Step 1: Materials
PVC - I bought one thing of 10ft long, 2 inch wide PVC. You can buy 2 foot pieces would, theoretically, still sound just like a rainstick. I just wanted a GIANT rainstick, so I bought this one. You can also buy the pipe thicker, up to 4 inches, but I didn't want to have to buy the extra length screws and the price different was pretty large.
My 10ft piece of 2 inch wide PVC was about 6 dollars, but it gave me enough pipe to make 2 rainsticks.
End caps - You need to cover the end of the pipe in some way, I'll cover other options at that step in the process but the easiest way is to buy end caps (located next to the PVC pipe). They run about 1.50 a piece, and usually make everything a lot easier. You will need 2 per rainstick.
Screws - I used 1 5/8 inch drywall screws, just because that was what i had around. However wide your PVC pipe is, make the screws as close to that length as possible. This allows optimal bounce-a-bility for your rainstick. Also, you will need a lot of these, my rainstick used at least 30-40.
A new thing of screws costs about 5-6 dollars, if you have old ones, use them! Good chance to get rid of some rusty, otherwise useless screws.
Filler! This is the fun part. You need some sort of small bouncy particles to be the "rain" in your rainstick. I used uncooked popcorn kernels and rice, but I've heard of people using beans, pebbles, marbles...be creative! The larger it is, the slower it falls, mix it up and no two rainsticks will sound the same!
Cheapest filler would be a bag of popcorn kernels, about 2 bucks AT MOST.
You will need a way to drill holes, and a screw driver. I used a dremel tool, as that was all I had in my apartment. If you know another way to put screws into the pipe, do it, but I didn't have a power screw driver, and even if I did I was afraid it might crack the PVC.
This is expensive. Borrow one if you don't have one.
Hot Glue Gun- Due to improper planning, I needed a glue stick. You might want one too, just to securely fasten all the screws in place. I would also suggest borrowing one if you don't have one, but honestly you should buy one. Hot glue is amazing for crafting, and almost essential in most of the stuff I do. Buy one at some point in the near future.
Hemp/cloth to wrap the pipe in
Stickers/markers/whatever else you want to decorate it with
Total necessary cost, if you have to buy EVERYTHING (but can borrow the tools)
Approximately 20-25 bucks for two 5 foot rainsticks. If you find things cheaper, but them cheaper!
Step 2: Drill the Holes!
I marked dots on the PVC in a spiral pattern, each one staggered down from the point below. The pictures make a little more sense, though with the lighting it is kind of hard to tell.
You can do any pattern of screws you want, I just did this because I found it easier and it looks pretty darn cool. I drilled all the holes I thought I needed and moved on to the next step.
I also attached one of the endcaps, mostly to see if they would all fit, and was unable to take it off. It doesn't really matter, and it gave me the motivation to keep going. I mean, you add an endcap and it actually starts to look like a rainstick, not just some frankenstein piece of PVC.
Step 3: Fill Those Holes!
This is a good time to test your rain stick. Put some of the materials you will use inside (again, I chose uncooked corn kernels and rice) and fill it up with whatever you think it the right amount. I started with about a cup or so of each. You should have one endcap on, so the collected "rain" should gather at one end.
If you hold your hand over the uncovered side and flip your rainstick, you can see how it sounds. If you think you need more filling, add more filling.
I personally thought that the "rain" was falling too fast, so I added a whole lot of screws into the middle to create a barrier of sorts and slow down the rainfall. Ultimately it worked, but it looked kind of bad. I would put more planning into your "rain" slowing tactics.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
The screws stick out, which I think gives it a cool, "industrial" type look and feel, but that can be modified. At this point, since my middle section looked terrible, I ended up wrapping it in some hemp to give it a little less industrial look. I think it turned out pretty good, but hey, I am also biased. This would also the the time to wrap it in any cloth you want to, draw on it, paint it, whatever you want! Wrapping it in cloth would make the screws less prominent and may be advised if it will be a child's playtoy, but hey...this is yours now. Be crazy and creative! Be warned, PVC is highly anti-spray paint. It can be done, but it needs FOREVER to dry, and even then I think it might still rub off. Acrylic paint is the way to go if you are planning on going all Michael Angelo on this creation.
Enjoy, and as soon as I finish the other one I'll see if I can remember to post pictures. If you make one, show me the pics so I can see the work! They are really fun, and mine sounds really good. The "rain" effect lasts almost 10 seconds with the added screws, which may not sound like much but beleive me, it is. I am also planning on maybe making this second one crazy full of screws, just to see how long I can make the rain effect last. Experiment! Go Crazy! This is easy, and fun.
Step 5: Other Endcaps
But you can use almost anything, duct tape, screening, anything you can cover the bottom with and secure in place via tape, glue, gum, or string. Like i said, be crazy about it. Usually makes for very good projects.
My video camera is out of juice and I can't find the charger. If I remember I'll throw on a video of the rainstick when I find everything.