Rain Makers

Deb , Totem Council, Washington: Another use for film canisters is rain-makers. Our troop filled each about 1/3 full of rice, then capped them. We put a dab of white glue in the center of the cap, then stuck a bamboo skewer through the glue and cap. Let dry. They sound like rain, and make a great background for a quiet song, especially if the girls each have two. They also fulfill one of the try-it requirements for make an instrument. Using beans instead of rice makes a little heavier sound, but they never get loud enough to be annoying.

Marilyn Robinson, 1st Petawawa Brownies, Da Hon Neh Area, Petawawa District, Opeongo Division, Ontario: We made rain sticks at our last camp. We used paper towel tubes. We poked holes in the tube ahead of time with a darning needle.

The girls had to put the toothpicks in the tube at all different angles. The toothpicks were the double pointed ones. They were clipped off using a nail clipper and then spot glued into place using white glue.

The tube was then covered with wallpaper and glued.

A Balloon was placed on one end, I would recommend hot gluing it to secure it.

Then the tube was filled with popcorn. A balloon was placed on the opened end and glued.

Voila! A Rain stick.

Wendy Baker: I saw them being made on a TV show recently.

They used a mailing tube or tube from wax paper etc.

They put a piece of Bristol board inside which was cut the same width and length as the tube and then slightly folded in half with cuts about 1 inch apart on one side to the fold and then alternated on the other side so that the first cut would be 1 1/2 inches in etc.

The insert was folded back and forth so that the opposite cuts made a channel for the peas to run down slowly.

They then placed this piece inside of the tube, cut a circle of cardboard and taped in securely to the bottom

They used various things inside such as rice, peas, lentils etc. each different thing made different sounds and taped another cardboard circle on to top and then decorated their rainsticks with mac tac, wrapping paper, etc.

I would make this kind over the one in the Canadian Guider as it involved nails.

Margaret A.B. Jones, Pathfinder Guider, Valois-Dorval District, Quebec:

RAIN STICKS (for Guides and Pathfinders) (ages 10 - 15 yrs)


Rain sticks originated in the northern deserts of Mexico, where they are made from the branches of the Cholla cactus (BTW...I believe if you did buy one made out of cactus you would have trouble at customs returning home) We make ours from materials that are readily available in Canada....



Pound nails into tube, following seams (...I have heard that you put them in in a spiral down the tube...)-make sure nails are evenly distributed.

Cover one piece of lining totally with glue and tightly pull over one end of the tube (can hold in place with elastic bands).

Let dry. (very important - as you don't want the seeds to stick to wet glue at the end...-maybe could cut out cardboard circle to place on end yet under the lining)

Pour beans/peas/lentils into the tube, adding or taking away until you have the sound you like best, as they run down through the nails in the tube.

Glue another piece of lining over the other end of the tube. Let dry. (again...very important)

Decorate with wallpaper and wrap leather around one end twice, tying with a reef knot.

String beads onto each end of the leather and tie knots to secure.

Squeeze glue under the bead directly above each knot and push a feather into it.

Enjoy the sound of your rain sticks as you imagine the soft patter of rain.


(The above was taken from the Canadian Guider May/June Issue 1996 pg. 22 which was submitted by Leanne Gordon, Fort Langley, B.C.) ...what's in brackets are my comments...

Luanne Taylor, Ranger Guider, Mackenzie, British Columbia: Coincidentally, I just made these last week with my "after-school kids". We used foam pipe insulation, pushed round toothpicks through it, evenly spaced, spiraling down the whole length, and filled them with barley, after snipping of the excess toothpick lengths and taping a cardboard circle to the bottom. The top was then plugged in the same way, and we wrapped the whole thing with brown packing tape.

The kids were delighted, the cost was minimal (I cut the tubes in half, so each one was about 18-20 inches long), and parents were fascinated! No special tools or skills needed. I snipped the toothpicks with kitchen shears.