Making an Indian Dholak in Crafts for Kids

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Making a craft model version of a dholak is a creative way to introduce kids to North Indian culture. The dholak is a drum that Indian musicians play by hands. Dholaks are smaller versions of the dhol drums and are traditionally crafted from canvas and wood. Employ the use of several inexpensive household products to build your craft-version of the dholak, including cardboard, canvas and elastic string. Set up a concert for the kid's to play their model instrument once the craft is completed.

Things You'll Need

  • 16-by-19-inch piece of shipping box cardboard
  • Measuring tape
  • Permanent epoxy
  • 1 inch triangular piece of shipping box cardboard
  • 9-inch circular piece of canvas
  • 11-inch circular piece of canvas
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup flour
  • Pot
  • Medium size bowl
  • 1-by-6-inch newspaper strips (multiple)
  • 1-by-6-inch paper towel strips (multiple)
  • Brown acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Brown plastic beads (multiple)
  • Strings (2, various length)
  • Scissors

Lay a 16-by-19-inch piece of shipping box cardboard onto a flat work surface. Adjust the piece so one of the 19-inch edges is facing you. Roll the right edge tightly over the body of the cardboard until it meets the left edge. Unroll the cardboard. The tight roll prepares the cardboard for being shaped into the size of the dholak.

Loop the right edge over to the left edge to create a hollow, cylinder shape in the cardboard. Push the far side right corner tip to overlap it with the left side edge until the far side diameter of the cylinder measures 7 inches. The near side diameter should now measure 9 inches.

Bond the long edges of the cardboard together with permanent epoxy. A 1-inch triangular notch should now exist along the near side edge of the dholak. Bond a 1-inch triangular piece of shipping box cardboard into the notch with permanent epoxy. The opposite sides of the dholak will now give off different pitches when the drum is played.

Stand the 7-inch end of the dholak atop a 9-inch circular piece of canvas. Center the dholak atop the canvas. Pull the edges of the canvas around the body of the dholak. Bond the canvas edges to the dholak with permanent epoxy.

Stand the 9-inch end of the dholak atop a 11-inch circular piece of canvas. Center the dholak atop the canvas. Pull the edges of the canvas around the body of the dholak. Bond the canvas edges to the dholak with permanent epoxy.

Boil 5 cups water and 1 cup flour into a pot for three minutes to make a paper mache mix. Allow the mix five minutes to cool. Pour the mix into a medium size bowl.

Soak a 1-by-6-inch newspaper strip into the mix. Press the strip into the cardboard body of the dholak. Continue applying strips until the cardboard body--minus the canvas heads--of the drum is covered in one layer of newspaper.

Soak a 1-by-6-inch paper towel strip into the mix. Press the strip into the cardboard body of the dholak. Continue applying strips until the cardboard body--minus the canvas heads--of the drum is covered in one layer of paper towel. Allow three hours for the dholak to dry.

Paint the paper mache body with brown acrylic paint. Allow two hours for the dholak to dry.

Evenly space and bond a brown plastic bead at 1-inch intervals around each canvas rim with permanent epoxy. Stand the dholak on its 9-inch end.

Tie a string around one of the beads. Pull the string downward. Wrap the string around the bead directly below and to the left of the top bead. Pull the string upward. Continue this process to create a zigzag pattern around the entire drum. Tie off the end of the string to the final bead on which it lands once the string is wrapped once around the dholak. Half of the beads now remain unstrung.

Tie a second string around one of the remaining beads. Repeat the zigzagging process. The overlapping strings now form a diamond pattern around the body of the dholak. Tie off the end of the second string to the final bead on which it lands once the string is wrapped once around the drum. The strings emulate the cords that keep real dholak heads tight.

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