Here’s a couple of pieces of buffalo skin cut out in the shape of the rattle head. They have soaked in water for several hours to soften.
Buffalo skin is very thick and tough. This piece measured 1/8 inch thick. Two layers together makes 1/4 inch to try and sew together. First punch holes with a tool and hammer to make that possible.
Its important that the holes are aligned. Clip the skins together.
Use the tools to punch the holes around the perimeter.
Whip stitch them together. This example uses hemp cord.
Fill it using a funnel and some play sand.
Pack as much sand as possible into it. You might be surprised how much you can get in there and you will get a better, rounder shape if you really work at it. I use the eraser end of a pencil and push it down in to pack the sand.
Keep working more sand into it and shape it how you like it.
Put the stick you will be using as the handle in and straighten it. It will dry tightly around the stick. You will be able to wiggle it out to pour the sand out and add seeds when you are ready to assemble the rattle.
Hang it to dry for 2 days. This helps hold the shape you want. If you don’t hang it the shape will flatten a little as it dries. I have put them into a paper cup about the same size to dry which works, but I prefer hanging it.
Shaman use rattles to chase away evil spirits, or in other words, to clear negative energy. A really fun thing about rattles in music making is that they are simple to play, so even the little ones can join in the fun.