How to Make a Flute Out of Paw Paw Stems

Written by jamie rankin
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How to Make a Flute Out of Paw Paw Stems
The petioles of papaya plants make wonderful handcrafted flutes. (OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA image by ahmadismail from

Kids love to create and use their imaginations, and making their own playthings is one way to do that. Children's toys can be made from any number of things around the house and in nature, including the papaya plant. Known as paw in some of its native tropical locations, the plant's leaves are connected to its main stalk by long, hollow petioles that, when green, are firm and perfect for crafting homemade flutes and pipes.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Papaya stem
  • Small knife

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  1. 1

    Select a green paw stem about 12 to 14 inches in length. Ripe stems will be too soft.

  2. 2

    Cut the stem from the paw plant between the leaf and the trunk. Remove the leaves, and make sure the stem is free of sap.

  3. 3

    Carve notches in the stem with the knife, spacing them at equal distances.

  4. 4

    Play your flute by covering some of the notches with your fingers and blowing into the end. Experiment with sounds by covering different notches.

Tips and warnings

  • The tropical paw (papaya) plant is not to be confused with the deciduous pawpaw tree native to the eastern United States. They are two different plants, though whistles can be made from the branches of the pawpaw trees found in the U.S.
  • Try to cut your paw flute from the thicker end of the stem to make it sturdier.
  • Never allow a small child to use a knife without adult supervision.
  • Contact with papaya plants can cause an allergic reaction, such as skin irritation, in some people.

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