Make Your Own Bullroarer

The Pueblo Indians made bullroarers. These were made from wood carved from a tree that had been struck by lightning. The heavy cord or lace attached to the end of the wood was made from the baleen of whales and a small piece of walrus tusk. When spun around, it makes a sound like a moaning or howling wolf, hence the name “wolf scare”.

You and your students can make your own bullroarer with some paint stirrers from a paint or hardware store. You can also use a piece of wood with these dimensions: 12 inches long, 1 1/2 inch wide, and 1/4″ thick. You will also need some sandpaper, a drill, some paint and paintbrush, and 2 feet of heavy cord or leather lace.

First you will need to sand your wood surfaces thoroughly. On one end of the stick you’ll need to drill a hole large enough for your cord or lace to flow through. Usually paint stirrers already have holes one one end. Each side of the stirrer can have designs or Indian hieroglyphs, such as a Thunderbird or lighting symbol. Of course, your students can always use whatever design they like. Stripes and geometric shapes work well. Paint your designs with acrylic paints and let the designs dry completely.

Now you are ready to pass the cord through the hole of your paint stirrer. Make sure to tie the cord or lace securely with a double knot and make a hand loop.

To hear the authentic bullroarer sound, have your students take their creations to an open area and let them swing their art in circles around their heads or at their sides.

You can decorate your bullroarer with wolves to make it really “scare” wolves. Other Arctic animals work well also.

Your students may also want to make a handle for their bullroarer. To do so, drill a hole in the middle of a short piece of dowel rod. Pass the cord or lace through the hole and double knot it very firmly.

Now your students have their very own authentic bullroarers!

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