My version or the rainstick is a bit less exotic. I decided to make it out of an old wood window blind I had in my garage for years. The idea comes from this excellent video from Steve Ramsey. I reproduced his version of the rainstick. My 2 cents are for the recycling of these old wood window blinds.
A rainstick is a long, hollow tube which is filled with small pebbles or beans and has small pins or thorns arranged hectically on its inside surface. When the stick is upended, the pebbles fall to the other end of the tube, making a sound reminiscent of a rainstorm as they bounce off the pins. Rain sticks have become very popular in the last 200 years, and are often sold to tourists.
The rainstick is believed to have been invented in Peru, and was played in the belief that it could bring about rainstorms.
- Wikipedia -
My kid, Thomas, showing the final result.
Step 1: Deconstruct the Blind
Except for the boards, there is not much to save in an old blind. I saved the boards, the control ropes and sent everything else to the garbage.
Step 2: Cut 30 Degrees Bevels on the Sides of the Boards
Since these are thin boards, it may be difficult to cut it perfectly right. Thin boards can bend if too much pressure is applied while cutting.
Step 3: Assemble the Boards With Tape
Once the boards are perfectly aligned, tape all the pieces together using masking tape. Start by applying three perpendicular pieces of tape and then apply long pieces over the joints. Make sure the surfaces are clean so that the tape stick firmly to the boards.
Step 4: Apply Glue and Close the Tube
Close the tube using masking tape. Once the tube is closed, "clamp" the assembly using multiple pass of masking tape. Let the assembly dry for a few hours.
Step 5: Cut the Two Ends
Once both ends are cut, find the center of the pieces and drill a hole the size of the wood dowel you will use for the project. I used a Fostner bit to make the hole and stopped about 1/16" before piercing the other side so we dont see the wood dowel when the rainstick is finished.
Step 6: Cut the Wood Dowel to Length
Step 7: Glue One End to the Wood Dowel
Step 8: Cut Expanded Metal Lath Baffles
The expanded metal lath I used is made to apply plaster on irregular surfaces. Make sure to wear gloves because the the lath is very sharp.
Step 9: Assemble the Baffles on the Wood Dowel
Try to align them as much as you can. You will be able to make some minor ajustement when inserting the assembly into the tube.
Step 10: Rainstick Final Assembly
Once the baffles are in place, glue the end to the tube and let it dry for about an hour. Then, add one to two cups of rice or whatever you want to produce sound. You can try different materials to obtain the sound you want before to glue the other end.
Once the tube is filled with the material of your choice, glue the other end to the assembly and let it dry.
Because there are small holes in the boards to let the ropes pass through, you will need to find a way to close it. I opted for black electrical tape.
Step 11: You Are Done!
The kids love it. That is a good way to initiate kids do exotic musical instruments ... until they break it and spill the rice all over the place.