How to Make Spanish Instruments

By Natalie Schwab ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Maraca:
  • 2 styrofoam or paper cups
  • Tan craft paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Hot glue gun
  • Dried beans
  • Colorful paints or markers (yellow, red, green and white)
  • Castanets:
  • 2 metal juice bottle lids (like from Snapple)
  • 1 elastic hair tie (thin)
  • Hammer
  • Safety goggles
  • Scrap wood
  • Scissors
  • 1 large nail
Maracas are easy to make and great for keeping beat.

The Spanish create music with a myriad of instruments, from Spanish guitars to maracas to castanets. Castanets are percussion instruments that dancers wear on their hands and click while they dance. Many of these instruments, like maracas and castanets, are simple structures that can be made right at home. If you want to create music like the Spanish do, try creating your very own Spanish musical instruments.

Maraca

Paint both cups with tan paint. Cover them completely so nothing is showing underneath. Allow the cups to dry. This will take a few hours.

Decorate your cups with Mexican colors like red, yellow, green and white. You can create any design you like. Try red horizontal zigzags, or red polka dots. Allow the paint to dry. You can use markers instead if you don't want to wait for the paint to dry.

Take one handful of dried beans and put them in one of the cups.

Put a glue stick in your hot glue gun and let it heat up for 5 minutes.

Line the rim of the cup that has the beans in it with a layer of hot glue and immediately put the second cup on top. Line the rims up so they are even. Allow the glue to dry for a few minutes.

Add any other decorations you would like such as pom-poms or buttons.

Shake your maraca.

Castanets

Set one metal lid face down on a piece of scrap wood and position a nail near the bottom edge. Hold the lid down and hammer the nail until it goes all the way through the lid and makes a hole big enough to fit the hair tie.

Pull the nail out.

Create a second hole the same way on the side opposite the first hole.

Remove the nail and create the same two holes in the second lid. Make sure they are in the same spots as the first holes. You can lay your first lid over the second lid to position the nail in the right spot.

Cut the hair tie so it is no longer a loop.

Put the two lids together with the insides facing in and the holes lined up.

Stick one end of the hair tie through the first set of holes and the other end through the second set of holes.

Tie the hair tie in a double knot.

Stick your forefinger through the elastic band on one side and your thumb on the other. Pull to spread the lids and then clap them together to make music.

Tip

Make two maracas if you want one for each hand.

About the Author

Natalie Schwab is a professional writer with a bachelor's degree in journalism and business from the University of Arizona. She has copy edited for her university newspaper, the "Arizona Daily Wildcat," conducted legislative research as an intern at Project Vote Smart and reported on the environment for the "Tombstone Epitaph."