Well, I'm a percussionist and I spent the last 3 and a half years since I started without a practice pad (surprisingly). Yes, practice pads are pretty cheap (you could get one for $15 from Remo), but I much prefer making my own. I also had all of the parts available already. It took about a day to make this and write up the instructable.
So for this instructable, you will need the following:
THREE 1'x1'x3/8" (one square foot by 3/8 inch) pieces of particle board
SIX screws, nuts, and washers
ONE Dremel with vertical cutting bit and drill press stand
ONE sanding block with sand paper
ONE can of polyurethane or equivalent wood sealant
ONE drum head
ONE bottle of wood glue
some sort of padding (I used an old undershirt)
and the following basic items: pencil/pen, compass, protractor, ruler, safety glasses, face mask
Jigsaws cause wood chips to fly everywhere. It's a good idea to wear safety glasses. Also, please wear a mask when sanding. Wood dust in the lungs isn't as bad as fiberglass, but let's keep anything that's not normally part of the air out of our lungs shall we?
Step 1: Taking Measurements
Measuring things out is always important. Make sure the pieces of particle board are large enough so that you can cut out circles that have radii 1/2" larger than that of the entire drum head. You're going to need that to put screw through later.
Step 2: Sketch Everything Out
Find the center of each of the boards. Using a compass, draw out the circles. You will need the following pieces:
TWO inner rings that will fit within the inside lip of the drum head
ONE outer ring that will fit around the entire drum head
ONE ring with a smaller inner radius than the prior outer ring
ONE round base
Each inner ring can be cut out from the same piece of wood as either of the outer rings.
It's hard to explain all the parts you need to cut out, but just look through the rest of the Instructable and it will make more sense.
Step 3: Cutting Part 1: Making Circles
Clamp all three boards together and proceed to cut. Do this part however you feel comfortable. I placed the two clamps on adjacent edges of the square (or what used to be square) and the cut off the opposite corner with a jigsaw.
Step 4: Cutting Part 2: Cutting Rings
This part is slightly tricky. Just remember to be patient. Work slowly and carefully. Particle board isn't be best material to work with because of its tendency to crumble.
I forgot to get a picture of this step, so I will try my best to explain it in words. Start by drilling a hole just inside the circle labeled "outer ring." Widen the hole with the vertical cutting Dremel bit. Finish the rest of the hoop with the jigsaw.
Step 5: Assembling Part 1
Now to put everything together. (sort of)
Step 6: Sanding and Assembling Part 2
The outside edge of the inner ring needs to be rounded lest you tear through the drum head when it needs tightening.
Step 7: Sealing
I expect to use the practice pad a lot, so it's a good idea to seal the wood to keep out the moisture and keep the wood from crumbling.
Step 8: Assembling and Cutting (Final Step!)
Put it all together and cut off the ends of the screws.