Like the African artisans you learned about yesterday, you can create your own Djembe (Jem-Bay) drum. This is a fun project, though it does take a bit a time. I recommend it for third graders and older.
Two plastic, Styrofoam, or paper cups
Cover your workspace. You’ll notice in the pictures how messy my towel got. Mix one cup of flour with two cups of water to make your papier mache paste. Tear newspaper into strips.
Choose two cups. Try to pick cups with interesting shapes. Cut the bottom out of the cups. You may need an adult to help with this step. Tape the bottoms of the cups together.
Cover the outside of the cups with a thin layer of papier mache covered newspaper strips. You don’t need to use a lot of the mixture to make the newspaper stick, and the less you use the quicker your cups will dry.
When the cups are dry, paint over the newspaper with white paint. This is just meant to cover up the newsprint and make sure it doesn’t show through the designs you paint onto your drum later.
Let the white paint dry. While you wait, decide what patterns or designs you want to paint onto your drum.
When the white paint has dried, paint over it with a solid color. I painted the top of my drum brown and the bottom yellow. You can choose any colors you want.
Now paint your patterns onto your drum.
Let the paint dry
Choose a punching balloon and cut it open. It’s best if you stick your scissors into the opening and just slit the balloon apart. This leaves it as whole as possible. Stretch the balloon over the top of the cup and wrap your rubber band around it to hold it in place. You want the balloon to be stretched tight. Ask an adult to help you if you have trouble with this. Cut off most of the extra balloon (careful—not too much
If you stop here, you have a lovely, working drum. You may choose to add yarn to your drum. This can be difficult but, if you’re up for the challenge, you can try it. Wrap a length of yarn about four times around the middle of your drum. Tie the ends together and tuck them back into the wraps. Wind another length of yarn around the top, tie the ends together and tuck them into the wraps.. Now weave a longer piece under the bottom wraps, then over the top wraps. Repeat until you’ve gone all the way around the drum. Tie the ends together and tuck them into the wraps.
Enjoy your drum!
Tomorrow: A story you can read when making your drum (while you wait for it to dry).