How to Make Maracas From Recycled Materials

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Traditionally associated with Latin or Caribbean nations, colorful maracas are shaken along with Mariachi music. Conjuring images of dancing and merriment, maracas are fun for young and old alike. Maracas are often produced from natural materials such as dried gourds, however, they can be made utilizing recycled materials you may already have at home. Making your own maracas is a fairly simple craft project, resulting in a musical instrument that can be enjoyed at any time.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 small plastic water or juice bottles
  • Colorful duct tape or masking tape
  • 2 craft sticks or wooden dowels
  • 1 cup dried rice
  • Acrylic paints and brushes (optional)
  • Tinsel or ribbons (optional)
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Remove the paper labels from two used plastic water or juice bottles, preferably the short single serve kind. Smaller round bottles are shaped more like gourds or traditional maraca tops, but regular water bottles work fine as well. Make sure the inside of the bottles are clean and dry.

  • Paint your bottles vibrant colors with acrylic paints and allow to dry. Decorative patterns on maracas are up the imagination and include stripes, flowers or stars. If you do not want the mess associated with paint, then decorate your maracas with striped patterns utilizing colorful tape. The bottles can also be left clear, adding a colorful touch by dying the rice (that will be used to produce the rattle inside) with food coloring ahead of time.

  • Place the plastic bottles flat end down and pour the rice in. Fill each bottle about one-third full of rice. The amount of rice depends on the size of bottle; use less if you want a lighter maraca.

  • Insert the wooden dowels or craft sticks straight into the open end of each bottle. You may want to help secure the sticks in place with putty, cardboard or stiff paper shims. Wrap generous amount of duct tape around each stick, taping and securing them to the bottle tops. Use colorful duct or masking tape, or paint the tape with acrylic paint afterwards.

  • Tie colorful ribbons or tinsel around the base of the maracas. Add other decorative touches such as paint, tape or sequence. Make sure all paint is dry, then you are ready to shake and have fun with your maracas!

Tips & Warnings

  • Make an easier version of maracas by skipping the stick altogether. Simply screw the bottle top back on after filling with rice and decorate.
  • Use dry beans or grains if you do not have rice handy.

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