How to Make a Maraca

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Maracas are hollow-headed, bead-filled, hand-held percussion instruments used in Latin music to keep the beat and add texture to the rhythm of dances and songs. Maracas, also known as rhumba shakers, can be made of plaster, plastic, metal, wood and many other materials. This article will teach you how to make papier-mâché maracas with a few household items.

Things You'll Need

  • Balloons Flour Water Strips of newspaper, 1 inch wide and up to 14 inches long Glue Dowels, 5 inches long and 1 inch in diameter Tape Dried beans, seeds, popcorn kernels or beads Decorations (paint, stickers, crepe paper, ribbon)
  • Blow up two balloons to about the size of softballs or small grapefruit.

  • Mix 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of water and 1/3 cup glue in a large bowl. This is the paste mixture for the papier-mâché. If you run out, you can make more by adding equal parts flour and water and a small squirt of glue. The mixture can be stored overnight in the refrigerator if needed.

  • Dip the newspaper strips into the paste mixture and drape them over the balloons, crossing each strip at a right angle from the previous strip. Cover the balloons completely except for a 1/2-inch space at the bottom of each balloon, where the balloon is tied off. Once the balloons are covered in two layers of the papier-mâché, let them dry overnight.

  • Pop the balloons inside of the papier-mâché and remove the balloons.

  • Put 15 to 20 seeds, beans, popcorn kernels or beads into the heads of the maracas through the hole at the bottom.

  • Put the dowels into the holes at the bottom of the heads and seal them well with either more strips of dampened newspaper or with tape. If you want the maracas to look nice and smooth, more papier-mâché is probably the way to go. Once the papier-mâché is dry around the dowels, seal the part where the dowels and the heads meet with glue and let dry.

  • Paint and decorate the maracas with stickers, glitter, crepe paper, ribbon or whatever you please. Let the glue and paint dry before using your new maracas.

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