For centuries, rainsticks have been used by native tribes for everything from ceremonial worship tool to musical instrument. Most commonly, they are used to thank and appease the “rain spirits” to ensure the continuation of life-giving rain. While some debate the origin of the rainstick (early examples have been discovered in South America and Southern Asia), all agree that the rainstick is very much a product of its environment. With bamboo so plentiful on this planet, it is a popular material choice.
Here’s what you need to make your bamboo rainstick:
Bamboo – 1 to 3 feet long, about 3 inches in diameter
Long drill bit
Wooden kabob skewers
½ inch thick piece of wood
Filler (beans, rice, beads, popcorn kernels, bird seed, kitty litter, sand or pebbles)
To make your bamboo rainstick:
- Using the handsaw, cut the bamboo to desired length and remove the material inside using a metal rod or long drill bit. Use a long file, or a piece of sandpaper attached to a rod, and file the inside of the bamboo rainstick until it’s smooth so there will be no obstruction inside the bamboo. Use some sandpaper to file the ends if needed.
- Drill holes in the bamboo about 1 inch apart in two spiral rows down the length of the bamboo, using a drill bit that is the same width as the skewers you have. Put a dab of wood glue on the tip of the wooden skewers and push them into the holes until they are touching the other side. Repeat until all the holes are filled with a skewer.
- Once the glue has dried completely, clip off the skewer ends sticking out of the holes and sand the nubs.
- Cut two plugs from the ½ inch thick piece of wood to put in the ends of your rainstick. The plugs should fit snugly, but not too tight or you risk splitting the bamboo. Put wood glue around the edge of one of the plugs and insert it into the end of your rainstick. Let the glue dry completely.
- Put filler into the rainstick. Feel free to experiment with different types until you get the sound that you desire. Put wood glue on the second plug and insert into the end of the rainstick.
- Let the glue dry completely. Decorate your rainstick as you choose.
Bring on the rain! And visit Green Earth News on Friday to see a ceremonial tribal dance with rainsticks!
Be sure to check out our Bamboo Crafts section for more great craft ideas.
Bamboo rainstick craft courtesy of ehow.com.