day 26 – rain sticks rock

Your collection of junk band instruments will benefit from the addition of a rain stick. Most of the items you need will be kicking around the place at some point: the longest cardboard tube you can find and caps for the ends, lots of nails (finding a bottle of rusty screws prompted the making of our rain stick), tape of some kind (masking tape, duct tape, strips of contact, even sticky tape) and some rice. This is an opportunity to recycle a cling wrap tube, a contact tube, even toilet rolls, which can be taped together.

The idea is to insert nails/screws into the cardboard to impede the fall of rice through the tube. Experiment with the number of nails and the amount of rice – you don’t want the rice to fall too fast but you want it to fall without being shaken. The longer the fall, the better your stick performs. Put a cap over one end before you start and fit one to the other when you finish. Plastic milk bottle tops taped to the ends work well, or you can use circles of paper attached with rubber bands.

Your rain stick can be as beautiful as you want to make it. Ours is cobbled together and displays running repairs, unfortunately, because the cardboard was too flimsy for the weight of the screws. You can paint yours, or wind string or wool around it, and add feathers, sequins and other kinds of decoration to make it a thing of beauty. Now you have an instrument that sounds like a shower in a rainforest.

Published by Dr Toni Risson

Dr Toni Risson is a storyteller and a cultural historian who has penned everything from children’s picture books to a PhD on the Magic of Lollies. An expert on the Greek cafe phenomenon, Toni curated Meet Me at the Paragon for the State Library of Queensland, and her latest book, Brisbane’s Greek Cafes: A Million Malted Milks, was a finalist in the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards. Having encountered the elegant Paragon Cafe in Katoomba as a child, Toni developed a fascination with silky oak panelling, bevelled mirrors and Art Deco wall lights long before she understood the stories behind Australia's iconic Greek cafe. She continues to document our lost café culture.

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