Drum Building Tips For Working With Drum Wraps

Drum building projects that use drum wraps are my favorite projects to work on. Why? Because the project moves along fast, there’s minimal effort for a maximum effect, and you can get really creative with stripes, custom drum wrap designs, color combinations, and more.

Not to mention, drum wraps are very tough. Knocking your kick drum on the door handle of the club isn’t as devastating with a wrap than it is when you have a nice high gloss lacquer. Chips and dents versus light scratches in a wrap? I’ll take the scratches!

When I was building for a major custom company, I was wrapping between three to five drum kits a day. So here’s some tips.

#1: My favorite option: Design Your Own Drum Set.

You can send custom designs and even your favorite fabric to get laminated. This is honestly the easiest drum building project to assure that the outcome is a 100% unique drum set. If you are a graphic designer, than you have no excuse!

#2: Sand Before Gluing

And you thought you could escape the sand paper! Sand the back of the drum wrap with #320 grit paper before applying your glue. This allows the glue to latch onto something… and helps with creating an unstoppable bond.

#3: Precise Drum Wrap Ordering

A common mistake with first time drum building ordering is NOT being precise enough when ordering your wrap pieces.

When you order, give exact widths and order the length of the drum wrap with a 1.5 ” overlap for all drums 16″ in diameter and under. Any projects with drums OVER 16″ need a full laminate sheet (54″), plus a patch piece.

To figure out your patch piece length… find the circumference of your drum shell, add 3″ to it and minus this number by 54. Always round up. For example, an 18″ drum would need a 6″ patch piece (do the math!!).

#4: Batch Your Drum Wrapping

If you haven’t heard me use the drum building term “batching”… it simply means to group all similar drum building activities together.

At one point when I was working for a big custom company, I was wrapping three to five drum kits in one day. That’s a lot of measuring, cutting, gluing, rolling, etc.

The solution? Batch all your activities! Whether or not you’re building for a company or doing it on a lesser scale… you’ll save a ton of time and hassle by batching your work.

For example, glue all the wraps at once. While they are drying, glue all the drum shells. Wrap all the shells, and then use the laminate roller on all the shells. Tape all the overlap seams, and then trim any wrap of the shells, etc.

#5: Use The J-Roller

An often overlooked step in drum building is the post drum wrap treatment. Most drum building gurus have huge laminate press’ to rid the drum of air bubbles and to help cement the bond of the wrap.

However, the same effect can be achieved with a hand-held J-Roller. Using a J-Roller around the drums with good pressure helps your drum building project tremendously. It helps avoid wrap warping, bubbling, sound deadening (tone is killed from air bubbles), and more.

#6: Let Them Do the Cuts

Let the suppliers that you order your wrap from cut your stripes. Letting them do the work cuts down the necessary tools in the drum building project and also guarantees that if someone messes up, it’s not you and it WILL be replaced.

But if you’re deep into some crazy drum building ideas and you want to cut wrap yourself…the straight edge cutting jig gets the job done.

#7: Wrap Your Tom and Snare Drum Hoops

A cool drum building trick is to wrap your wood hoops. You can do it with traditional wood hoops, wood hoops with t-rod holes, and regular triple flanged metal hoops (use a different glue like “Gorilla Glue”).