Practice Taiko / Odaiko (steel / Tape)



Introduction: Practice Taiko / Odaiko (steel / Tape)

About: I have a FB page called "DIY Taiko". I am a classical trained composer, taiko player, and sound engineer. Most of my DIY are creative solution to a frugal living style. Sometimes it's just easier t...

This instructable is to build a practice taiko (Japanese drum), hence taiko terms are used. If you are looking into building a practice taiko, I assume you've already know these terms.

As an amateur taiko player, it's very difficult not to have any taiko drums to practice with. My teacher, Kenny Endo, introduced practice drums made from old car tires (here's a pdf guide by Tatsumaki Taiko Studio). This tire drum is good for beta and naname style, but not for practicing odaiko because of the upright placement. On the other hand, I was also aiming for alternatives that could be used occasional demonstrations & promotions.

From the video, you'd realize all the showmanship comes from the magnificent PVC stand. However, this instructable is for the drum only; the stand shall be introduced in another Instructable.


Step 1: Materials + Explanation

Steel barrel/drum, diameter ~23" (something like this), cut into 15 - 20" depth.

This is the most challenging part. One steel barrel can make 2 to 3 drums, given that you have access to tools that can cut it evenly and somewhat straight (to be explained below). Perhaps it's practical enough to hire a professional to cut it. (I got mine pre-cut from a dumpster, so I didn't need to cut it.)

Barrel diameter and depth are up to you.

  • Diameter: my drum is 23" wide and it serves very well.
  • Depth: it needs to be deep enough for the drum to stand up sideways.


It's recommended to drill holes on the side for attaching to the stand. Mine came with 3 evenly spaced holes that proved to be very useful. However, I could also see possibility in attaching the drum with purely bungee cords. Obviously this should be thought out before building the stand.

(2) x 8 ft. x 13/16 in. x 3/16 in. PVC FRP End Cap Moulding

I found them next to wood section in Home Depot. The size seems tricky but there was only this one size in the store. You'd need this because the edge of the barrel is thin and sharp, it would cut the tape once you start hitting (I learned my lesson.)

Wrap this PVC cap around the edge to prevent tape tearing; this is also why the cut doesn't have to be perfectly straight, as the PVC cap would straight it out. One strip is only long enough for one side, so get 2.

Few rolls of cheap packaging tape

Doesn't even need to be any brand name heavy duty ones; sometimes the thinner ones sticks better together. I bought a bunch from discount store.

(1) x Gorilla Clear Repair Tape (1.88 in. x 9 yds.)

This pricey roll of tape shall be the super heavy duty & unbreakable top layer of the drum head.

Step 2: Prepare the Barrel

Once the barrel is cut and all cleaned, wrap the PVC end cap around the edge, cut excess. No need to glue because it will be entirely covered by tape.
Wrap the other side of the barrel so you don't cut yourself.
And then it's tape time!

Step 3: Tape Time! BEWARE OF AIR BUBBLES!!!

As mentioned, there is already a pdf guide for making a practice drum out of tires. Your next step is to follow this guide (see attachment or download from source link).

Skip step one Prepare your drum"

Follow step 2 - 3

Step 4

Follow only fig.5 and tape one side of the drum.

Step 5

Follow instruction but only on one side of the drum.


Beware of air bubbles! They are ugly and permanent! That's why it could take a long time, feel free to watch some shows or meditate while taping. Note that steel barrel is a lot more flexible than rubber. While stretching the tape from one edge to another, you can press the drum (with your feet) against the floor. Easy if you have carpet; if not, put some padding on hard wood floor. Pardon my drawing, but it should illustrate how I did my taping.

Step 4: Last Layer!!! BEWARE OF AIR BUBBLES!!!

From my research, Gorilla Clear Repair Tape is the toughest. It's very thick and sticky. That being said, it can be quite difficult to work with. It sticks up everything from your fingerprints to your skin oil, yet you do need to use your fingers to tear it. So just try to touch less.

For this last layer, you should follow Step 5. Because you are using expensive tape, please be conservative. One roll is 27 yards, just enough to cover my whole drum with a little over lay. You must make sure to evenly cover the whole surface, any weak point might end up like Hercules…

The tape's "easy tearing" feature, has little "teeth" on the side, results a less smooth surface. However, they are just more annoying than breaking or coming off.

Step 5: Not Done Yet!

Now that you have done layering, follow Step 6.

After that, flip your drum so the sticky side is facing you. What we need to do is to press the layers of tape against hard surface (i.e. hardwood floor, hardcover book) to reassure all layers are tightly stuck together. I don't see why the sticky side should be be covered with more tape, that's why I used the bottom layer of a label paper which won't really stick. Put the paper against the tape and press with your foot or finger or other flat surface until the whole surface is covered.

Perhaps you should just use a plastic sheet… for I mistakenly faced wrong side… (see picture)

Step 6: Done! Now Is the Beginning!

As a composition student, I embarked into different projects with taiko once I made the drum. One project was called Naked Melon, a metal inspired piece for 2 overdriven cello and taiko. Ideally, I would use a real chu-daiko. However I just couldn't afford to rent a drum all the time. If I had no access to a drum, I couldn't have done this sort of project.

In the end, this is a tape drum; the sound is not ideal (still loud), the re-bounce is rubbery. But you sure can beat this drum with big bachi and all the might of an amateur taiko player.

The true beauty is only obvious when it is set on the odaiko stand, which I will soon introduce.

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    2 Discussions


    Question 9 months ago on Step 3

    Hi there! Just to clarify, when making the steel drum do I use just one layer of expensive tape, each strip parallel to the others? No criss-crossed tape like on the tire drum...? Thanks for your help!


    Answer 9 months ago

    Hi, as I could recall, one layer of expensive tape on top of regular tape was enough. To be clear, do the crisscrossing with regular tape, no need for expensive tape. You can still do that but it’s doubled the amount of expensive $$ tape.