How to Make a Celluloid Pearloid Guitar Pick

Written by eric linkenhoker
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How to Make a Celluloid Pearloid Guitar Pick
You can save money by making your own picks (Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Celluloid became the pick material of choice for many guitarists after manufacturing bans halted mass production of tortoise shell picks. As time passed, nylon picks took a larger share than celluloid picks due to the high durability and much lower flammability of nylon. The drop in demand drove all but two pick manufacturers away from celluloid. Celluloid sheets are available in many patterns, including pearloid. New tools that stamp out guitar picks allow anyone with the right materials to make picks on their own.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Pick cutter
  • Pearloid celluloid sheet
  • Razor knife

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  1. 1

    Purchase a pick cutter and pearloid-celluloid sheet. Pick cutters work much like hole punches. Many stores and websites sell pick cutters. Celluloid sheets are harder to find. Craft shops and guitar supply companies sometimes carry celluloid, but buying directly from a celluloid manufacturer may be the best solution.

  2. 2

    Place the edge of the celluloid sheet in the pick cutter. Press the lever on the cutter until it punches through the celluloid sheet.

  3. 3

    Lift the pick cutter to remove the pick which falls out beneath the tool.

  4. 4

    Shift the celluloid sheet to either side, exposing more material to the cutter. Press the handle to cut a new pick. Shift the material and cut new picks around the entire edge of the celluloid sheet.

  5. 5

    Cut away the spent edges of the celluloid sheet with a razor knife and dispose of the scrap material. The celluloid sheet now has a fresh edge. Continue cutting picks and removing scrap material until the sheet is spent.

Tips and warnings

  • Use old ID and credit cards to make picks when no other material is available.
  • Celluloid is flammable. Keep it away from flames and high heat.

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