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Making a Rattle

I plan on making a silver rattle for a friend’s baby. The
problem is what should I use to make the rattle sound? I
experimented with rice or beads but the rattle was either too
dainty or heavy sounding. I may end up using the rice but if
anyone has a suggestion i would love to hear it.

Happy 1999!


How about little silver beads? Sue in sunny shingle springs

I made a small silver rattle last year. I used 2mm hematite
beads. I hope this helps. Pauline

How about using unpopped popcorn? Provided you aren’t going to
be heating the assembly once it’s added … ka-POW!

Try dried beans–various sizes are available, from pea size to
the larger limas–or lentils, etc. Check dried foods section of
market. Sharon Holt

Try using different kinds of seeds (sunflower, pumpkin,
gourd,apple or orange pits …well dried; or small nuts like
Indian nuts, or dried split peas, lentils or small beans. ) Some
of them make lovely sounds, depending on the dimensions of the

Hi, Saw your orchid post on the rattle. Wouldn’t rice disappear
after awhile? I’ve never made a rattle but I would use some
silver scrap that was fused into ball shapes. That way you are
keeping the materials constistent. The sound could be controlled
by what size and how many beads of silver you used.

Good luck,
Susan Sarantos

Hello DeDe I have done tons of electroformed baby rattles in the
past and we used ceramic beads to fill them. occasionaly we would
use a small quantity of Stainless steel shot beads but this would
tend to wake up the dead. The ceramic beads are round White beads
used in vibratory finnishing and are probably available from
Guesswein or Rio Grand Happy New Year

Dan Grandi

I have a friend who makes an incredible amount of money making
baby rattles. I was watching while she was making one one day
and I asked her what she used and she shrugged and said it
depended on what was handy. That day she used little tiny
pieces of silver shot. I thought that also maybe those little
hollow silver beads might work. I’d like to hear what you end
up doing… My sister is currently trying to get pregnant and I
can assure you that HER baby will have a silver spoon and

Susan E.

This made a nice sounding rattle for my nephew: On a 10 ga., 2
inch dia. ring I put beads cast in brushed cuttlebone, 'bout 1/2
in. dia. Work-hardened disks attached w/ rings of varying sizes,
some with this or that soldered on them for texture. Look in your
scrap and create a treasure! They all jingle-jangled together
very nicely. Of course, his initial soldered onto a disk
personalizes it.

Bernie, In sunny Phoenix, AZ

Regarding the making of a rattle. My first thought would be the
safety aspect in that the content in the event of damage to the
rattle would not harm the child.

…Leo Doucet…Fredericton, NB…Canada…

Hi all, re making a rattle. Does anyone know how to make those
rattles that sound like there is an orchestra inside them? A
student brought a small round silver ball to class. She had
purchased it in Bali. When the ball was turned it sounded like a
"xylophone, or similar. Very tuneful. Any ideas?

All the best for 1999

Felicity in sunny West Oz

Bernie, Your description of a rattle sounds as tho it would
certainly make a nice sound and look interesting. Keep in mind
that the infant will at some point in time hold onto it and put
it in his mouth. Maybe ouch!

Visit me or “beam me up” at:

I once saw the inside of a rocking doll that had the same type
of sound, it had a pendulum that swung inside a circle of
vertical wires (fixed on the bottom end). Each one of the wires
was a different length to produce a different tone. This may be
the way the ball was done, too. Or perhaps the movement piece
could be just a small ball.

Lorri Ferguson

DeDe, I used to make beaby spoons for friends which had a rattle
in the hollow handle (cool idea w/ bad results; baby puts food in
spoon, hears rattle, shakes spoon vigorously).

The handle was a hollow tapered cone (1/2 a spiculum) in which I
placed one or more bits of silver shot before I sealed it up.
Worked great w/ a lovely ring to it.

Good luck, Andy

I remember taking those apart when I was a kid.

The xylophone effect is obtained from a clapper like pendulum
striking different lengths of “music wire rods” the springy type
steel rods that you can buy from a model aircraft hobby shop.
They were probably 1/16 in diameter rods. These rods, arranged
in a circular cage, were fixed firmly on one end only by a
cast lead disk.

The disk was attached to the rattle handle. A garish plastic
cylinder made up the body to enclose the assembly and the
clapper hung from the top cover of the rattle. When the rattle
was twirled the clapper would describe a circular motion to
strike the rods each rod giving off a different note.

I don’t suppose you can use lead in toys nowadays and that
original toy used vacuum formed cellulose acetate plastic which
burned almost too readily.

Kelvin Mok (

Home: (403) 463-4099 | Home FAX: (403) 430-7120

The small silver balls that have a wonderful ring to them have a
piano wire stretched inside and metal pellet hit it and make the
ringing sound. some people call them fairy bells.

Hi Felicity, I’ve made a few of these and simply used rods of
different length (a bit like tuning forks in principle)
hard-soldered strategically on the inside of two hemispheres,
inserted a steel ball-bearing, then soldered up the two halves
with easy silver or gold solder. The larger you can make your
sphere, or whatever shape, the better.

You can get some lovely deep tones by turning longer rods into
spirals so they don’t extend or touch the other rods. It is
important that the rods don’t touch each other once everything is
soldered up, and that there is enough room for the ball bearing
to continually move and not get caught up inside. With a bit of
experimenting you’ll get some beaut’ sounds. All the best for the
new year, Rex from (east) Oz

    The small silver balls that have a wonderful ring to them
have a piano wire stretched inside and metal pellet hit it and
make the ringing sound. some people call them fairy bells 

I’m interested in the teqhnique of installing a stainless piano
wire inside of an end ball of a rattle. Can you explain. Would