How to Make a Whistle out of Bark

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Use a smooth maple or willow branch to create this homemade instrument that is easy to play and fun to make. Your kids can help you pick out and peel the bark and you can do the whittling. Everyone in the family will be able to use this little lute.


Step 1

Peel a 1/4-inch section of bark in the middle of the branch.

Step 2

Remove bark from the narrow end of the branch by hitting it with the knife handle and twisting it off.

Step 3

Put the bark back on the branch, leaving the end sticking out long enough to carve the end in an upward motion, creating a shaped mouthpiece.

Step 4

Cut a wedge from the top of the separated and replaced bark, 1-inch from the mouthpiece.

Step 5

Remove bark once again, and whittle the wood from the end of the wedge to 1 ½ inches from the bottom handle (barked end). The groove you make should go about halfway through the branch.

Step 6

Slice a thick chunk out of the top of the mouthpiece.

Step 7

Without the bark, dip the core of the whistle into warm water to soften it up.

Step 8

Replace the bark, and blow on the mouthpiece to see if it works. If not, remove a little bit more wood from the mouthpiece, and try again.

Things You'll Need

3/4-inch thick blemish-free branch from a maple or willow, Whittling knife

About this Author

Tammy Quinn McKillip is a writer living in New York City. Since graduating from Columbia University in 1999, she has written extensively about pets, parenting, theatre, design, health and environmentalism. She is the publisher and editor of "Macaroni Kid," an events newsletter and site for parents on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

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