The flute is one of the oldest types of musical instruments in the world. Flutes can be made of a variety of different materials, including wood, metal, bamboo, PVC pipe, and even cardboard. To hear a sound sample of the cardboard flute above, click here. Flutes are very simple to make, and relatively simple to play.
How to Make It
You will need a cardboard wrapping paper tube, scissors, a ruler, a small, flat piece of cardboard, and a pen to make the flute. Cut the wrapping paper tube into an approximately 32 cm long tube. This will serve as the body of your flute.
Next, you need to punch the mouth hole and finger holes into your flute. Use the scissors to make the mouth hole. It should be about 1.5 cm long and 1 cm deep. You can use the pen to punch the fingerholes (five or six will work best). You can use the diagram to decide the spacing of the holes, but to make the flute play an in-tune scale, you will have to tweak these measurements a little bit.
The final element to make the flute play is a stopper. In a modern Boehm flute, the stopper is usually made of cork and metal, but in this flute, cardboard will work just fine. Place the flute on end, on top of your small piece of cardboard and trace a circle around it. Cut out the circle and push about half a centimeter into the end of the flute with the mouth hole. See the diagrams below for information on how to make and put in the stopper. The stopper should fit snugly inside the tube, with as little space around the edges as possible. It should not be at a slant, but be very straight and secure.
How to Play
Any flute, metal, wood, or cardboard, can be difficult to play at first. The flute is held to the right. The left hand goes on the first three fingerholes (your right hand knuckles should be facing away from you) and the left hand should go on the remaining two or three holes (your left hand knuckles should be facing towards you). To play the flute, purse your lips and place your lower lip so it covers about a quarter of the blow hole. It might help to look in the mirror to make sure you are positioned correctly. Blow a thin, fast stream of air across the hole. After practicing for a couple minutes, you should be able to produce a tone. Once you can can do this consistantly, try moving your fingers over the holes. Enjoy!