5 Tips for Building Your First Custom Drum Set on a Budget

In Drum Building 101, Drum Building Resources by Philip3 Comments

Drum Building on a Budget

I realize that most people building a drum for the first time probably don’t want to go into debt just to build drum! I’ve compiled a list of 5 tips for the drum builder on a budget! Enjoy! Please leave a comment if you have any tips you’d like me to add!

Use Stain/Polyurethane in one jar.


Minwax makes a great product called Polyshades that is stain and polyurethane in one jar. This eliminates the need to buy stain and poly separately, and you don’t have to worry about the chemicals in your stain and your clear coat having compatibility issues. Take a look at some pictures of a custom drum set that were finished with Polyshades.

Use rattle can spray paint.

This drum set was finished with a regular rattle can spray paint.


You may think that you need a professional HVLP Paint Sprayer to create a beautiful finish on a drum, but you can achieve some amazing results from regular ole spray paint! I actually show you my step by step process to finish drums using spray paint in my eBook!

Don’t get any unnecessary upgrades.

I know you really want to get wooden claw style drum hoops on all of your drums, but did you realize that you could save about $120 per drum if you just stick with 2.3 triple flanged chrome hoops? You’ll also save lots of cash by not adding die-cast hoops, heavy duty bass drum spurs, tube lugs, and any colored hardware!

Measure twice (or more).

Please take this seriously and save yourself the heartache.  You’ll lose more money if you don’t get your layout right and have to start over with a new shell. I’ve done it. It’s not fun.

Use your friend’s tools!

Maybe you don’t want to dive in head first to drum building and start your own drum company. I get that. If you don’t own some of the proper tools to build a drum set, I’m sure you know someone who might be able to loan you some of those tools to build your first drum! However, all you really need to build your first drum is a screwdriver!


  1. Hi,
    I’ve recently signed up and appreciate the free tutorials on covering drums. I have tried this before, with terrible resulting damage to the wood when bringing up the old wrap. Do have advice on the “removal” process?

  2. Author

    Good question! Removing old wrap can be tricky. If your removing satin flame, it usually peels right off because it is glued with the equivalent of Elmer’s glue. If you are removing a sparkle, glitter, or pearl it is usually glued with contact cement. I’m not an expert in removing wrap, but some things that have helped me in the past are:
    1. Use a blow dryer or heat gun to heat up the areas your trying to remove.
    2. use a putty knife to gently pry the wrap from the shell.
    3. Go very slow. Each area will take a few minutes to heat up enough to make the glue loosen up.
    4. Try your best not to gouge the wood, or peel it up.
    I hope these tips help!

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