Saturday, 25 April 2015

DIY doll tambourine tutorial

American Girl Folk Costume Tambourine.

DIY doll tambourine tutorial

     I have started making a folk dance costume for my doll and have already finished the skirt. Obviously  as usual I got side-tracked!  I started thinking about when my DD used to sing and dance in the local Folk group. They had people who played instruments obviously and she had a tambourine! (I added it to the photo so you can see what I was trying to achieve!)
      Off I went to see if I could find a small one to buy...nothing. The only one I did find doesn't ship to Italy. Ok, so lets find instructions to make my own...again nothing! I couldn't find anything in my search. Is it possible no one else has decided to make one?
So I got my thinking cap on and asked my DH for suggestions as well. This is the prototype of what we have come up with! All the things we used were already in the house. Some could be substituted by better alternatives. I could have done with having my DB here as well to help. Unfortunately he lives many miles away. He is far better than me at this sort of crafting!

Wood border for finishing off shelf edges. (DH used it a while ago for a cabinet he made. It sticks on  with heat, we used an old flat iron)
A ruler and pencil to mark where to cut the holes.
A small container to use as a form for the tambourine.
Some thin wire. A wire cutter.
The metal holders from 10 tealight candles. These are thin aluminium and can be easily cut with scissors. Bottle taps would have been a better alternative but I had none available.
A strong needle to make holes in the discs.
A punch to make holes in a belt. I used this to make it easier to cut slits in the wood border.
A sharp knife.
A stapler. White glue. Sticky tape.
Some narrow ribbon for decoration.

I think that is all.
First  I took the border and wrapped it around the small container. I overlapped the ends a little and cut it. Then I cut another piece the same length.
I used a ruler to mark the center and draw 5 spaces for the "metal" discs. With the belt punch we punched small holes along the line and then with the knife straightened the holes.
I cut 10 small circles from the tealight holders. With a needle I punched a hole in the center, 2 at a time so I was sure they matched.  I cut a short piece of wire, narrower than the wood border, and pushed it through the center of the two discs. I used some sticky tape to hold them in place on the inner piece, before placing the outer layer over. I used a staple to close the circle.
With the hot iron we sealed the two pieces of wood together.It would have been probably easier to just glue them in place!
One last hole near the join to tie the ribbons to.
DH used some wood stain on one of them, the other we left as it was.
Now I just need to get knitting and finish her costume!
Here are photos I took. Any suggestions for improvements are very welcome!

Handmade doll tambourine tutorial

Handmade tambourine

How to make a doll tambourine
Fairly realistic looking?

American irl doll tambourine


  1. You are very clever!'s Kate from Ravelry!

    1. Thankyou so much! The first time someone commented on my blog! Lovely!