Cheerleading Spirit Drums

I was approached by my dear friend, Rhonda, who is a cheer mom. She was picking my brain for “spirit” ideas. It’s no secret I was a cheerleader way, way, WAY back in the day and I was doing a happy dance when she asked for my help, lol. I love my boys and wouldn’t trade them for anything in this world but it sure would have been nice to have had a 3rd child who was a girl. I miss the girl time and all the girly wonders of the world so when she asked for my help I eagerly jumped on it (and probably scared my dear friend, lol).  Cheerleading sure has changed over the years, it is highly competitive and truly a sport now. The girls are competing this Saturday at the Ohio State Fair and Rhonda was looking for ideas that would help the girls win the Spirit Award. Audience participation contributes to this. She wanted something on a stick and so I let my brain simmer on that…something on a stick…

Then it hit me, Cheerleading Spirit Drums! Do you remember as a kid playing with the little drum on a stick and it had beads hanging from the sides that when you rolled the stick in your hand, the beads would bang the drum? I just knew we could take that idea and run with it…and run with it we did! After collaborating with Rhonda, we decided to use jingle bells instead of beads. We also decided to put a picture of the cheerleader on one side and the GMHS mascot, Cruiser (a horse), on the other side. But we didn’t just stop there, we also wanted ribbon in various colors and textures all around the drum. So after a couple of nights collaborating, cutting and practicing, we came up with the cutest darn Cheerleading Spirit Drum! You can shake the drum and the bells chime while in the air and bangs on the drum when it hits. The ribbon swirls around in a flurry of color. It turned out to be the cutest thing ever! We wanted to make it super sturdy so that it could last all school year-long for all the various competitions and cheerleading events our cheerleaders are involved in. So here’s the tutorial on how we created these amazing Cheerleading Spirit Drums!


  • 2 pizza rounds or round cake cardboards 11″ in diameter (for each cheerleader)

  • Glue gun

  • Duct tape

  • Designer duct tape (we used a zebra pattern)

  • Red electrical tape (choose a color that matches the color of your cardboard discs)

  • Glue gun & glue sticks

  • Embellishments (we used a large ribbon imprinted with cheerleading words)

  • Mod Podge

  • One inch foam brushes

  • Red spray paint (or any paint to match your school colors)

  • 5/16″ dowel rods (one for each drum being made)

  • 2 large jingle bells (for each drum)

  • 2 small jingle bells (for each drum)

  • Black construction paper (or whatever your school colors are)

  • 5 x 7 picture of your cheerleader (printed in color on normal copy paper)

  • Your school’s mascot (printed in color on normal color paper)

  • White school glue or a glue stick


Spray paint the cardboard rounds with 2 layers of paint (allow paint to dry completely after each spraying).

Print your 5×7 inch cheerleading picture on normal paper. Cut your picture out. Using your picture as a guide, cut a contrasting color slightly larger than your picture (for us it was black construction paper). Glue down the matted picture of your cheerleader on one cardboard round. Embellish the picture with a piece of cheer ribbon (or a die cut of a megaphone or any other embellishment you would want to use).  Apply an even and light layer of Mod Podge over the entire surface of the cardboard round. Set aside.

Create a round design that incorporates your high school’s letters and a picture of a mascot (I used MS Publisher to create ours).  The design should be 7.5″ in diameter. Using an 8″ round plate as a guide, pencil the circle around your design. Cut your design out in the circle you created. Set aside. Take the black construction paper (or any color of your choice) and cut it into 3 inch strips that are at least 11″ in length. Using the other cardboard round (with nothing on it, but already spray-painted), glue this strip across. Cut the edge of the strip down to match the edge of the cardboard circle. Glue your round mascot image on top of the strip being sure to center it onto the cardboard round. Apply an even and light layer of Mod Podge to this cardboard round. Once fully dry, turn this round over. Set aside.

Cover your dowel rod with the designer duct tape. Set aside. Cut your ribbons in 5-6 inch lengths.

Cut 4 pieces of ribbon into 6.5 inch lengths. Take the large jingle bell and tie it to one end of the 6.5 inch ribbon. Take the 2nd large jingle bell and tie it to another 6.5 inch ribbon. Take a small jingle bell and tie it on the end of another 6.5 inch ribbon. Take the 2nd small jingle bells and tie it to the last piece of 6.5 inch ribbon. Secure your knots with a dab of glue from your glue gun. Set aside the 4 jingle bell ribbons.

