Colourful Cardboard Roll Rain Sticks

May 27, 2016

Rain sticks are one of the simplest crafts around. They're easy to make, fun to decorate and even more fun to play with—who doesn't love the sound of softly falling rain?

You Will Need:

  • sturdy cardboard tubes (aluminum foil tubes or plastic wrap tubes are perfect)
  • acrylic craft paint
  • paint brushes
  • wax paper
  • aluminum foil
  • rice
  • washi tape


1. Paint the cardboard tubes. When we made these, the younger children painted their tubes as they pleased. The older hooligans painted bold, solid bands of colour, then used a fine paintbrush to add black lines to separate the colour blocks. The effect was very striking.

We were going to leave our rain sticks just like this, but someone spied our stash of washi tape—the kids thought it would be fun to embellish their rains sticks with colourful tape.

Colourful rain sticks with washi tape.

What a great addition to the project!  Not only did the tape add colour and interest to our rain sticks, wrapping and winding the tape around the cardboard tubes was a great fine-motor activity.

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3. Once the tubes are decorated and dry, it's time to fill them. 

First, you need to close the bottom end of the rainstick. We did this by folding a piece of wax paper and moulding it to the bottom of the tube, then taping it in place with washi tape.

One decorated rain stick.

4. To get the lovely sound of falling rain, you need to add rice to a rain stick. It’s a good idea to insert something into the tube first though, to slow the flow of the rice.  For our rains sticks today, we used aluminum foil.

For each rain stick, we crumpled up a long piece of foil and slid it into the tube.

Then we added a few scoops of rice and closed up the top of the tube with wax paper and tape, just as we did for the bottom.

A child pours rice into a rain stick.

And now, our rain stick is ready to play with!

Bring on those spring showers!

Article Author Jackie Currie
Jackie Currie

Read more from Jackie here.

Jackie Currie is a mother, daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind the blog Happy Hooligans. A self-proclaimed glitterphobe, she specializes in easy, affordable arts & crafts and good, old-fashioned play.