Making Bucket Drums

Materials needed: bucket, duct tape, rope.
Any bucket will do, metal, plastic, big, small, with handle, without. Duct tape also comes in eye-pleasing colors. Thicker rope tends to more comfortable when used as a belt or strap; thin cord is uncomfortable.

Start taping a few inches from the bottom of the bucket.

Tape all the way around the bucket, and overlap where you started a little.

Pinch an inch to make a loop. Fold the tape and stick it to itself.

Scoot the pinch back and continue taping. Leave space in between the two loops. Wider spacing works better for belt straps and needs and extra vertical reinforcement. Narrow spacing, show below, works better for shoulder straps and needs only one vertical reinforcement between the two loops.

Make a second loop, and continue taping.

Tape all the way around again, and tear off. For extra strong loops, continue all the way around again: good for extra heavy buckets/barrels.

Single piece of duct tape with two loops, you can skip to straps if you want.

vertical reinforcement, start at lip of the bottom of the bucket, along side the loop

Continue along the length of the bucket, and tear.

reinforce the sides of all the loops.

For additional reinforcement, add concentric bands of tape above and below the loops: good for irregular outside bucket surfaces. (not shown here)

Insert the rope through the loops. and tie around waist or over shoulder.

For waist belt: Pull tight around your waist and tie. For shoulder adjust the length and tie.


Tying around your waist gives less bouncing as you walk and allows you to use the matched grip on your sticks, but your elbows are unnaturally back. Tying over one shoulder is a little harder to control and requires the traditional grip on your sticks, but is more ergonomic so you can play for longer.

Notice the different sounds you can get by hitting different parts of the bucket.

When the bottom (facing up) of the bucket splits, salvage the rope and throw the rest away.

Please let us know how these work for you.

Drums & Demonstration