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How to Make a Flute Out of Cardboard

A finished model.
Arianne Nellessen

Woodwind instruments like the flute and the clarinet can cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000. For those not about to perform at Carnegie Hall, however, an expensive instrument might be out of the question. If you're a music fan and also proficient at crafts, you can make your own flute out of everyday household items. All you need is a good ear, a little bit of patience and some cardboard.

A finished model.
Arianne Nellessen

Things You'll Need:

  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Cardboard
  • Wrapping Paper Tube
  • Pen
Approximately 36 cm

Take a cardboard wrapping paper tube and cut it so that it's approximately 36 cm in length.

Measure 6 cm from the end of the tube and mark the spot with a pen or pencil. This is where the mouth hole with be located. Cut a 1.5 cm hole in the tube with a pair of scissors as shown in the diagram.

Punch a 1 cm hole with a pen approximately 8 cm from the location of the mouth hole. This is the first finger hole. The flute should have at least five finger holes, but six is ideal. Measure 1.5 cm from the first finger hole and punch the second finger hole. Space each of the five to six finger holes 1.5 cm apart. Leave 8 cm at the end of the flute.

Place the end of the tube onto a small square of cardboard. Trace a circle around the tube onto the cardboard.

Cut out the circle of cardboard and insert it into the front end of the tube (the end with the mouth hole). This will be the stopper. The stopper should not be placed any deeper than 1 cm into the tube. Make sure the stopper is fitted evenly and snugly inside the tube so that there aren't gaps between the stopper and the tube.

Once you've completed all of these steps, your cardboard flute will be complete. However, if the flute is out of tune, you will need to remake it and adjust the finger holes. The finger holes may need to be placed further or closer together depending on your individual flute.


Be sure to only use firm cardboard for your flute. If the wrapping paper roll is too flimsy, the flute will bend and not produce a clear sound.

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