How to Make a PVC Native American Flute

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Make a Native American flute from PVC pipe.
Make a Native American flute from PVC pipe. (Image: Pipes and more pipes image by rider from Fotolia.com)

Native American flute music sounds light and airy, almost like bird calls. Various tribes used flute music during ceremonies and celebrations, creating their flutes from hollow reeds, bone and wood. You, too, can make a Native American flute from these materials, but not if you’re a novice. Those that want a Native American-style flute and lack the proper artisan skills can make one from PVC plumbing pipe. This requires some careful planning, but with patience you can easily make yourself a working PVC pipe flute.

Things You'll Need

  • 3/4-inch PVC pipe
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Hacksaw
  • File
  • Electric hand drill
  • Utility knife
  • 1/2-inch PVC adapter
  • 3/4-inch wooden dowel

Mark your PVC pipe about 18 inches from the end. Cut the pipe off at your mark with a hacksaw. Use slow, even strokes to avoid splintering and slipping.

Measure about 2 inches in from the uncut end of your pipe. Gently stroke a file across this 2-inch section to flatten it. When you look at the opening straight on, the top should look flat and square with the bottom still being rounded.

Drill a 1/4-inch hole at the end of your pipe on the flat space. There should be no more than 1/16 inch between the edge of your hole and the end of the pipe.

Drill two 1/8-inch holes about 1/2 inch away from your first hole. The holes should be side-by-side so they form a figure 8 when you hold the pipe vertically. Scrape away at your figure 8 with a utility knife to create a rectangular hole about 3/16 inch wide and 5/16 inch long.

Make the first mark for your finger holes 4 inches from your rectangular hole and the second about an inch beyond that. The third hole goes 4 inches after the second and the fifth and sixth holes sit at 1-inch intervals. Drill the holes out with a 1/4-inch drill bit.

Cut about 1/2 inch from the end of your wooden dowel. Gently push it into the mouth of your flute so it sits between the round hole near the end and the rectangular hole. Work the PVC adapter onto the same end of the flute. It should fit snugly with a small space between the adapter’s top edge and the flat space on your flute.

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