How To Make A Rain Stick

How To Make A Rain Stick

Rain sticks are one of the most unusual instruments I have seen and in this project, we will create a basic one.

What you need

Wood glue
Scrap 1/2 inch thick wood
a long drill bit
1/2 rounded file
Wooden shish-ke-bob skewers
drill bit the size of the skewers
Bamboo–one foot to 3 foot long


Originally rain sticks were used by the Indians of South America and Mexico. They would get hollow cactus stems, fill them with seeds and use them in worship ceremonies. You would hear drums, voices singing and people would be dancing during their village celebrations. You would also hear the sound of falling rain as the rain sticks were turned.

Today, rain sticks are made mainly of bamboo.


Cut bamboo to length. Hollow out the inside of the joints with the long drill bit or other object that will reach. Some use a hot coal to drop inside. That will burn out the joint material in long pieces of bamboo. There should be no obstructions inside the bamboo. File the inside till fairly smooth.

Drill holes in the bamboo from top to bottom in 2 spiral rows. Use the small skewer size bit for this. Space the holes about 1 inch apart. Put the skewers in each hole after putting a little wood glue on the skewer. Push the skewer in till it touches the other side of the bamboo. Do this with every hole. When the glue has dried thoroughly, trim off and skewer ends that are sticking out of the bamboo.

You will need to cut 2 wooden plugs from the scrap wood. They should fit snugly. Put some glue on one of the plugs and put the bottom plug in place, let dry. We will put the top one in later.

I like the bamboo to have a natural look, but I have seen some with different finishes on them. If you want to paint or varnish the bamboo, do so now, before the next step.

Filler Choices:

Corn kernels, peas, sand, kitty litter, tiny pebbles, millet ( or some other grain) or small glass beads. For a different sound, you can even mix two or more of these together.

Fill the bamboo tube 1/5 of the way with the filler or fillers of your choice. Try it out first. Cover the opening with a cloth and secure with a rubber band. Turn the rain stick and see if you like the sound it makes. Adjust the filler till you get the sound you like. When you have done that, glue and place the other plug in the other end of the bamboo. Let it dry really well before using it.

Keep the rain stick in a dry place.

Sit back and enjoy the soothing sound of rain.

This Project was contributed by Yvonne Quarles

Objective: Learning about the weather, sensory stimulation for the visually impaired


  1. I made one out of bamboo. Just small holes. Used beans, lentils etc. It sounds nice. I’ll make another one with the small sticks through the holes next time. I’ll try another one out of thin wood as well. Thanks for great ideas. Janet

  2. Where did you get the hollow bamboo poles? I have been looking. We are making rainsticks in VBS this years.

  3. YEAH!

  4. too complecated

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