DIY Fiberglass Window Screen Mesh Drum Heads




Introduction: DIY Fiberglass Window Screen Mesh Drum Heads

To me the window screen mesh heads feel great and are much quieter than the Roland mesh head on the Roland PD85

Step 1: Removed the Head From the Rim

Since I had no use for them, I used the rims from heads that came with the toms I purchased. I removed the heads from the rims with a utility knife.

Step 2: Fiberglass Window Screen

I picked up a 48" x 80" roll of fiberglass window screen from Menards. Cut out squares about an 2" wider than the rim.

Step 3: Trimmed of the Excess Screen

Trimmed of the excess so it would be easier to work with.

Step 4: Pushed Drum Head Rim Into the Drum Hoop

Laid the two layers of fiberglass window screen over the drum hoop and pushed drum head rim into the drum hoop.

Step 5: Wrapped and Tied String Around the Drum Hoop and Rim

Wrapped and tied string around the drum hoop and rim to temporarily hold it all together. It made the sewing easier

Step 6: Thread for Sewing Leather Material

I used heavy thread for sewing leather material. The tan color showed up better in the tutorial images. Comes in black also.

Step 7: Sewed the Screen Onto the Rim

Not sure what type of stitch I'm using. I just went back and forth every 1/4" and sewed the screen onto the rim. Took about 10 min.

Step 8: Trim Off More of the Excess

I trimmed off more of the excess screen getting pretty close to the stitches.

Step 9: Top View

This is top view. I colored the tan stitches black with a marker. Black thread would look nicer.

Step 10: Laid on Two More Layers of Window Screen

I put the mesh head on the drum and laid on two more layers of window screen. Tighten down the lugs.

Step 11: Trim Off the Excess Window Screen

Trim off the excess window screen. I'm sure the screen will wear at some point. When the top two layers start to wear out. I can easily replace them and won't have to re-stitch new screen to the rim.

Step 12: Other Tutorials



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    25 Discussions

    I bought a Roland TD-6 that came with a whole bunch of auxiliary electronic percussion equipment included:

    -Alesis D4 module / brain
    -11 cymbal boom arms w clamps, foams, and washers
    -10 home made drum pads (metal plates w foam and rubber covering; piezoelectric sensors with RCA outputs

    I just use the TD-6 on its own, so I'm thinking that these items might be of interest to those in this forum. I live in Vancouver, BC, and my email is

    If you know of anyone that might be interested, please pass this along.


    2 replies

    I would be happy to give you the 10 home made drum pads (metal plates w foam and rubber covering; piezoelectric sensors with RCA outputs) for merely the cost of shipping them to you.

    As for the Alessis D4 brain, the going price seems to be $100, so I'll stick to that.

    The cymbal boom arms seem to sell for about $25 apiece, but I'll say $20. The 2-way clamps I'll sell for $8 each. Make me an offer on what you would like to buy, and I'm sure we can figure something out. Send me an email.


    You know, they do sell mesh drum heads. I know this is a do it yourself site, but the mesh heads can be had on eBay for $5-$10 each, depending on the size.

    Is there any way I can listen to the finished product?

    Ok, saw the cymbal question...perfect solution...i added real cymbals to the electrics and to convert em with triggers AND make quiet, i used a buttload (depending on the size of the cymbal) of inexpensive mouse pads cut then glued with latex caulking to the bottom side of the cymbal. You get the real feel of it PLUS just a tiny little "pink" sound. Problem solved with redneck tech!!!

    What is that black rim on the bottom of the drum, it makes it look really professionally done...

    Mike do you have your drums trigger for dual zone? and what module do you use?? I am using the DM5 and I was going to follow the tutorial on building the Piezo support inside the drum but then I realized that I could just put the triggers on top of the mesh and test for sensitivity and it worked great, those triggers are about 90 dlls for a set of 5 and I made my own trigger holders as you can see... yeah I know ghetto but hey this is instructables and DIY is the name of the game.. then I should have made my own triggers from scratch and stop talking trash huh???


    Two things cause it to look rippled, one it is not tight enough, I don't care how tight you try to make it, it will still show some ripples when not mounted on a drum shell, even plastic heads show some minor rippling when not mounted. and mesh tends to look rippled even when it's tight. see here for example, the head is as tight as it's going to get and it still looks rippled because of the light reflection.


    I got inspired to do my drumset because of your tutorial. Many thanks for that.
    this is how I did the step above. those are actually very heavy duty clamps and will not come out even if you pull really hard on the mesh which I did to keep it really tight so when I put it on the drum was really easy to "tune"
    Check out the result here:


    im doing this wth an 8 inch drum pad but i was wondering how tight the screen is cause it looks rippled
    please respond

    1 reply

    im guessing the head should be about as tight as a normal head. tighten the lugs perpendicular to the ripples.

    man, thats a great idea. does it sound any different then a regular snare head? ill have to try his if i ever get my hands on an extra snare. very very good instructable.

    awesome instructable! i actually just found the site a while back for this tutorial, and now joined to thank you for this, don't know why i have never thought of this... this works great, and i as well used fishing wire (improvised from the original idea of using hemp) that was 15lbs. test. plus it's lo-vis wire and abundant. i think a good tip would be if you're going to attempt a bass drum head like this, try to double-stitch and use higher test wire. i'm tempted to buy a crappy drumset just to try it all the way around. Keep up the good work!

    What do you think the cost per tom is on this project? including screen material, piezo, 1/4" jack, foam, mounting brackets. i'm guessing like 20 bucks? I have no idea what those mountin brackets cost though. Also the foam is really squished up against the head isn't it? if it's 1/8" above the rim it'd be pretty well smashed yeah? i'd love a video of these in action. thanks

    1 reply

    Most of the cost is for the drum. I found the toms on ebay for about $30.00 a piece and then cut them in half. It could cost under $25.00 per drum depending on cheap you can find the other parts. These drums here cost me about $15.00 per drum including the mounting bracket.

    Yes, the foam block is 1/8" above the rim of the drum shell, but it isn't squashed all that much..

    Fantastic Instructable! Thanks a lot for posting this, it deserves 5 stars. They sound great. I keep mine tuned nice and tight and the feel is almost indistinguishable from a piccolo snare.

    The foam does make contact with the window screen. I have the foam about 1/8" above the rim of the drum shell,

    wow, thanks for this. I just made one, and it actually works great. I haven't played on it that much yet, but it seems really sturdy. I used fishing line for my sewing material. I'm building a DIY electo kit, and these things save you allot of money on heads. Cheers!