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Coffee Can Maraca

by Sylvia B.

My instrument is called the coffee can maraca. It is a percussion instrument. I got the idea for making it from a magazine. My instrument looks like a coffee can with colored stripes, a handle from the bottom, and beads coming out from four places n the sides. The pitch is between high and low. The volume is loud. The tone is good.

To make my instrument I used a tin coffee can, some yellow string, different colored fabric paints, different sized and shaped beads, a wooden stick, black sculpy, and wood glue. I got the coffee can in the recycling bin. The string I found in the garage. Everything else was left over from a different project.

I made my instrument by drilling a hole in the bottom for the stick. Then I drilled four holes in the sides for string with beads. Next I made sculpy beads to hold the stick in place. My Mom baked them. While they were baking I decided which beads to put on the string. When the sculpy beads were done, I put one on the inside of the can, on the stick, and one on the outside. I glued them with wood glue. Then I put four short pieces of string into the holes in the sides of the coffee can. I tied knots on the inside of the coffee can. Then I put beads on the outside. I tied knots at the bottoms. Then I made fabric paint stripes in the bottom ridges. I had to wait overnight to paint the top ridges because the glue on the handle was still wet. Next I painted the top ridges. My Mom helped me by drilling the holes, baking the sculpy beads, and spinning the coffee can while I painted the stripes. I tied the string, put on the beads and glued the handle by myself.

A problem I had when I was making my instrument was thinking of an idea. The solution was that I found an idea I liked in a magazine. Another problem was painting the stripes on the top because the beads would get in the fabric paint. I solved it by having my Mom hold down the beads.

You can play my instrument by twirling the stick, shaking it, or rubbing the beads on the ridges. When you shake it, it makes rattling sound. When you twirl it, it makes a "ching-ching" noise. When you scrape the beads on the ridges it makes a scratching noise. The pitch doesn't change. To change the volume you just shake, twirl, or rub harder or faster.

I think this project was fun and interesting. It was challenging, but it was fun. I learned that sometimes you have great ideas, but you can't get the right materials to make it.