Monday, January 3, 2011

Make Your Own Rainstick

Ever since we started this craft blog, I've channeled my inner hoarder and have refused to toss any cardboard tube for fear that I would come up with a good idea and not have any cardboard tubes in sight.  During my post-holiday cleaning all of this craft clutter is driving me nuts, so I started to wrack my brain for something to build with the tubes.  This afternoon we made a pre-schooler friendly rainstick.  It came out ok.  It does sound like the rain if you tilt it very slowly.  But see the instructions below how to make this craft even better!
I know, this isn't pretty -- but remember I'm working with a 4 year old!
Age: 3+ (however my 20 month old already loves to shake this!)
Mess/Cleanup:  5 minute cleanup, unless you include the paint.  It took me at least 5 minutes to scrub down each kid.
Time: 30 minutes
What You Need:
  • Cardboard Tube.  We used a paper towel tube, but I think a wrapping paper tube would work much better.
  • Popcicle Sticks (or staight pins or toothpicks.  We used popcicle sticks since I was working with my preschooler)
  • Beans, Plastic Beads, Couscous, or Rice (We used lentils and couscous, but I think plastic beads would produce a better effect)
  • Masking Tape
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Glue/Hot Glue (if using toothpicks or popcicle sticks)
  • Paint and/or embellishments

Step 1:
Have an adult poke some slits in the tube.  I used a flathead screwdriver, but a sharp scissor would also work.  Following the the "roll line" of the cardboard tube, poke a slit about every inch or two.  You do not have to poke through both sides (for what it's worth, I did this and I think that overcomplicated the project).  If you are using straight pins, no need to pre-poke holes.  The more "obstructions" you create with the toothpicks, popcicle sticks, or toothpicks the longer it will take for your beads to fall through the tooth.  This will create a longer rainfall effect.


Step 2:
If using popcicle sticks, cut about 10 of them in half.  Poke the rounded end into tube (my son loved this step).  Have an adult trim all of the pieces so they are almost flush with the edge of the tube. If I do this craft again with an older child, I think I will use straight pins.  Much easier to press into tube and I think it would result in a better sound.
Step 3:
If using toothpicks or popcicle sticks, have an adult place dollops of glue over the edge of the stick.  This will prevent the sticks from falling out.  If using straight pins, run a strip of masking tape over the pin heads to secure them to the tube.

This looks so gross.  Sorry.  But the glue holds the sticks in place.
Step 4:
Using a few strips of masking tape, close up one end.  Run a strip of take around the tube to clean up the ragged tape edges.  Because I didn't create a cover for the end of the tube, some of the couscous and lentils were stuck to the tape.  I don't think it made a big difference in the overall sound, but you could always cut out a circle for the end of the tube and affix that.

Step 5:
Fill tube with beads, beans, rice, etc.  You don't need much.  You may want to experiment with the sound by pouring in some beads, covering one end, and flipping it over.  Once you find the desired effect, close up the tube with more masking tape.

Step 6:
Decorate the tube.

Did you know rainsticks are ceremonial musical instruments used to invoke the rain spirits? They are made by people who live in the deserts of northern Chile. In Chile, rainsticks are traditionally made from dead cactus tubes with hundreds of cactus spines hammered into the tube. Tiny lava pebbles cascade gently through the tube, sounding much like rain. (Enchanted Learning)
-Rose  @-}---

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