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How to paint your own drum!

I am sharing here all of my knowledge of many years on professional drum painting freely, 

so anyone, regardless of their financial background can create a beautiful drum!


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Full 30 Minute Step by Step Tutorial Video

These instructions were made to paint a Remo drum - both the Remo Buffalo Drum, as well as the Remo Fibreskyn Drum. They have the same vegan material they are made of. The Remo Bahia drum I would not recommend painting as the vinyl coated surfaces does not give the paint a good ground to stick.

However, you can lightly sand it - just enough for some more grip - and give it a try.



What kind of art supplies I use

This video is an update two years after having made the tutorial on how to paint your Remo Drum. It is not necessary to watch to know how to paint, but shows you some the Molotow markers in detail plus some new tools and paints I am using. It also is just fun to watch me rant about my art supplies :)

How I create a drum art template

Time to show you how I make my drum art templates and what helper tools I  use! A template helps you to draw your ideas before drawing it on a drum and you simply trace it onto the drum with graphite paper!

Materials you will need to paint your drum:

  • PAINT: Acrylic paint with a good lightfastness rate or Acrylic Markers (I use Molotow Acrylic Markers 2mm for most colors. That size works best for me. (I have additional pens equipped with a 1,5mm replacement nib for the colors of black, white, gold and silver. The 2mm nibs work a lot better, the 1mm nibs dry up quickly and 1,5mm nibs tend to get clogged up easily and sometimes a big splash of paint comes out all at once - gotta be careful with those and always to the first few strokes on some extra paper and wipe the excess paint off with a cloth or tissue) 


  • TEMPLATE & Co: For the template: Paper in the size of your drum - for a 16" drum you need A2 or glue smaller papers together with either washi tape or scotch tape or get a bigger paper
  • Pencil, eraser, sharpener
  • Optional: Compasses and ruler to measure your design if you go for something symmetrical
  • Carbon Tracing Paper in black for a white drum and in white or yellow for tracing on a darker color
  • Masking tape or washi tape to mask areas you do not want to spray (for the Remo Frame Drum rim for example) and to fixate your template onto the drum
  • Brushes in different sizes if you use acrylic paint (for Molotow markers, not needed)
  • Paper towels or tissues to mask head of mallets for spraying

The painting process in pictures

  1. The first pic shows the Molotow One4All marker colors that I have. You can also mix your own colors but I haven't tried that yet.
  2. Plan your design and create a template on paper.
  3. Fixate template on your drumhead and trace with tracing paper. You can also directly draw on it with pencil or paint it if you feel brave.
  4. Remove template and start coloring with Acrylic markers or paint.
  5. Let it dry. If you have lots of different colors, let one color dry before you apply the next so they do not run into each other. A hair dryer can help speed this process up.
  6. If you paint a Remo Framedrum mask the wooden rim with masking tape as you do not want spray on that part. If you paint a Remo drum, no masking needed. For painting the mallets, cover the heads, as you do not want spray on them.
  7. Go outdoors and spray a thin coat of varnish on your drum. Follow spraying instructions in the bottle.
  8. Let it dry. Then remove masking tape.
  9. Celebrate your awesomeness and enjoy your new drum!

Drum Painting FAQ

Can the Remo Buffalo Drum be painted?

Yes, it can and I have painted many drums and they have been in use for around two years by people from all over the planet and so far the paint is holding well. Just make sure you spray it at the end with protective acrylic varnish.

Most people use acrylic paint, I have also heard of people using oil paint but I have no experience with that.

How to get rid of the REMO logo on my drum?

I haven't found a safe way to remove the logo. However, I do paint over it with the acrylic marker by MOLOTOW in nature white. Usually, I do this in two rounds - I fully cover the logo, let it dry and paint over a second time.

There is also a signal white one marker - the nature white works better. You can also use regular acrylic paint, however, you would need to mix a slightly creme / eggshell color to match the drum as it is not plain white.


If you plan to paint your drum with acrylic paint, you might not need to cover the logo. That depends on if the color you are using is going to be transparent, semi-transparent or opaque. For example, if you paint over the drum with a dark blue, purple, brown or red, the logo will likely be covered by those colors. If you cover it with yellow, orange or pink, the logo might shine through and it might be a good idea to simply cover it with paint paint first.

Can the REMO Bahia Drum be painted?

It is not ideal to paint the Bahia. The Remo Bahia Black Earth Drum is the same size as the Buffalo drum but has an additional vinyl coating that produces a strong bass. Also, that means less overtones. I have tried to paint that model but gotten mixed results, so I no longer paint it. If you do want to try, you need to lightly sand it first. Due to the soft surface, tracing from a template will not work well. So you will need to hand draw your motif on the drum or find another way.

Apply paint not too thickly. At the end, spray with varnish. The problem I had was that the varnish would remain tacky. You might be able to find different paint and varnish brands. I use Molotow. But due to the difficulties with this drum type and the fact that I cannot trace my templates, I have let it be.


What paint can I use?

Molotow Acrylic Markers (All4One) in 2mm. There are also bigger sizes, however, I find the 2mm most suitable. The 1mm only comes in black and white (plus tips you can replace the 2mm with), and those are hard to use as the paint sometimes cloggs them up or suddenly a big chunk comes out and spoils your artwork - so do the first splash on a paper before going on the drum. With the 2mm size, that doesn't happen, but it is still good to have a smear paper ready to get them started and when they clogg up, you can free them on the paper.


Alternatively you can look up POSCA markers. They are also pretty good, though I haven't tested them personally.


Lastly, regular acrylic paint out of the tube or bottle will work as well. I recommend getting a good quality brand like Lucas, Schmincke, etc rather than super cheap paint that might not hold well over the years and lose its color.

Always use varnish at the end - and ask your local shop what varnish suits the paint you get plus try it out on a piece of paper before you do everything on the drum. Some varnishes will smear your paint, I have heard. Not with Molotow, but other brands.


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