Floor Tom to Kick Drum Conversion on a Tight Budget. +updated+




About: I have always loved building and modifying things. Some of my modifications have worked out very well for me so i figured i would share them. I look forward to being part of the Instructables community.

This Instructable will show you how to turn a floor tom into a kick drum utilizing existing hardware and cheap materials.

Be sure to look at all the pictures

I will also explain how I stripped and refinished my drum and how to port your front head with a normal household can.

I apologize for not including step by step pictures. I didn't think to take pictures during the process.

This entire project came together very well for me.

So lets get started with the materials.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Materials for stripping and refinishing:

Sand paper

Mod Podge

Foam brushes - a few large and small

razor knife

disposable bowl or cup for the mod podge

magazines or books

Materials for the floor tom conversion:

See picture for sizes

1 pack of washers

1 pack of screws

1 pack of bolts with nuts.

Memory foam pillow from the Goodwill.

3 pieces of builders hardware including a T shaped piece and 2 L shaped pieces.
See the picture.

One piece of mahogany flooring sample.

Foam can cozy

Zip ties


Step 2: Stripping and Refinishing the Drum

First, I  removed and set aside all of the hardware.

The drum came with a horrible black wrap on it that was only glued in one spot and just about to fall off. So all I had to do was dig a butter knife under the seam and it popped right off.

Then, I sanded the glue off and also fine sanded the edge of the shell.

Next, I cut out full page pictures out of a National Geographic book on National parks. You can use any glossy pictures and any size of course.  Magazines work great as well.

I, then, paint the Mod Podge onto the shell, lay on the picture and then painted over top of the picture using the Mod Podge and foam brushes.

Research Decoupaging for more tips on this technique.

Step 3: Reinstalling the Hardware.

Now its time to reinstall the hardware.

The first modification I made was to drill a new hole and reinstall the tom leg mounts spun 90 degrees. So now the legs act as spurs for the drum.

At this point the bass drum is certainly functional.   I used my drum for a few months before i decided to make the pedal mount.   In fact in the picture below the pedal is attached right to the rim.  It mostly worked but wasn't great.  If you are very short on funds by all means try to hook up your kick drum pedal and see how it works for you.  You may be right were you need to be already.

If you want to learn how to make the pedal mount then please continue

Step 4: Assembling the Pedal Mount/riser

First mark and drill the holes for the first L bracket. You will want the bracket to be pretty close to the rim.

Bolt it onto the drum using 2 of the long bolts and washers.

Optional muffling step:

Put on the front head and put the foam pillow inside the drum. My drum is a 16 inch drum so I had to cut down the pillow. But I left enough of the pillow protruding so that it would touch both heads at the same time all the time. Then, I attached the pillow to one of the protruding bolts on the inside of the drum using a washer and a nut.

Now attach the other L bracket to the top of the piece of flooring sample using the wood screws as shown in the picture.

Attach the T shaped piece next to it also on top.

Attach the 2 L brackets together using 2 bolts and washers.

Take your can cozy and cut a strip off of it. Wrap it around the bottom of the pedal mount and secure it with zip ties.

Step 5: Porting Your Front Drum Head

For this Mini Instructable you need :

A heat source like a stove top

A can the size of the hole you desire with the label and as much of the glue as possible removed .

Aluminum foil



**** This is a Very Dangerous task so please be careful and be an adult or have adult supervision ****

Perform this task in a well ventilated area.

Mark the spot on your drum head where you want the hole.

Lay the head down flat on top of the aluminum foil on a clean counter top.

Heat the can on the stove top very carefully on very low heat. If you have an electric stove top available you should probably use that.

Wearing oven mitts, pick up the can with tongs. Drop it onto the head and press down.

Twist gently and lift the can.

Done properly it can work wonderfully.

Step 6: You Are Done and Ready to Groove

So now all you have to do is, attach the front head, tune the drum, attach your pedal, and you are ready to groove !

Don't think that this little kick drum is a pure jazz drum.   It is a great jazz drum but It is also pretty versatile.  I play somewhat hard hitting funk stuff with it and it projects pretty nicely. 

If you are still reading I hope you enjoyed my first instructable.    And by all means if anyone out there converts a drum using this method please send me some pictures of how it worked out for you. 




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    15 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Love your kit! Thanks for writing this awesome ible, too!

    I'd like to try that with two 16" or 18" floor toms to build my own mini deathmetal kit.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks for the kind words, glad you enjoyed the project.


    3 years ago

    Man that's awesome. I have a whole drum set i can redo now. Thank you for the wonderful instructable

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for checking it out, glad you liked it. If you refinish any drums let me know how It works out for you. cheers


    4 years ago on Step 6

    This is awesome. Definitely gonna use that rewrap method. You just opened up a whole new world of possibilities for my old kit. Haha Thanks. AND THE BASS DRUM RISER. Really been looking for a good diy version. This is simple and great!.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Step 6

    Awesome, glad you liked my instructable. Thank you very much for the kind words and let me know how it works out for you. Cheers


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice. Simple, effective. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for checking out my instructable.



    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is awesome! I did this with a 14x14 floor tom and it is now much more portable ( I can fit my whole kit in one long cylindrical bag), but most importantly, it sounds amazing! Great 'ible. And I'm thinking of re-finishing my snare like you've done here, but do you think I could print off designs onto glossy paper and use those? And what is Mod Podge? I'm in the UK and i have no idea what it is. Is it a resin or something?

    4 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I am super happy that my 'ible worked out for you. Id love to see a picture of your drum. I am pretty sure that you can print out your own pictures to cover your drum but I'm not positive. For more on Mod podge and decoupage techniques check out their page. http://www.plaidonline.com/apMP.asp Once you get some Mod podge or another equivalent product. You may want to print one picture and try to apply it to a spare piece of wood or something to make sure it doesn't make the ink run. Thanks for using my instructable and thanks for letting me know how it worked out for you. All the best, Boo


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Pictures uploaded. Slow because I was waiting for a new resonant head for the kick, but gave up waiting - it's arriving tomorrow. I re-finished the tom with pages from 'The Beano', don't know if you get it in the states (I'm from the UK), but it's a comic for children that I found a stash of old ones in my room. I ended up using watered down PVA to paste the comic pages to the drum and to varnish it, and imh it turned out pretty well. I think a coat of polyurethane varnish will up the shiny-ness and professional-looking-ness of it, but i wont be doing that for a while because i have no money. One question, what effect does porting the resonant head make on the tone of the drum? And how would you best suggest tuning my kick for jungle/Drum and bass, and jazz?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    For tuning, This Site is full of really good info. I play a bit of everything. I usually have a pillow against a tight batter head, then the resonant head tuned low.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    The drum looks great. I like how colorful it is with the comics.

    The porting is supposed to give you a tighter punchier sound with less resonance. But if you do port the front head ,don't make it too big. If it is too big it will be like not having a front head at all

    As far as tuning i can't really help you with that one. I am still playing around with the tuning of my kick. I have even considered removing the muffling. I would imagine you are gonna want to tune it pretty low. And you might want to experiment with some muffling. Just keep trying it until you dig the sound. Also have someone else play the drum if you can. So you can hear how it sounds from in front of the kit instead of just behind it.

    Have fun groovin,


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I like your solution a lot better than one I did, which was basically a cradle for the drum made out of plywood. Correction: I believe Step 3 should read "90 degrees" not 180.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for checking out my instructable. I am glad that you liked it . Thanks for the correction too. I already fixed it. Take care B