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Level: Junior, Middle School, High School
Grades: 3 - 12 | Age: 8 and up | Written by: Written by: Andrea Mulder-Slater
[Andrea is one of the creators of]

Who would have thought that by taking a stroll,
back to the garden shed, by the flag pole,
you would find flower pots all in a pile.
Just looking them over brings on a smile.
For you know, like we know, that all you require
Are carpet tubes and an old rubber tire.
Now you can make your own African drum

Making objects from junk can be oh so much fun. A conga is an African drum traditionally made of hardwood and a cow-skin drum head. A dumbek is a goblet shaped drum from the Middle East. True dumbeks are made from a variety of materials, especially clay and metal - copper, bronze, aluminum. The dumbek has a variety of names, depending on where it is made. In Turkey, a dumbek is called a darbuka, while in Egypt, a dumbek is a tabula. You have most of the materials necessary to make a dumbek or conga drum, right in your own backyard.

What You Need:
What You Do:
  1. The first step is to cut a tube approximately 12" long.
  2. Cut a piece of your beach ball or plastic to size making sure to leave a couple of inches excess for overlapping later.
  3. Take the embroidery hoop apart, place the cut beach ball over the inner hoop and while stretching (you may need another pair of hands to help you) place the outer hoop over the plastic and inner hoop. This will become your drum head.
  4. Next, place the "drum head" on top of the plastic flower pot and using packing tape, secure in place.
  5. Set the plastic flower pot on top of one end of the tube and using packing tape, attach the flower pot to the cardboard tube.
  6. Finally, decorate your drum using paint, paper or fabric. You might wish to cover up the areas where you used tape by wrapping yarn or jute around your drum.

Made by You

Black and Gold
Click here to see photos of a beautiful drum created by Stephanie Gore

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