Percussion InstrumentsFinished percussion instrumentsIn Hawai'i, this instrument, which is called  ipu, is usually made from a dried gourd filled with seeds. It plays an important role in hula, because it helps provide the rhythm and sound for the chants and dancers. An ipu is played by striking the bottom of the gourd with the heel of the hand or hitting the side of the instrument with one's fingers. If seated, it's struck on the ground.

While you may not have gourds with which to work, there are many items that can be reused to make this instrument. Using postconsumer solid waste will help save money as well as natural resources, energy, and landfill space.

You will need:

How to:

Rinse and air dry the containers. Peel off the label, exposing the white plastic underneath. Cover your work area with newspapers.

Early Hawaiian artists used bold colors, geometric shapes, and abstract patterns in their designs. Drawing with paint markers, decorate the container, following along with its shape, or make a repeat pattern using rectangles and/or squares.

When finished, partly fill the containers with rocks or gravel and fasten the lid. For music to use in playing the instrument, visit the Hula Preservation Society to hear authentic Hawaiian chants.

Tips and Tricks:

The markers we use are called Painters, and they're manufactured by the Hunt Corporation. Most hobby and art stores carry them.

Substitute dried rice, beans, pasta, or seashells for the rocks or gravel. Notice how the sound changes, depending on the type of material you use.

If you wish, cover the filled containers with a few layers of papier-mâché, and when dry, paint with acrylics. Varnish for a more durable finish.
Creasing styrofoam piece with a pencil Finished design in the foam square Put tape on the back to create a handle Stamping a design A border made of squares