Introduction: Cookie Tin Tambourine

Another member of the large and well known cookietinophone family.

For at least 3 years now, we have been trying to get our folk dance teachers to teach us an Italian Tarantella. Their main excuse not to do so has always been "But we need tambourines then, ..." . Because we do not have any money to buy even very cheap instruments, I came up with this very low budget cookie tin idea.

This is an almost fully recycled project; only the metal wire might have to be bought, if you don't have something lying around. Just find someone to join you in eating the cookies and emptying the bottles and it will be a very enjoyable evening!

Step 1: What You Need

Collecting the materials needed for this project is a very hard task. You will need to empty an entire cookie tin AND at least 8 bottles with an aluminum cap (here in Belgium that means you have to drink a few beers).

1 cookie tin
8 - 10 aluminum caps
4 - 5 paper clips or an equivalent amount of wire

a marker
a good knife (to cut the cookie tin)
a hammer
a nail

Step 2: Prepare the Cookie Tin and the Caps


With a hammer and a nail, make a hole in the center of each aluminum cap. Then hammer it flat. I tried to get them as wide as possible, with all the edges bending out because it looks nicer and maybe it gives a better sound to...? I also tried to remove the plastic layer on the inside, which was easier on some brands than others.


My first tambourine had 4 holes with caps and almost no space left for an extra hole to hold it. For the second one, I made 6 holes: 5 with caps and one to put your thumb to hold it. This gave a better sound and was still sturdy enough.

To make 6 evenly spaced holes, measure the radius of your cookie tin and look here. Draw 6 wide crosses on the rim of the tin. The crosses should be slightly wider than a flattened aluminum cap.

With a good knife, make cuts on the lines of each cross. (It may help to first punch a little hole in the center of each cross with a hammer and a nail.)

Step 3: Make the Holes

Fold the corners of each cross back so you get a hole. For the hole without caps (i.e. the one you can put your thumb through to hold the tambourine), fold all de corners all the way.
For the other holes, it might be easier to keep 2 diagonally opposed flaps bended only halfway (like the upper right one in the picture). This makes it easier to slip in the caps in the next step.

Make sure (especially for the thumb hole) that you bend in the 4 flaps completely, so you don't end up with sharp edges that can make nasty cuts...

Step 4: Adding the Caps

Bend each paper clip into a Z-like shape so that the middle bar fits vertically into a hole in the cookie tin.
Slip 2 caps on every Z: they should be in the middle of the Z.

Put the Z into place: the upper and lower legs hook behind the flaps of the crosses which were only bent halfway in the previous step.

Fold the flaps all the way, so the legs of the Z get closed in.

Repeat for the other paper clips with caps.

Voila! there you are! Now eat the last crumbs out of you tambourine before trying it's sound...