Make It Rain(stick)!

Make It Rain(stick)!

I will admit that the very last thing that we need right now in Vancouver is rain (other than Shia LaBeouf coming back and getting beat up outside our nightclubs).  

It rains 11 months of the year here and we are finally enjoying a heat wave.  While there are some who are physically melting in the heat (let’s be real, it is only about 33 degrees), I am loving ever minute of it.  My shoulders are pink, my freckles are coming back out and I am in heaven for the next couple of weeks until the weather remembers that this is the West Coast and unleashes a deluge.

What is the point of this rant you ask? Good question.  Rain sticks.  Along with the warm weather comes a somewhat bored child and a Mother with a very active imagination.  On a warm summer evening, it was craft time and we were making it rain!


So your first question might be- What is a rainstick? (and how much wine has she been drinking?).  A rainstick is a long tube traditionally filled with pebbles and other bits that when turned on it’s end emits a sounds that sounds like rain.  It was used by the Aztecs to bring on the rain but these days assumes the role of a musical instrument or general toddle tamer.  They are fairly easy to make and will keep the child entertained for a good while especially if it has fancy add ons like ribbons.  I also figure that anything that entertains her that does not involve sitting in front of a TV set is a win. 

So how do you make it? Good Question, you are going to need to amass your supplies.


Here is what you are going to do:

Step 1 – Cut your cardboard tube to size and then carefully push little nails through the tube.  They should come about 3/4 of the way through the tube but not come out the other side (this would make a weapon which is not exactly what we are after). TIP – do not place the nails along the seam of the cardboard even though some websites will tell you to.  This will weaken the tube and it will eventually just rip along the line.  Try to have a nail ever half inch or so.

Step 2 – Cap one end of the tube with felt.

Step 3 – Pour in some noise!  Because you are looking (or rather listening) for a variety of tines, it is best to use a variety of fillings. As with any other homemade musical instrument, you can somewhat control the sound by altering a few things.  For the rainstick, the number of nails, the types of beans/rice that you use and the amount will change the sound.  Just play around with it until you get something that you like.  I also think that it is cool to make a few with different tones so that the child can learn about notes and sounds but that is just me. I used some rice, mung beans and moth beans so that they would move through the nails in the tube at different rates and make different sounds.  Start by only adding a little of each and then you can add some as you go and test the sound. Tip- If you are sound testing, cover the open end with you hand… seems obvious but you would be surprised.


Step 4- When you are happy with the sound, cap the other end in felt.

Step 5 – Wrap the whole tube in duct tape.  I used green here to add a little pizzaz but there is a whole world of fancy duct tape out there to choose from or you could kick it old school with grey.

Step 6 – Decorate the thing.  I added some ribbons to the end, some stickers and the kid’s name to prevent sticky fingers from taking it and claiming it as their own (I like to think that it will be that popular).  Because I used stickers, I then wrapped the whole thing in clear packing tape so that it will last a little longer than the afternoon.



And there you have it! Turn it over and make it rain!  Just don’t make too many around here because I am in no hurry to see the sunshine disappear. 


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