How to Make a Chinese-Style Bamboo Flute

by Brenda Priddy

A Chinese bamboo flute produces a high, haunting sound that is often used in traditional Chinese music. You can make your own bamboo flute at home with just a few everyday tools and household supplies. A flute with a length of 18 to 20 inches and holes spaced about one inch apart will produce a sound in the key of "G" or "F." After making your first flute you can then adjust the size of the flute, spacing of the holes and thickness of the flute's walls to change the key.

Items you will need

  • Hand saw
  • Bamboo stick, 20-inches long
  • Measuring tape
  • Permanent marker
  • ½-inch metal rod
  • Butane torch (optional)
  • Oven mitt
  • ¼-inch drill bit
  • Pliers
  • Sandpaper
  • Linseed oil
  • Soft cloth
Step 1

Cut the bamboo stick to the correct length of 20 inches. Cut one end along a bumpy section of the stick. This bumpy section contains fibers that block the hole inside the bamboo.

Step 2

Measure 1 inch down from the filled side of the bamboo stick. Make a small circular mark at this point, which will become the blow hole. Measure 6 inches down from the first hole and make a circular mark there. Make five additional marks, all 1 inch apart.

Step 3

Heat the metal rod over the stove or with a butane torch. Hold the other end of the metal with an oven mitt to prevent injuries.

Step 4

Burn a hole through the fibers in the middle of the bamboo by inserting the hot metal stick inside the open end of the stick. Do not burn through the fibers blocking the other end of the stick. You may have to reheat the metal rod several times to burn through all of the sections.

Step 5

Hold the drill bit with pliers. Heat the drill bit and burn through the marked holes. Roll up some sandpaper and use it to sand the inside of the holes. Make the blow hole slightly larger than the finger holes.

Step 6

Coat the flute in linseed oil to protect it from drying and cracking. Apply the oil with a soft cloth.