Take the cardboard round (the one with the mascot) that is upside down and tape down the dowel rod with duct tape to the bottom of the cardboard round. Make sure you are taping approximately 4 inches of the dowel rod to the cardboard round. Secure it tightly.

Duct tape the 2 large jingle balls to the cardboard round at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock position. Tape one small jingle bell at the 12 o’clock position. Tape the other small jingle bell as close to the 6 o’clock position (just left or right of the dowel rod). Using the other various 5-6 inch ribbons, evenly tape them all around the edges of the cardboard round.

Working quickly and using a glue gun, apply glue approximate half an inch from the edge. Apply glue in a zig zag fashion across the center area of the cardboard. Take the cardboard round that has the cheerleader’s picture and push it down on top of the glue covered cardboard round (ensuring the picture side is face up). Be sure your rounds are even and the images are centered! Push down for about 30 seconds. Secure the cardboard pieces together with 2 inch pieces of red electrical tape (or other color coordinating tape) every 2-3 inches all the way around.

This is definitely a project that works up quick when you elicit the help of others! A few cheer moms assisted in creating these cheer drums in an assembly line fashion and it only took a couple of hours to make 24 of these Cheerleading Spirit Drums!

Give your Cheerleading Spirit Drum a spin and enjoy the rhythmic thumping of the jingle bells as you cheer on your special cheerleader! This was a super fun project that turned out better than we envisioned it would! Good luck Cruiser cheerleaders!


The girls took 2nd place in their division and they WON THE SPIRIT AWARD! Not only did they have the Cheerleading Spirit Drums, the coach made these fantastic 3 foot spirit sticks! When the girls where announced and coming onto the floor, the crowd erupted in cheer shaking their Cheerleading Spirit Drums and the coach’s Spirit Sticks! That sealed the deal and the GMHS Cheerleaders took the Spirit Award over ALL other squads participating! Woohoo!


11 thoughts on “Cheerleading Spirit Drums

    • They made a LOT of noise! They were large enough that there is no doubt where the GMHS fans are at any competitions, lol! And they have definitely held up…one of the cheer moms had to make more for the new cheerleaders this 2013-2014 season. They still use the ones from the prior season for the returning cheerleaders. They really are as awesome as they look. 🙂

      • OMG I am so excited to hear that!!! We go to nationals next month (as well as have a competition this weekend) and I want to make these! Very excited!

      • Wow that’s awesome! Good luck this weekend and good luck at nationals! I do have a suggestion…we used black construction paper to make the 3″ strip on one side (under the mascot round photo). I do believe if I was to redo it, I would have instead used 1″ or 1/2″ electrical tape to wrap around both the front and back of the pizza/cake cardboards. I would do it evenly around to create a bike spoke effect…does that make sense? Then you wouldn’t need the small pieces of electrical tape around the edges. The awesome thing about electrical tape is that it is super sturdy by also comes in a bunch of different colors…not to mention super cheap (sometimes you can find it at the dollar store). That would be my suggestion on how to improve the design…that and oh, more glitter, lol. More sparkly, glittery ribbon or paint because well, who doesn’t like to sparkle? LOL Have fun with this!

  1. OK, That’s good advice. I was going to try to get the tape around the perimeter, ya know AROUND THE OUTSIDE? But this is better. Also I didn’t notice that you said electrical tape…I was like CHA CHING! This is gonna cost me! So thanks. I’ll take a picture and get it to you somehow when I’m done. I’m probably not gonna paint mine since our colors are black gold and white…although gold paint would be AWESOME. And I am going to add jewels around the edges.

    • If you aren’t painting the pizza/cake cardboard circles, then I probably wouldn’t mod podge the tape. Gold as a base color would be so awesome! One can of spray paint could quickly paint several circles. I would hit second hand stores like Odd Lots or Menards. Or go to Michael’s online and print their 40% coupon they always seem to have for non-sale items. if you can’t post a pic of your finished product in a comment, send it in an email to and I’ll upload it to this post. Just comment here if you do because I forget to check my email regularly and wordpress is good for sending me notices when there is a comment on a post, lol. Are you doing the bike spoke effect with the electrical tape?

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