Here on the island music is an important part of our lives. There are many ways that we use bamboo to make musical instruments. One of the instruments I love to make is a rain stick.
We have plenty of bamboo here and it is easy to find the supplies that I need to make different musical instruments. We also take the bamboo and make an acoustic instrument that uses 4 different sizes of bamboo. The bamboo is mounted on a stand that displays the bamboo in a line. Sticks are used to hit the bamboo and play the music. Other people will carve out a small reed of bamboo and make a nose flute to play.
Total Time: 4 to 5 hours
Yield: 1 rain stick
1 small drill bit
1 piece of bamboo cut with one open end and just the other end after the joint so the bottom is closed
1 Package bamboo skewers
1 Package dried rice
1 Package dried popcorn
1 Package dried beans such as split peas
tube of glue
The piece of bamboo is cut just below the joint on one end so that the end of the bamboo is left open. The other side of the bamboo is cut just below the joint so the end is closed.
Take a small handheld drill or a Dremel that has a small drill bit attached to the drill or Dremel and start to drill the holes in the bamboo. You'll need to choose a drill bit that is slightly bigger than the wooden skewers you are using. You don't want to make a giant hole in the bamboo. You only want to drill the holes on one side of the bamboo and not all the way around.
Start to insert the wooden skewers in the holes of the bamboo.
Use the glue to add a drop of glue to each hole and make sure it seals the bamboo.
Once the glue has dried use a pair of wire cutters to trim off the extra length of the wooden skewer. You can use these pieces to fill in the rest of your holes. I normally add 10 wooden skewers at a time, glue them in place, and trim off the extra length.
Continue to add the wooden skewers in the holes, glue them in place, and cut off the extra.
When this is finished, the holes will be filled and you'll have stubs of wood sticking out.
Take your handheld sander and start to sand off the extra pieces of wood so that the surface is smooth.
When you're done, it is time to fill the bamboo stick with your rice and grains. Turn the stick so that you can see the crisscross wooden skewers on the inside of the bamboo tube.
Fill a 2 cup measuring cup with your grain.
Dump the grain into your tube.
Cut a round plug the size of the opening of your tube and glue this in place. I used a scrap piece of wood I had laying around the house. It was a 1x2 inch piece of wood. You draw the circle on the wood and cut it out with a saw. To make it fit into the hole you can use your Demel and cut it down a bit or use the sander to sand off a little of the wood so it fits tight in the hole.
Allow the glue to dry before you take shoe polish and stain the outside of the bamboo tube.
You can now braid some string and decorate your rainstick with different objects you have around the house. When placing the braided cord on the bamboo, make sure that you glue this in place so it won't slip around when you are playing the instrument.
Now all you need to do is turn the rainstick up and down to pass the grain through the wooden skewers in the middle of the stick. This sounds like rain when you play this instrument. It is a simple instrument that you can make at home and have hours of fun playing.