Build your very own DRUM FOR LIFE!
Select your dream djembe shell from our huge range of West African drums and get down to learning the process from our experienced drum maker Abli 

We now run our drum making sessions all year round at a time that suits you and our drum maker. Simply get in touch and we will organise a time that suits everyone ASAP

Building your own drum is a highly satisfying hands-on experience that connects you to your drum for life.

Join our experienced drum maker Abli for a hands-on journey into drum building and walk away with your own brand new African Drum – personally customised with all your favourite features.

Drum Making is a two-stage process and requires approximately 3-4hrs on the first day and 2 hrs on a separate day.
We just need to make an appointment with you that suits our drum makers schedule. He is pretty flexible with times.

How does it work?

On arrival at AD Head-quarters you can check out our HUGE range of African djembes on the shop floor

This will give you some examples of all the different djembe options we have. You can road test a few and hone in on what you do and don’t like in a djembe.
From here we head into the warehouse and start looking at djembe shells.

We will guide you through all the different options from entry level djembes right through to our Master Series hardwood range
Once you have chosen a shell we will guide you through the process of making the drum.

Day 1 (around 3hrs)

  • Skin selection – VERY important in terms of the sound the drum will end up having. We have several options including goat, calf and cow from Australia, West Africa and Indo
  • We need to get the skin in water nice and early so it has time to soak through and become malleable before we start skinning the drum
  • Shell preparation including levelling and sanding the bearing edges if required
    Oiling the shell – choose what kind of finish you’d like on the exterior. Glossy or matt?
  • Choosing the fabric we wrap the rings with – we have a HUGE selection of colourful African fabrics.
  • Choose your rope colour – choose from over 10 colour varieties of solid or mixed tones
  • We then wrap the rings with fabric and with loops in preparation for the vertical rope work.
  • Once all the ring rope work is done we can get to work skinning the drum.
  • Once the skin is put on the drum (wet) it will take a few days to dry

Day 2 (around 2hrs)

  • The second stage takes place once the skin is dry, when we will “crank” the drum and have it ready for playing
  • You’ll learn all the tricks of the trade to get the right amount of tension into the skin and have your drum sounding great as you walk out the door

The Process

First Session (3 – 4 hours)

  1. Select your shell
  2. Choose the skin based on the sound you want
  3. Choose the rope and accent material
  4. Get to work! Rope up and skin the drum, add a handle
  5. Leave to dry and settle

Second Session a few days later once the skin has dried (1-2 hour)

  1. Tune the drum & get a quick debrief about care and tuning
  2. Consider adding a bag or hat for extra protection – Highly recommended as a bag will prolong the lifespan of the skin.
  3. Pay for your new baby!
  4. Take home and play, play, play!


The cost of the drum is largely determined by your choice of shell. Our medium density shells come from Ghana and hardwood shells come from Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Mali. For a guide on the various drum prices check out our Djembe section here .
On top of the drum price, we charge an additional $100 for the workshop experience which goes directly to our drum maker who will guide you through the whole process.

Medium density Ghana Djembes

$ 440 - 550

12″ – 14″

Primo or Master Series Hardwoods

$ 550 - 1200

12″ – 15″


Please contact us with a date and time which suits you.
If you have any questions, please get in touch:

[email protected]
(03) 9525 3073

Or fill in the contact form below.