How to Make a Thunder Drum

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You can mimic the sound of thunder with a thunder drum.
You can mimic the sound of thunder with a thunder drum. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A thunder drum is not a drum at all, but rather a piece of metal or plastic that is cut to a certain size. When the drum is hit or shaken, a rolling, booming sound is produced that sounds similar to thunder. These drums are used in plays, video games, movies and television shows to represent the sound of thunder without actually having to wait until real thunder appears to create the media. Use a thunder drum in conjunction with a crash box for realistic-sounding thunder.

Things You'll Need

  • High-impact styrene plastic, 60 mm thick
  • Table saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Rasp
  • Work gloves

Cut a sheet of styrene plastic to a rectangle of 2 feet by 4 feet using a table saw. Sand the edges smooth with sandpaper to prevent the plastic from cutting the person’s hands as they use the saw. Round the edges of the plastic with a rasp to prevent cuts.

Hold the two ends of the smaller side of the plastic with both hands. Wear thick work gloves if holding the plastic is uncomfortable.

Grab the plastic tightly while making a fist. Push your left hand out, then your right hand out quickly while bringing the left hand back toward your body. You are essentially trying to make a ripple between the two sides of the plastic. This will create a rumbling sound that is similar to that of a real thunder crack.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also make a similar sound using a sheet of metal the same size.

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