About 15 years ago my daughter was given a rain stick made from a cactus. During a move the rain stick became damaged and rather than throw it out I decided to fix it. As I was working on it I thought, “Hey I could make one of these out of a papier mache’”. So I came up with a plan. The odd thing is that every time I make one of these, it rains. So mine are called Rain Makers.


  • Cardboard tube
  • Glue
  • Wallpaper Paste
  • Brown Paper, 20 lb. weight or heavier
  • White Paper, 20 lb. weight or heavier
  • Aquarium Gravel or Rice
  • Wooden Skewers
  • Metal Skewers or gimlet
  • Masking tape
  • Acrylic Paint

First I marked my tube with a black marker, tracing the oblique line on the cylinder.

Next, with a red marker, I drew a line running alone side the first line as shown in the photo.

Next I made holes in the tube using a metal skewer or gimlet with a handle on it. 

I poked the gimlet through the tube on the black line keeping it horizontal and came out the other side on the red line every 1 1/2 inches.

Top view

Next I took wooden skewers and stuck them through the tube keeping them perpendicular to the tube and coming out the other side so that they form a spiral.

The reason for putting the skewers in a spiral is that the gravel will gently fall down the length of the tube bouncing off the skewers making a sound similar to rain.

I applied generous amounts of glue on both ends of all the skewers.

When the glue was dry I carefully cut the skewers with wire cutters.

Here is the finished tube with all the skewers cut.
My tube was 30″ long and 2 3/4″ in diameter.

Next I covered one end of the tube with the bottom of a margarine tub and used masking tape to secure it.

piece of cardboard or heavy plastic will work to cover the end also.

To achieve the sound of rain falling I use about a 3/4 cup of aquarium gravel or rice.

I prefer the gravel as the sound is louder.
The amount will vary according to the width and length of the tube.

I covered the other end of the tube as I did the first end.

With masking tape, I covered all the holes around the tube as well as the ends.

Now I was ready to apply the Papier Mache’ strips.

Paste Recipe

2 rounded Tablespoons of dry wheat paste.
1 Cup water.
Aprox. 1 1/2 Tablespoons white glue.

In a plastic container sprinkle paste over water, mix, let thicken (1 min.) add white glue and additional water if necessary. The consistency should be like heavy cream.

Tear paper into strips along the grain.

2 inch wide strips are good for large flat surfaces.

For areas such as corners and curves the strips may need to be as narrow as 1/4 inch or less

Dip paper strips into paste.

Squeeze off excess paste and begin applying.

Press strips down to smooth out any air bubbles.

I allow each layer to dry before applying the next coat and alternate colours to make sure I’m getting complete coverage.

The number of layers I do depends on the thickness of both the paper and the tube.

I did eight layers for this one.

When all layers are completely dry I apply one or two coats of Gesso.

Then paint with acrylic paint.

Here’s proof that mine worked!