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Make A PVC Flute



You can make a functioning flute like this from a couple of plumbing materials found at your local hardware store. The design is based on the Native American style flute.

These instructions will show you how to make your own personal instrument that suits the size of your hands.

Like the traditional Native American flute, yours also does not need to be tuned to any standard musical scale or to any other musical instrument.



What you need

- A saw for cutting the pvc pipe and wood

- A pencil for marking where to drill and cut

- Files for shaping the pvc pipe

- A drill and bits for making the sound holes

- A piece of 3/4" wood dowel

- A 1/2" to 3/4" pvc adapter

- A length of 3/4" pvc pipe

- Sand paper for touch-ups

Also include a variety of odds and ends to decorate your flute to suit your own taste. This may include coloured tape, acrylic paints, bits of yarn or string, beads, feathers, magic markers, or adhesive decals.



wind direction


Before you begin

Take a look at this diagram. It shows what the piece of wood dowel, the pvc adapter, and the pvc pipe will be used for.

It also shows the passage of wind from your breath, starting when you blow into the pvc adapter mouthpiece.



Making your own flute

Start by cutting a piece of 3/4" pvc plumbing pipe the length of your forearm, from your elbow to the tip of your longest finger.

A saw works fine to cut the PVC pipe.
big file

Flatten about 4 centimetres of the pvc plumbing pipe on one end.

This can be done with a flat file and sandpaper.

little file

Drill a 1/4" hole right at the end of the pipe.

Then drill two 1/8 inch holes side-by-side for a rectangular hole which you will make using the small file. This rectangular hole should be about 3/16" X 5/16".

These two holes must be made through the flattened area.

pencil mark

Measure and mark where the five finger holes will go in your flute.

The diagram below shows where each of the finger holes should be drilled. The placement of finger holes on your flute will be personal and the resulting musical scale will be your personal musical expression.

The diagram below illustrates one method of deciding where to drill the finger holes.



Use the 1/4" drill bit to make the finger holes.


Cut a short piece of 3/4" wood dowel to use as a plug for between the first two flute holes. Then push the plug into the pipe.

You might need to sand the wooden plug just a little bit if it is too tight to shove into the pipe.


pvc adapter

Push the PVC adapter in place over the blow end of your flute.
Personalize your flute

Decorate your flute in a way that is meaningful, as you think about a certain person, place or thing in your life that is special to you.

A variety of craft materials are suitable for flute decoration.




Copyright 2005 Native Access to Engineering Programme