Introduction: Do It Yourself (DIY) Drums


In this instructable, we’ll learn how to build an inexpensive drum from recycled materials.


  • ABS (Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) Plastic
  • White vinyl
  • Cotton Cord
  • Embroidery Hoops (5 ½”, 7”, 8”, 9 ¼”, 10 ½”)
  • ½” Philips self-driving pan head sheet metal screws
  • Philips screwdriver
  • 2 table clamps

Step 1: Cutting the ABS Plastic

Measure the correct amount of ABS plastic according to the amount needed for whichever bamboo hoops you’ve chosen (this determines the size of your drum). Always remember to leave a 1-inch overlap to ensure both ends can be fastened together. (eg. If you have a hoop with a circumference of 30 inches, you should cut a piece of plastic with a length of 31 inches)

Step 2: Shaping Drum

To create the body of the drum bring both ends of the ABS plastic together leaving a 1-inch overlap. Using 2 bamboo hoop pairs (inner and outer hoops) of the correct size, place them around the body of the drum to hold the plastic until both ends are fastened together. Make sure the hoops are not at the ends of the drum, keep the hoops about 3 inches inwards to prevent the drum from bursting open. There should be 2 expandable hoops on the outside and directly behind those on the inside, there should be 2 other fixed hoops.

The shape of the drum should somewhat resemble that of an oil barrel.

*Be careful when performing this step, ABS plastic is very rigid and tends to want to expand. If the hoops are placed too far towards the ends of the drum, the drum will expand and send the hoops flying. Make sure the hoops are not damaged and are securely tightened.

Step 3: Clamp Placement

Before adding the screws it is important to secure the drum to a table with a clamp. Using the second clamp, hold the 2 ends of the plastic together to ensure that the screws can easily pass through both layers.

Follow this diagram to know where to place the clamps. The orange clamp shows the ideal position for the clamp that will help hold the plastic. The blue clamp shows the point from which you should clamp the drum from.

Step 4: Fastening the Screws

Using 5 Philips flat head self-driving ½” sheet metal screws, drive them into the 1-inch overlap, parallel with the edge of the plastic. Leave a 2 finger gap between each screw. Start from the middle and slowly work your way outwards.

Follow this diagram to understand the proper placement of the screws. The red dots show where the Philips screws should go.

Step 5: Cutting and Attaching Vinyl

After creating the body of the drum, we can now start on the drumhead. Start by placing the drum on a large sheet of vinyl and draw a circle 2 inches away from the edge of drum all the way around. Cut out the circle you just cut. Using your circle of vinyl, stretch it over one end of the drum body making sure to hold/stretch it over the end of the drum tightly. To hold down the vinyl, use an embroidery hoop of the correct size to secure the vinyl to the drum body. Tighten the hoop and pull down on the excess edges of the vinyl to ensure that is nice and taut, this produces a more profound sound. Cut off excess vinyl around the edges.

Repeat steps 3 & 4 to add the second drum head on the opposite side of the body.

Step 6: Creating the Neck Strap

As a finishing touch, tie cotton cord to both of the fasteners on the hoops to create a neck strap on which to rest your drum.

Step 7: Finished Product

Your final product should look like this.

Now go and have some fun! Grab your drumsticks and give your new drum a try!