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Make Your Own Instrument: Pan Pipes

Stacie enjoys writing about the things that interest her most: reading, writing, food, wine, knitting, and living a healthy lifestyle.

Make your own pan pipe!

Make your own pan pipe!

How to Make a Pan Flute With Bamboo

Pan pipes are one of the oldest instruments, even figuring into the mythological story of Pan. The pipe is often used in folk music, providing a harmonica-like flute sound. The traditional panpipe has about ten pipes, but you can make your own with as little as five.

This project is for people who like to learn by making things, and for anyone who loves music. Be sure to read the instructions all the way through before beginning the project. You will also want to gather all of the materials you need because you won’t want to stop halfway through a project due to a missing object.

I’ve made this project with children before, but you will want to practice safety while using the saw. If you are doing this with young kids, I suggest you do the sawing yourself. In fact, unless you are doing this with older children, you should prepare the materials ahead of time, and have the younger children simply put the pipes together.

Woman playing the pan pipes

Woman playing the pan pipes

Bamboo Pan Flute Materials

  • Bamboo: Get a good length from nature, or buy an inexpensive bamboo fishing pole at a local sporting goods store.
  • Small saw: Something like a hacksaw.
  • Dowel: Buy a dowel from a craft store, or use a stick from nature.
  • Penknife: Make sure it Is sharp.
  • Glue: Regular glue is fine, like Elmer’s.
  • Twine: I prefer a good hemp twine because it is very strong and easy to use.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step one

Step one

Step One

Saw off a length of bamboo about 6 to 8 inches long. It needs to have one end open, and the other end closed by a joint.

Step two

Step two

Step Two

Use your penknife to cut a sharp notch 1 inch from the open end of the bamboo. The notch needs to be cut through to the hollow part of the bamboo, and about 1/3 of the way through the entire piece of bamboo.

Step three

Step three

Step Three

Whittle (cut) out a 1½-inch long wooden plug to fit into the open end of the bamboo. It needs to fit snugly without splitting the bamboo. The plug must have a flat area carved on the top.

Step four

Step four

Step Four

Put some glue on the plug, and then push it into the bamboo unit until it gets just to the edge of the notch. Make sure the flat area is on top of the plug.

Step Five

Blow into the whistle to check the sound. Move the plug in and out until you get the best sound.

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Step Six

Make several whistles like this but in different lengths. You will want to adjust each one until they make clear whistle sounds.

Step Seven

Split another piece of bamboo into four strips, and tie the strips to the whistles, one at a time in a crisscross knot.

Pan Flute Resources


Picasso on October 14, 2013:


¡! on March 26, 2012:

my pan flute doesn't sound like your? really cool though...

???????? on December 01, 2011:

Just one question. Is bamboo hollow? I would like to create my own type of instrument with bamboo.

Lovepigs00 on December 11, 2010:

Thankyou, you really helped my project! I JUST LOOOOVE THE IDEA!!! :)

JoyFilledHeartAche on October 06, 2010:

The thing is, the guy in the video is no new comer to making pan pipes. =/

TheOneWhoKnows from Croatia on September 15, 2010:

It's really interesting, I had some former experience with Pan Pipes and I loved them.

??? on August 16, 2010:

i hav a school assment and this would be perfect thanks (:

Sneha Ravi from Maihar cement,sarlanagar,staff colony E-39 satna(M.P) on July 09, 2010:

This is really nice to learn music.It remove all stresses of urs life.iam also from music and i play guitar.u must join it's really nice.

allison on April 19, 2010:

i used copper pipes to make mine but it sounded out of tune...oh well

Video is cool though ; fun to watch

Supmy homies on April 13, 2010:

This is da bomb!! I LOVE IT U HELPED ME ACE MY MUSIC ASSIGNMENT!! THank You SOOoo muCh! :D :P :B

longcat on January 14, 2010:

must the panflute be made from bamboo? or would other sticks that have been hollowed out work as well?

Peter on November 22, 2009:

Hello, it's very nice. Should you tell me, how long bamboo is (cm or mm) and which Diameter (mm) have got every bamboo? I found this but there is (on this page) only a few of bamboos and not all as on the link.

RAWR on October 12, 2009:

can u make a pan flute without other equipment?

if so can u tell me what kind, its for a project of mines and im really interested in the pan flute

bec on September 01, 2009:

this is really good....i am researching for a school assignment and this has helped me out a lot... THANKS !

Kristen on August 20, 2009:

Wow your really good

CoolChick on May 13, 2009:

this is okay,but kind of complicated....getting the materials

Sam on April 30, 2009:

Really cool, they sound fantastic, I think I'll make some this weekend :)

Trudy and Nigel on April 22, 2009:

How did you make your pan pipes? My son and I made one out of bamboo, but it didn't sound like yours does?

Ashley Joy on February 19, 2009:

What a fun idea! I will be spending lots of time this summer with my new step kids and I am trying to find things that we can do together.

Atori on December 12, 2008:

i think that dis iz realy great i couldn't believe it thiz iz amazing

stupidgirl698 on December 04, 2008:

When was the pan flute made/discovered?

RICHEOUS on September 05, 2008:


alexander on March 14, 2008:

geez...this is really good. i could have never come up with this myself

Stacie Naczelnik (author) from Seattle on March 06, 2008:

It really is neat. One of my cousins still uses his, and we made them years ago.

Bonnie Ramsey from United States on March 06, 2008:

This is just way too cool, Stacie! I have GOT to try this so I can do this with the grandkids! Thanks!