Introduction: DIY Capacitive Drum Set Played on PictoBlox (Scratch Based Graphical Programming Software)

About: STEMpedia is a place bringing project-making tools at one place- kits, online courses, coding platforms, controller app and tons of free learning resources.

Air drumming is quite popular these days. So, we thought why not make our own set of pretty simple air drums? And that is how we arrived at this simple yet fun project - DIY air drums with PictoBlox - a graphical programming software based on Scratch. All you need for this project are IR sensors, jumper cables, evive, and a lot of DIY-ing!

You can download PictoBlox from HERE.

Get ready for some air drumming for we’re beginning in 3, 2, 1… NOW!

Step 1: List of Components Required


  • evive
  • Cardboard Sheet
  • Colored Chart Paper
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Alligator Clips
  • Jumper Wires
  • Glue Gun
  • Soldering Rod


  • PictoBlox (Scratch based graphical programming platform)

Note: You can find the electronic component and hundreds of other electronics and mechanical component in evive Starter Kit.

Step 2: Collecting the Drum Pieces

The basic structure of the drum includes the top and bottom sides of the drum and the drum shell.

Taking the cutouts for the top and bottom sides:

The cardboard sheet will be the top and the bottom side of the drum.

We are going to make three drums and we need two circles for each drum, thus we will be designing 6 circles on the sheet.

Note: The number of drums you make is how big you want your drum set to be.

Draw 6 circles on to the sheet of any radius you want, we have created the circle of 3.5cm radius. Also, you can vary the size of the drums if you want to make it look attractive. (Fig 1)

Note: The change in size won’t affect the sound of the drums.

Once done, cut the circles out using scissors. (Fig 2)

The cutout of the Drum Shell:

The drum shell is the side covering or the periphery of the drum. The colored chart paper will help us do that.

Take your favorite colored chart paper and cut out a strip whose length is 20cm and width is 4cm. Make sure that the shell is not entirely covered, some space should be left between the start and the end of the shell (Whose reason will be discussed in the latter part of the project).

The length of the strip will depend on the size of the drum. You can change the width if you want.

Note: Again, the height will not affect the sound of the drum.

Once done, keep the cutouts aside. (Fig 3, 4, 5)

Step 3: Making the Drums Conductive

We want Tobi the sprite in PictoBlox, reflect our actions on the screen and play the sound accordingly.

How will it detect our touch on the drum? Well if we make it conductive, it will send the signal whenever the drum is being touched.

Thus, take a square piece of aluminum foil and wrap it on the conductive top circles of all the drums using it. Make sure that the outer side remains smooth.

Once done, keep them all aside.

Step 4: Assembling the Drums

Once, we have all the parts or components of the drum ready, its time to assemble the drum.

Take one strip, one conductive top circle, and one base circle. Wrap the shell to the top and the bottom side using the Hot Glue.

Repeat the above step for all the other drums.

With this, your drums are ready. Now, all we need to do is connect it to the brain- evive.

Step 5: Connecting the Drums to the Brain

Take three alligator clips one for each drum and remove the outer insulations.

Attach one male-to-male jumper cable to the alligator clip using solder iron and the solder wire. (Fig 1)

Again put back the insulation onto the clips. Repeat the above step for all the alligator clips.

Next, bring the drums back into the picture. Now, if you remember, we have left a small space into the shell, it was to attach the alligator clip to the drum.

Attach the alligator clips to all the drums through this space. (Fig 2)

Now, its to bring in the brain, evive- Arduino embedded platform.

As we need to detect the touch, we will be attaching the drums to the touch pins of evive.

Connect the male ends of the jumper cables to the Touch Pin 1, 2, and 3 respectively on evive. (Fig 3, 4)

Step 6: Code Your Music

Now, to work within real-time, we need to connect evive to PictoBlox using a USB cable.

You need different costumes of Tobi so that it looks like he is playing the drums. You need to tinker the main costumes and create the sub costumes. You can edit them by clicking on the costume button and directly edit them.

The stick in the sprite’s hand is been taken from the drum sprite. Once done, make the sprites of drum too. We have edited the sprite and colored it blue.

Once done, write the following code in PictoBlox.

Now, as we are going to interact with the sprite we do not need to upload the code (Stage Mode: where you can interact with the sprite in real-time with or without hardware), directly click on the green flag and start playing!

Step 7: Conclusion

With this, your DIY air drums are all set for you to Badum Tss whenever and wherever you want! ;)

DIY Summer Camp Contest

Participated in the
DIY Summer Camp Contest