Making an Indonesian Gamelan Drum

Today I’m featuring one of the crafts from my book, Recipe and Craft Guide to Indonesia. My friend Braden helped me make the Bali Gamelan Music drum.

Braden and the gamelan drum he made for the book Recipe and Craft Guide to Indonesia


It was a fun craft to make because all of the materials we needed were at our fingertips – oatmeal box, construction paper, yarn, brads, and a few others. Percussion instruments are important to the Indonesian culture.

Drums typically are the lead instruments in an Indonesian orchestra called a gamelan. There are several drums of different sizes in a Javanese gamelan ensemble. A set of bronze gongs, xylophone, violins and a flute may also be included. It may take some getting used to but, the sound of the gamelan, in both its Javanese and Balinese forms, has been compared to “liquid moonlight”.

The laced drums have skin heads on both sides and are played with the hand. Usually, one musician will play the drums, one or two at a time. The drummer supplies many of the signals to the rest of the group. Some drum patterns may mean ‘finish the piece’. Another may mean ‘change to a new piece’. Another drum pattern may mean ‘switch styles of playing’. Because the drums are played with the hands, they have a wide variety of sounds from a high pitch to a low sound.

I hope everyone reading this will want to purchase my Recipe and Craft Guide to Indonesia book from me. It is filled with 10 neat crafts including how to make a batik shirt and a Komodo dragon out of modeling clay. The book also contains 10 recipes of Indonesian dishes. Braden’s photo is in the book, along with several other photos of kids who helped me. I’ve posted Braden’s here. Other photos of students from the book can be found by searching ‘student’ on my blog.


If you make the drum, I’d appreciate your letting me know. I’d love to see a photo of you with the drum! That would be cool!


I’ll post other photos of crafts/recipes from my book in later days. Keep in touch.

Take care,

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