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How to Make a Willow Flute

Updated March 23, 2017

A willow whistle is an easy-to-make musical instrument that children and adults have enjoyed for hundreds of years. Willow whistles produce a surprising number of musical sounds. Willow whistles are fun to make and play. You can make a willow whistle yourself in just a few easy steps and within almost no time.

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  1. Find a willow tree branch. The bark needs to be green so that the meat of the branch is moist. The sound produced with a willow whistle relies on the moisture.

  2. Cut the willow branch to about 8 inches. Make sure to angle the cut.

  3. Cut a small wedge from the branch about an 1 1/2 inches from the end of the branch.

  4. Cut a ring around the branch with the tip of your knife. The ring should be approximately 2 inches behind the wedge cut. The object is to remove the bark from the branch, so you don't want to cut into the meat.

  5. Remove the bark. Accomplish this by tapping the branch with the end of your knife as you turn it. Remove the bark by holding the stick tight at one end and twisting the bark. It should crack away from the branch and slide right off.

  6. Enlarge the initial wedge by carving until you have cut halfway through the branch. Add a flat plane just in front of the wedge by shaving the top of the branch smooth. This will form the shape of your mouthpiece.

  7. Replace the bark you removed earlier. Your willow whistle is ready to play.

  8. Tip

    Use a damp cloth to revive your willow whistle when it dries out. Varying the size of your willow branch will result in different tones.

    Warning

    Children should not use a knife without adult supervision.

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Things You'll Need

  • Willow branch
  • Carving knife
  • Water

About the Author

Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.

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