How To Make A Chinese Rattle Drum

January 22, 2020 6 Comments

With Chinese New Year around the corner, we decided to make this Chinese Rattle Drum from an old Pringles cardboard tube and a wooden spoon.

This simple tutorial not only shows you exactly how to make one, but also gives you the option of downloading a template to decorate your drum.

I enjoy looking at festivities that take place in other countries and cultures for inspiration for our craft projects, and it also gives the children (and often myself) the opportunity to learn about them.

This week we have been talking a lot about Chinese New Year. We have been looking at what animals represent the years we were born in, what each one means, and how Chinese New Year is celebrated.

We have made some Chinese Paper Lanterns, and together with this simple to make instrument, both are great ways to celebrate and introduce the festival to little ones.

A Chinese Rattle Drum or Pellet Drum is traditionally a musical instrument. A small double sided drum with a handle and wooden beads or balls attached by string that hit the drum as it is twisted. The rattle drum has now evolved into a popular children’s toy not just in China but world wide.

This craft project is based on a traditional Chinese rattle drum, but is super simple to put together utilising an old cardboard tube and a wooden spoon.

I have also created a template of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals to cut out and decorate your drum. It is available in my subscribers area, ‘The Secret Garden‘, and if you would like access to it, just pop your details in at the end of the post.

So, if you would like to see how we created our Chinese Rattle drum then read on or pin it for later!

Pin ‘How To Make A Chinese Rattle Drum’ for later!

What You Will Need

  • Cardboard tube- I found that an old Pringles tube was the perfect size
  • Craft knife or similar to cut the tube
  • Two plastic lids that fit the tube
  • A4 sheet of thin red card
  • Scissors
  • Glue- I tend to use my trusty hot glue gun, however you can use PVA but would just need to allow drying times between steps.
  • Small wooden spoon- make sure the head of the spoon will fit inside the tube
  • Red and black Washi taoe
  • Hole punch
  • Red twine, string or thin ribbon
  • Wooden beads
  • Template of Chinese zodiac animals- available in the Secret Garden, or you could make your own!
A picture of all the equipment you need to make your Chinese Rattle Drum

How You Make Your Chinese Rattle Drum

1.First cut a 5cm section from the end of the cardboard tube. This bit is for adults only. I found the easiest way to cut the tube nice and straight was actually with a bread knife, however if you have a steady hand you could use a craft knife or similar.

2. Cut a 5cm wide strip from the long side of an A4 piece of red card. Cover the cardboard tube piece with the card and use glue to secure it into place. Alternatively you may prefer to paint your cardboard tube rather than covering it.

A section of the pringles tube cut with a length of red card

3. Cover the handle and a small part of the base of the wooden spoon with red washi tape. Again you could paint your wooden spoon rather than using tape, and you don’t have to stick to red. Gold and black or a mixture work equally as well.

The cardboard tube segment covered with red card, and a wooden spoon covered with washi tape
Cover the handle of the wooden spoon with red washi tape.

4. Make 3 holes in the side of your cardboard tube. This is the main body of the drum and using a hole punch make a hole at the base, and one on either side.

Using scissors or a craft knife, cut a cross at the bottom hole and push the edges into the drum.

Use a small pair of scissors to cut a cross at the base and push the edges into the drum

6. Cut two lengths of red twine, ribbon or string approximately 15 cm long. Knot each piece at one end and thread through the holes at the side of the tube. On the other end thread one or two wooden beads and knot the other end as well to secure. For added security you can add a little bit of glue on the knot inside the tube.

Threading the beads onto string and attching them to the drum
Thread the beads onto the string, securing with a knot and attach them to the drum.

7. Then push your wooden spoon through the hole at the base and secure it in place with glue inside the tube.

Push the spoon through the opening at the bottom of the drum from the inside

8. Now it’s time to decorate the lids which will finish off the drum. You can print off the template I have created and choose two of your favourite Chinese animals. The template is available in my ‘Secret Garden‘. If you’d like to gain access just pop your details in at the end of the post. Alternatively you could create your own designs, or decorate the lids as you wish. If using the template, glue your chosen designs to the lids and allow to dry.

Cut out your choosen animals form the template.

9. Glue both lids to your drum using a hot glue gun. We finished off our drum with some black washi tape around the rims of the lids. You could also use other embellishments if you wish. Gold sequins and small red pom poms also work really well on the sides of the drum.

Close up of the finished Chinese Rattle Drum
A little black washi tape around the edges completes the drum.
The finished Rattle drum
The finished Chinese Rattle Drum

That’s it, our finished Chinese rattle drum. Not only does it look effective, it actually works! Oliver in particular really loved playing the rattle drum.

If you would like to use the template I created and gain access to the Secret Garden, then pop your details in below.

If you need more inspiration for Chinese New Year’s crafts then don’t forget to check out and follow our Pinterest board.

So what do you think of our Chinese rattle drum? Have you anything similar before? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Kerry x


  • Babyadvisor January 26, 2020 at 6:56 am

    What a nice kid friendly craft it is! What a great way to introduce children to this Chinese tradition.

    • Kerry January 26, 2020 at 2:45 pm

      Thank you, the kids love it!

  • Karen, the next best thing to mummy January 31, 2020 at 11:07 am

    This looks great fun definitely going to be making one#kidsandkreativity@_karendennis

  • Denise February 4, 2020 at 9:38 pm

    What a fab idea and great that it is made by recycling items too. #kidsandkreativity

  • Emma February 6, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    Saving this one ready for next year! Stanley has recently been learning all about Chinese New Year at school and it’s really captured his imagination, I was a bit late and unprepared this year so loving this craft suggestion! #KidsandKreativity

  • Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) February 7, 2020 at 10:51 am

    I love this, what a brilliant craft activity and a great way of reusing an old Pringles tube. We have some Twiglet tubs leftover from Christmas that I’m holding on to, hoping to find a use for this, and something like this would be perfect. Have pinned for future reference and may well give it a go at some point. #KidsandKreativity

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    About Me

    About Me

    Hi I'm Kerry, Wife to James, Step Mum to one, Mum to two and more fur, feather and winged babies than I can count. I have a passion for crafts, encouraging creativity and inspiring imagination especially in children. So if you are looking for some inspiration, ideas and resources to inject a little creativity into your family life, then you've come to the right place. Read More


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