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How to Make a Steel Drum Out of a Coffee Can?

Do you enjoy drinking coffee? If you do, you are probably one of those people that buy coffee grounds in cans. They are the best packaging option for coffee beans or grounds because they keep them fresh for as long as possible.

The materials used to make coffee cans, such as steel-coated tins, act as an excellent barrier to oxygen and moisture. You can keep a can of coffee beans on your shelf for a long time.


coffee can steel drum

What happens when you’ve used the coffee beans or grounds up? A great solution is recycling.

Regular coffee drinkers spend a sizable chunk of money each year on coffee beans and coffee grounds.

We need to find a practical solution for the coffee cans we throw away instead of throwing them in the garbage. Recycling is a great option.

It gives us a chance to make things that will enable us to get back some of the money we spend on coffee.

With this fact in mind, many coffee drinkers have decided to reuse their old coffee grounds and other used coffee items to avoid throwing them away.

That’s how coffee cans found their way into art and crafts projects. A good example is making steel drums out of coffee cans.

It’sIt’s a favorite project for kids and people who love engaging in DIY projects.


What are Steel Drums?

Steel drums are percussion instruments often used in bands during live performances, especially in the Caribbean countries. They produce fantastic music with a strong hint of metallic sound that gives performances a vibrant feel.

Drums create music through a dented resonator that determines the pitch of sounds produced by them. These percussion instruments were first used in steel bands in Trinidad & Tobago during the 1930s.

For that reason, steel bands are the national instrument of Trinidad. They were introduced to Trinidadians by enslaved West Africans. These enslaved people learned the art of making and playing steel drums from Spanish soldiers on trading ships.

The first steel bands were made of regular items that young boys could find on the streets, such as dustbins, tins, and boxes. They were referred to as steel pans. That’s why you’ll find street performers called pannist after the steel pan or steel band playing these drums to entertain passers-by.

There were also those who made steel drums from oil barrels, such as Ellie Monnette, who is credited for creating a steel drum that could produce 14 notes.

Steel bands were first played during holiday celebrations when playing traditional music. They were a significant part of carnival music and street culture in Trinidad.

With time, these roughly made percussion instruments were refined to become what we see in live bands and orchestras. They are a favorite instrument for street performers.

Steel drums are among the most popular percussion instruments in these bands. Many people dream of playing them, and kids love to bang on them.

They have also found their way from the Caribbean to other countries like Switzerland and Japan, where there is a lot of steel band activity.


Reasons for Making Steel Drums

Although you can buy simple steel drums from a music shop, making them at home is much more fun. You only need to recycle things used around the home, such as hubcaps, metal cupcake trays, trash can lids, and coffee cans.

Coffee cans are a favorite item to use for making a steel drum because they are easy to handle during art projects.

Learning how to make steel drums is fun. It is a great craft project to do on your own or with kids, especially if you love music.

If you resonate a homemade steel drum just right, it will create amazing music. It’s also a perfect way to recycle your empty coffee cans. You can enjoy this exercise during family craft activities.

Once you master the art of making steel drums out of a coffee can, you can make them for friends as gifts.

These drums are easy to carry, so it’s easy to take them anywhere on days when you want to have musical fun outdoors.

You can also teach kids cultural dances or help them to create a band with these steel drums and other easy-to-make percussion instruments.

Homemade steel drums also make excellent decor items for the house or garden.

Here’s how to make a steel drum using coffee cans.


A Step By Step Tutorial on How to Make Steel Drums


Empty coffee cans

Manilla or kraft paper

Spray Paint


Marker Pen


Duct tape

Wooden Sticks / Pencils



Hot glue gun


  1. Wash an empty steel coffee can thoroughly and dry it.
  2. Leave the cover of the coffee can on it to act as the drum head.
  3. Stick the coffee cover securely around the coffee can using duct tape.
  4. Paint the coffee can in your preferred design using your favorite color and leave it out to dry.
  5. Use the ruler and marker pen to divide the bottom of the can into four parts.
  6. Make a dent in one part of the circle using a rubber mallet. These dents will aid in creating sounds when you play the drums.
  7. Determine the sound you want from your drum by widening the dent gradually. The bigger it is, the lower the sound it can make, and vice versa.
  8. Move to the other sections of your drum, making dents of different sizes to create sound variations in your drum.
  9. Blow the balloon up to stretch it out. Cut the nose of the balloon off and stretch it over the opening in which you’ve created dents.
  10. Stick the stretched balloon in place around the coffee can using duct tape in the color you’ve painted it in.
  11. Use a hot glue gun to make some drumsticks by sticking pom poms onto the end of two pencils or sticks.
  12. Now, you can play your steel can drums by hitting them with the drumsticks to any rhythm you like as you learn to make music with them.



Recycling coffee waste is a great way to reduce the garbage in our landfills. Try this coffee can steel drums tutorial and tell us how it goes.

Other recycling projects you can try using coffee cans are;

  • Making tin can planters
  • Creating a coffee can plunger holder
  • Designing a decorative flower can
  • Building a coffee can cubbyhole
  • Putting together a coffee can wine rack
  • Setting up a coffee can light fixture



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