What is a Balloon Drum?

Handmade balloon drums fashioned from patterned balloons and assorted bowls.

The balloon drum is a simple and exciting musical instrument made by stretching a non-inflated round balloon over a pot or bowl. The sound each drum makes varies depending on the size of the container, the material it is made of, and the sizes and brands of balloons that are used. You can inexpensively assemble your own individualized balloon-drum set simply by picking up three or four different-sized bowls or pots on a trip to the thrift store.


A Drum Is Born

The idea for balloon drums comes from Addi Somekh, a balloon twister known mainly for his work with balloon hats. Explains Addi: “I had been playing a balloon bass for about a year and thought it would be cool to create a whole balloon rhythm section. I experimented with all sorts of materials, but nothing quite worked because I was making it more complicated than it needed to be. One day, I just stretched a balloon over a cooking pot. I thought, ‘This is too simple.’ But it sounded great and was the best solution.”

“Probably the most surprising thing about balloon drums,” Addi adds, “is the wide variety of tones they can produce—and how rich those tones are. Plus, you can smack them really hard, and they can handle it!”

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