Coffee Can Drums

A Native American Craft Project for Elementary School Kids

Materials to Make The Coffee Can Drum Craft Project:

  • Empty coffee cans with lids
  • Small dowels approx. 11” in length
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers or crayons


Directions to Make The Coffee Can Drum Craft Project:

  • Have students cut strips of paper to cover the coffee can (for younger children this is always easier if the paper is precut).
  • Students can design their drum with any Native American patterns desired and then glue the designed paper to the can.
  • Replace lid

Native American Design Reference Sites

Native American Designs

This site has a great collection of designs with very good background on each of the patterns.
Source: Buck-A-Gram

Native American Designs and Colors – Natural Dyes

Learn the sumbolism behind various colors in Native American art.
Source: Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs

What Does this Indian Symbol Mean?

“Over the years, both Native American designs (merely decorative forms) and symbols (a sign representing an idea, a quality or an association) have been subject to “interpretation” by non-Indian dealers and traders. Often, these interpretations are explained in terms of Anglo-European concepts that were nonexistent to the Native American. The result frequently bears little or no relationship to the true meaning of the symbols.”
Source: Wingspread Guides of New Mexico