Thursday, October 23, 2008

Create Your Own African Djembe Drum

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.

Supplies Needed:

Two plastic, Styrofoam, or paper cups








Punching balloon

Rubber band

Yarn (optional)

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.

Let the paint dry.

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).

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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

wow, this is really cool!

Anonymous said...

NaNo starts in one week and I am woefully short on ideas. Hopefully my kickoff party tomorrow will help get me started. Do you know what you will be writing about yet?

Jessica said...

Anonymous, I hope you enjoy making your own!

Jessica said...

I am so excited for NaNo. I have done tons of planning including making character sheets for all the main characters, outlining, and now I'm making an extended outline. This year's novel is for adults, so it should actually end up being longer than 50K (though maybe not in Novemember!).

I hope your kickoff party was fun. Sometimes just being around other people and hearing their ideas can spark something in your own mind. I'm sure you'll think of something to write about. You're creative.

Just 4 more days!

Anonymous said...

Yess!! This is really cool

Jessica said...

Thanks! I hope you have fun making your own.

Unknown said...
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Danny said...

Wow! This is really cool! I'm suprised I never thought of this. Thanks!

carriet8900 said...

How long does this project usually take? drying and all?

Ken Ferguson said...

I just made one of these as practice before making them with 110 third graders. It turned out great! From cutting the cups to paper mache was about 30 minutes for me - including mixing the glue. It dried overnight and took less than 5 minutes to cover with a solid color. That dried in about 10 minutes, then I got the balloon on top and was playing away.

Day 1 = 30 minutes
(dry overnight)
Day 2 = 20 minutes (add time for painting designs and letting those dry)

It sounds great.

here' s a link to a 1-minute time lapse of the process: