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By Prudy Vannier



For centuries, Irishmen have played their drums called bodhrans. They are played with a single drum stick called a tipper. A bodhran is covered with animal skin which we simulate with a faux (“fake”) finish technique. It is held in place with a wood belt which we will also paint. We’ll add traditional Celtic patterns on the sides. Celtic patterns are well known for their intricate weaving and repeating of patterns.

Painting lessons: Faux leather technique, wood graining technique, dip dots, repeating patterns


Main supplies:

  • 8” lidded, round paper mache` box
  • Plastic bag
  • 2- 1” wood knobs (Walnut Hollow)
  • 6” dowel to fit in knobs
  • DecoArt® Americana® Acrylic Paint: Buttermilk DA003, Fawn DA, Ebony Black DA67, Marigold DA194, Burnt Umber DA064, Hauser Light Green DA131, Honey Brown DA163
  • DecoArt® Brush’n Blend™ Extender
  • Soapstone or chalk pencil
  • Glue
  • DecoArt® DuraClear Satin Varnish
  • Royal® Brushes: fan brush, #6 flat, 1” flat, #3 round
  • Paint supplies: water basin, paper towel, Royal® palette paper


1. Use the 1” flat to basecoat the top of the lid with Buttermilk, the side of the lid with Honey Brown, and the side of the box with Ebony Black.
2. On your palette mix Fawn with extender. Use the 1” flat brush to paint it over the dry Buttermilk lid. Quickly crinkle the plastic and lay it on the wet paint. Lift to get a wrinkly leather effect.
3. Thin Burnt Umber on your palette with water. Load the fan brush and drag the tips over the Honey Brown edges to make a wood grain. When dry, Use the big brush’s handle to dip into Marigold and paint the gold tacks abut 1 1/2” apart on the wood grain.
4. Put the lid on the box and draw a chalk line on the box. Repeat on the bottom of the box – put the lid on the bottom and draw a line around the box. This will be your guide for positioning the painted Celtic design.
5. Use the soapstone to mark 8 equal slashes around the box within the space you marked. Use these as guides to paint a curved stripe with Marigold with the #6 flat.
6. Repeat with Honey Brown, painting the stripe so that it weaves under and over the Marigold one.
7. Use the round brush to paint repeating designs in the stripes. I put curved lines in the Marigold one and dots in the Honey Brown one.
8. Use the end of the big brush to make Hauser Light Green dots for shamrock leaves. Use the tip of the round brush to paint the stem.
9. To finish, varnish all pieces and glue the lid to the bottom of the box so that the back is open. This is how bodhrans are constructed. Glue the wood balls to the ends of the dowel to make the tipper (drum stick). The drum is played by holding it up in the left hand, while the right hand holds the tipper in the middle like a pencil. Twirl it slightly so that both ends hit the drum head.



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