How to Make Papier-Mache Maracas

by Anya Meave
Use recycled newspaper for the project.

Use recycled newspaper for the project.

Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Maracas are a simple percussion instrument that helps keep the beat of a song while adding a distinctive rattling sound. Although the majority of maracas are made of wood or leather, plastic and papier-mache maracas can also be used to create enjoyable music. Make papier-mache maracas that fit into the palms of both hands for children to use at home. Kids will love making and embellishing the maracas with bright colors and, of course, shaking the maracas along with a creative song.

Items you will need

  • Newspaper
  • Apron
  • 20 beans
  • 2 latex balloons
  • 6-inch cotton strings
  • White glue
  • 2-qt. bowl
  • 1-inch paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Acrylic paint
  • Markers, glitter and other adornments
Step 1

Cover a table with sheets of newspaper to protect the workspace. Wear an apron to protect garments from glue and newspaper ink. Tear additional sheets of newspaper into approximately 5-by-2-inch strips for the project using both hands.

Step 2

Insert 10 beans into each balloon. The beans will create the rattling sound inside the papier-mache maracas. Blow up both balloons until they are about 4 inches around. Tie a tight knot at the end of the balloons to prevent the air from seeping out.

Step 3

Tie a cotton string around the tied end of each balloon. The string will be used to hang the maracas to dry. Set the balloons on the newspaper-covered table. Mix ½ cup of white glue with ½ cup of water in the bowl.

Step 4

Dip the brush into the bowl of thin glue and brush the glue onto the front and back of one newspaper strip. Place the strip on one of the balloons, near the top. Repeat this process, coating one newspaper strip with glue at a time and covering the entire surface of each balloon with a layer of pasted newspaper strips, working from top to bottom.

Step 5

Allow the first layer of newspaper to dry on the surface of the balloon for 15 minutes. Apply the glue-water mixture to additional newspaper strips on one side only with the brush. Lay the strips of newspaper, adhesive side down, over the first layer of newspaper, covering each balloon completely.

Step 6

Hang the maracas in a cool, dry area overnight. Inspect the maracas the following day to ensure the newspaper has dried. Once it is completely dried, cut the string and the tied end of the balloon with scissors. Cut as close to the knot on the tied end of the balloon as possible without cutting off the knot. Tape a 2-by-2-inch piece of newspaper over the knot with masking tape.

Step 7

Prime the surface of the papier-mache maracas with white acrylic paint and allow the paint to dry for 20 minutes. Paint the maracas with colored acrylic paint in a pattern of your choice. Allow the maracas to dry for one hour. Decorate the maracas with markers, glitter and other adornments.

About the Author

Anya Meave is a freelance writer from San Diego, Calif. She began writing in 2009 for various websites. Majoring in telemedia, she has written scripts for student projects and has been chosen to submit a spec script for the 2011 Nickelodeon Writers Fellowship. Meave has an associate degree in photography from Southwestern College.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images