Well, I'm a percussionist and I spent the last 3 and a half years since I started without a practice pad (surprisingly). Yes, practice pads are pretty cheap (you could get one for $15 from Remo), but I much prefer making my own. I also had all of the parts available already. It took about a day to make this and write up the instructable.
So for this instructable, you will need the following:
THREE 1'x1'x3/8" (one square foot by 3/8 inch) pieces of particle board
SIX screws, nuts, and washers
ONE Dremel with vertical cutting bit and drill press stand
ONE sanding block with sand paper
ONE can of polyurethane or equivalent wood sealant
ONE drum head
ONE bottle of wood glue
some sort of padding (I used an old undershirt)
and the following basic items: pencil/pen, compass, protractor, ruler, safety glasses, face mask
Jigsaws cause wood chips to fly everywhere. It's a good idea to wear safety glasses. Also, please wear a mask when sanding. Wood dust in the lungs isn't as bad as fiberglass, but let's keep anything that's not normally part of the air out of our lungs shall we?
Step 1: Taking Measurements
Measuring things out is always important. Make sure the pieces of particle board are large enough so that you can cut out circles that have radii 1/2" larger than that of the entire drum head. You're going to need that to put screw through later.