsticks, xylophones and maracas.

Maracas were originally made from the dried shells of gourds with beads or beans inside that rattled around and made lots of shuck-a-shuck-a-shuck-a noises.

You can make maracas using simple materials from around the home.

What You Need:

  • 1 large orange
  • 3/4 inch dowel (7″-10″ long)
  • newspapers ripped into small pieces and strips
  • tissue paper ripped into strips
  • wallpaper paste & white glue & water
  • containers for the wallpaper paste
  • dried peas, coffee beans, popcorn kernels
  • petroleum jelly
  • an x-acto blade (and adult supervision)
  • paint, paintbrushes and water

What You Do:

  1. Put a thin coat of petroleum jelly on the orange
  2. Cover the orange with six or so layers of newspaper dipped in the paper mache paste (see directions at the end of the lesson)
  3. For the final few coats, layer colorful tissue paper dipped in paste over the orange.
  4. Let dry
  5. Once dry, draw a line around the paper covered orange and cut with an x-acto blade. REQUIRES ADULT SUPERVISION
  6. Take the halves apart ( the petroleum jelly will prevent the paper from sticking to the orange) and leave them to dry thoroughly.
  7. Next, in the center of one of the halves, cut a small hole the same diameter as the dowel.
  8. Glue or tape the 2 halves together.
  9. Pour a handful of the peas, coffee beans or popcorn kernels into the small hole that you cut earlier.
  10. Glue the dowel in the hole and tape it to make sure it is secure.
  11. Paint the maraca, let dry and shake… then make another for a pair.

Make your own maracas

Paper Mache Paste

  • First mix up a batch of paper mache mix. Do this by mixing powdered wallpaper paste and water to the consistency of thick cream. (Instructions can be found on the wallpaper paste package).
  • ***You can also use a mixture of flour and water but the wallpaper paste is inexpensive enough and it seems to work a little nicer***
  • Add a touch of glue to make the paste nice and sticky.
  • Tear newspaper or newsprint into small manageable pieces.
  • Cover whatever you are working on with about 4 or 5 layers of newspaper or newsprint pieces dipped in the wallpaper paste.
  • Let dry between layers.

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