Snare Drum

Create your own working snare drum! This fun activity will give you hours of fun even after you are finished crafting your drum.

SUBMITTED BY: Marigold Regional Library System

PROGRAM CATEGORY: This program is a craft and a musical activity

PROGRAM DELIVERY (FOR STAFF USE ONLY): This program can be prerecorded or live streamed. 

INSTRUCTIONS (FOR STAFF): Prepare the string with beads so that you don’t have to thread it during the demonstration. Follow the patron instructions. 


TIME REQUIRED: 15 – 30 minutes

SPACE CONSIDERATIONS: Just a table to work on


  • Tin can
  • Packing tape
  • Medium to large balloon 
  • 3 or 4 elastic bands that fit tightly around the tin can
  • Beads
  • String
  • Scissors


  • Any craft supplies to decorate the snare drum


  1. First remove both ends of your tin can so that it is a tube.
  1. Next, Take the packing tape and pull it across one end of the tin can until one end is completely covered. Make sure that the tape is pulled across the cans opening as tightly as possible. If the tape is not tight the drum won’t work properly.

    images/snare drum/Snare Drum Step 1.jpg
  1. Once there is a tight seal on one side of the can it is time to cut the balloon so that it can cover the other end. To do this, take a medium to large balloon and cut off the first inch of the balloon. 
  1. Cover the opening of the tin can with the balloon. If you can’t pull the balloon over the can, cut a bit more of the balloon so that there is a slightly larger opening and try again. Make sure that you pull the balloon as tight as you can without breaking it so that the balloon is completely flat over the opening of the tin can. If this step doesn’t work you may need a larger balloon.
  1. Once the balloon is on the tin can take two rubber bands that fit tightly around the tin can and wrap them around the part of the balloon that is on the sides of the tin can.

images/snare drum/Snare Drum Step 2.jpg

  1. To create the snare, pick your favorite small beads and thread them on a string. Make sure that there are enough beads to cover 3/4 ‘s of the diameter of the tin can. Tie off the two ends of the string with a bead on each side. When the snare is pulled over the drum the two beads should go about one inch to one and a half inches past the edge of the tin can.
  1. Take another two rubber bands and put them slightly higher than the edge of the balloon. Pull the thread under the rubber band and have one bead on the opposite side of the snare. Do this on opposite sides of the drumhead so that the snare can be pulled tight across the drumhead.
  1. At this point if you want to decorate the snare you can cover it in paper and decorate it. Make sure that the two beads on each end of the snare string are accessible.

images/snare drum/Snare Drum Step 3.jpg
9.  Add a string, yarn, or whatever you prefer as a strap for the snare. You can use this to hang the drum from your neck, making it easier to play.

10. Pull the snare strings tight to turn on the snare or loosen them slightly to turn them off.