Bucket Drum Kit for toddler

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Project by Elizabeth posted 04-29-2014 03:44 PM 4938 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My two year old is obsessed with drums of all kinds, so I figured I’d make him a drum kit that can be used outdoors (won’t my neighbors be thrilled!) The frame is made of ~2 foot long western red cedar offcuts with a piece of scrap plywood for the cross piece. There are two five gallon buckets, one 3.5 gallon bucket and one 2 gallon bucket, all from Home Depot. One of the orange buckets also has a lid on it to give a different tone.

The cross piece is tilted at about 17 degrees to make it easier to reach the tops of the drums. The buckets are bolted in place with a supporting piece of plywood (seen in photo 2), 3/8” bolts, washers and a locking nut.

Some leftover swingset weatherproofing finish was applied, in case it’s left outside overnight accidentally.

We will probably add a pot-lid cymbal at some point soon, and I will put some reinforcing cross pieces on tops of the A-frames – easy enough to add that on later.

Total material costs:

Wood – all stuff I already had. The cedar is part of a job lot I got a couple of years ago, 150 pieces for $20. The ply was scrap from some project or another, possibly from a neighbor.

Buckets and lid – about $14

Hardware – four bolts, eight washers, four lock nuts, maybe $6?

Stain/finish – leftover from an earlier project

There’s a video of him playing at

12 comments so far

View drbyte's profile


845 posts in 4913 days

#1 posted 04-29-2014 03:51 PM

Guess we’re looking at the next great drummer for sure! Hope he has as much fun as it looks like! I know adults who would love to have a set that nice!! You did a great job for sure! Is there anything on the inside of the drum to help support it? Plywood or whatever across the bolts?

-- Dennis, WV

View Elizabeth's profile


821 posts in 3994 days

#2 posted 04-29-2014 03:57 PM

Yes, there’s a small piece of plywood across each pair of bolts. In the second picture you can see them sticking out. I made a jig to drill the holes consistently, which helped a lot.

In fact, the hardest part of the whole build was getting the drill holes in the plywood cross beam to be perpendicular, as I had to drill them once it was already assembled. Next time I’ll make a better jig for that too – the first pair didn’t turn out perfectly and I had to adjust things a little, but the second set went more smoothly.

He hasn’t let go of his drumsticks since September…we are really hoping he sticks with it (and of course continues to enjoy it). We’d love him to be able to answer “how long have you been drumming?” with “since I was eighteen months old”!

View ohwoodeye's profile


2490 posts in 4004 days

#3 posted 04-29-2014 05:57 PM

Next project…..........drum sticks spun on a wood lathe…....or just buy them, they’re cheap and they will fit his little hands better.

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View Elizabeth's profile


821 posts in 3994 days

#4 posted 04-29-2014 06:06 PM

Yeah, we got him a pair of “real” drumsticks in February (in addition to the half dozen pairs of rubber-tipped ones he has) and just had to get a replacement pair yesterday as it happens. He discovered last weekend that they would fit nicely down the little hole in the manhole cover on the sewer…

View hjt's profile


906 posts in 3989 days

#5 posted 04-30-2014 12:52 AM

What an adorable drummer! Love the tongue action in photo 5.

I had my first set at age 9. Great idea. I’m sure he’s going to enjoy these for a long time to come and then when it’s time…

-- Harold

View DaveGlx's profile


365 posts in 3295 days

#6 posted 04-30-2014 07:45 AM

what a nice project and the customer looks happy :). Well done.

-- Dave -

View punk's profile


181 posts in 3267 days

#7 posted 04-30-2014 01:22 PM

neat idea my greatgrandbaby is going to love one thank you for the idea

-- Punk in PA

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 4097 days

#8 posted 04-30-2014 06:10 PM

My first thought was “you’re braver than me” but if he’s already a drummer I guess that saves wear and tear on the rest of the house. lol Really great idea and build, very creative idea.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View Elizabeth's profile


821 posts in 3994 days

#9 posted 05-01-2014 03:53 PM

Karen I’ve been getting that kind of response from a lot of parents I know! The general opinion seems to be that introducing drums is a bad thing…but we’re a household of musicians so we don’t mind the noise. Plus yes, we are still teaching him that furniture and people are not drums, so the ability to redirect to buckets is very useful.

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3363 days

#10 posted 05-02-2014 09:19 PM

Very nice Elizabeth he’s going to have a blast! Have you ever heard of a Cajon? it’s a peruvian drum and I think you could make one of these easy from what the video shows. They are an actually instrument and I bet he’d love it.

Here’s how they are made, look like, played and how they sound.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Elizabeth's profile


821 posts in 3994 days

#11 posted 05-02-2014 10:00 PM

Thanks Randy, I’ll look into that!

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3363 days

#12 posted 05-02-2014 11:24 PM

Oh I got to thinking you might have to make it to his size :) he has to be able to get his little legs straddled on each side :)

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

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