Selfmade Rainsticks – cheap, easy, great for kids!

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The easiest way to make a Rain StickDo you need an easy, cheap craft idea for kids? When it’s nasty and rainy outside, I love to create these rainsticks. I tell the kids that we can make our own rain now, so the clouds might think: “Hey, it’s already raining down there, I guess we can stop” :)
But as you can see in the pics, it works in spring or summer, too – then you can say that nature needs a lot of rain to make the flowers grow.

This tutorial isn’t only easy, it’s very cheap even for large groups. Anything you need is available at your local hardware storeI love hardware stores! I can spend hours there, and I come up with great ideas how I can re-purpose things! These rainsticks, for example.. Here we go:

You need:

  • foam insulation tubes (approx. 2 inches in diameter)
  • cutter knife
  • a large pack of wire nails (ca. 1-1.5 inches long)
  • scissors
  • rice or gravel
  • plaster bandages (or large sheets of paper)
  • paint brushes (or felt tip pens)
  • acrylic paint

Prepare one rainstick so you can show it to the kids.

Of each tube, cut approx. 4 inches off. Cut the rest in half: you’ll get two rainsticks from one tube.

Now take the wire nails and stick them into the foam (if you like, you can draw a spiral around the tube and use it as a guide). Tell the children to leave at least a thumb-tip wide space between the nails.

With the cutter knife, cut round plugs from the foam. Their width should be as large as the tube’s diameter. Do this while the children are busy with the nails. Stick a plug into one end of the tube. Fixate it with 3-4 wire nails. Into the other side of the tube, pour half a cup of rice or gravel.

Close this side with another plug.

For young kids: Let them draw on large paper. This artwork can be wrapped around the tubes, simply attach it with a few more wire nails. Easy and mess-free :D

For older kids: Cut the plaster bandages to the length of the tubes. Pull a bandage through a bowl with water and flatten the bandage on the tube. Repeat until the tube is covered with two layers of plaster. After the plaster has dried, paint the tubes with acrylic paint.
By the way, the rainsticks sound really great!

The plaster-and-paint version is not suitable for indoors – except if you’re into scrubbing tables and floors.. Here are some pics from a rainstick project in summer. Afterwards, some dads had fun with the garden hose.

This tutorial was first published in 2011, here’s a revised version.

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