Introduction: A Homemade Whistle in Less Than a Minute

Picture of A Homemade Whistle in Less Than a Minute

In this Instructable I will show you how to make a quick whistle from a tin can.

When I was a kid we used to make these whistles out of jam tin lids. 

Apart from being a fun toy for kids, I think these whistles would be great working with dogs, directing cranes, or even to attract attention in an emergency. They are pretty loud and you don't have stick your fingers in your mouth - this can be a pain if you happen to be wearing gloves or your hands are dirty.
I have heard that similar whistles are popular with shepherds in New Zealand who use them for directing their dogs.

Step 1: What You Will Need

Picture of What You Will Need

1 lid from a tin can
duct tape

A drill with a bit about 3mm
hammer and centre punch
A small piece of ply or something to bend the tin around. About 4mm thick.
A knife for cutting the duct tape.

Step 2: Make the Tin Safe

Picture of Make the Tin Safe

Cut some duct tape into a strip about 10mm wide. Use this strip to cover the sharp edge of you tin lid.

Step 3: Make Your Whistle

Picture of Make Your Whistle

Simply bend the tin lid in half around something (a piece plywood is perfect) that will maintain a gap of about 4mm between the two halves. Keep the ply in place and drill a 3-4mm hole right through the whistle. The hole should be about 5mm from the folded edge, about half way along.

Clean up any sharp bits from around the hole, and that's it.

Just look at the video to see how easy it is.

Step 4: How to Make It Whistle

Picture of How to Make It Whistle

This part is harder to explain than making the whistle...

Place the folded part of the whistler against the bottom of your tongue.
Push your tongue back with the whistle so the tip of your tongue points at the roof of your mouth.
Let you lips gently seal against the top and bottom part of the whistle.
Blow soft and hard and experiment with different mouth shapes until your make it whistle.
It might take a bit of practice to get started, but before long you will notice dogs and cranes desperately trying to follow your instructions.


TheGuyWhoAteABagpipe made it! (author)2017-06-27

i made mine out of a mason jar lid, and nailed the hole in.

Pattie076 (author)2011-06-14

I use to make these out of flattened pop bottle caps.

cammers (author)Pattie0762011-06-15

Good idea.

DennisKB (author)cammers2016-11-11

I had to laugh at Pattie076's comment
as I too use to make these out of bottle caps. Many years have
passed since then, and I forgot how to do it. I've been looking
through the internet for examples of them, and I was delighted to
find your instructions. I have dogs I need to train, and I wanted
something to get their attention – this definitely does the job!

interceptor (author)2015-08-23

I liked this whistle except for putting the metal lid in my mouth.
I finally tried an old credit card or hotel key. It wasn't quite as durable but easier to make and no unpleasant metal taste.
I even made one in a hotel room with the hairdryer to bend the plastic.

cammers (author)interceptor2015-08-24

Great idea. Hope you didn't have trouble getting back into your room.

victor5 (author)2014-08-01


kdomingo2 (author)2014-05-13

If I don't have a drill, what do I use? Just the nail? Please reply..

cammers (author)kdomingo22014-05-13

You could try a nail. It depends on the thickness of the material. Good luck.

TheREAL_Xman (author)2012-02-21

Cool! Great instructions! It didn't take long, and was very satisfying in the end! Thanks!

Dreistein (author)2011-06-18

if i made the hole smaller would this work as a dog whistle?

cammers (author)Dreistein2011-06-18

I haven't tried it. Give it a go and let me know how it is.

dragonsniper (author)cammers2011-10-18

he means would it work as a silent dog whistle

Kiteman (author)Dreistein2011-09-08

It works as a dog whistle "as is" - this is what shepherds use to signal their dogs on the far side of a field.

cammers (author)Kiteman2011-09-08

Nice 'tache Mr. Kiteman.

Kiteman (author)cammers2011-09-08

Thank you - it's to go with my latest project.

xinistrom (author)2011-09-27

hey i made one but it doesnt sound? tell me your secret? ;)

cammers (author)xinistrom2011-09-27

It does take a bit of trial and error to figure out how to make it whistle, but once you get the technique it's easy.
I tried to explain how in the last part of the ible. But it's not easy to communicate in words.
Good luck.

sdavidson3 (author)2011-06-25

thanks this works great

mrdovie (author)2011-06-21

The whistle seems to get warmer or colder as you play it. Convection cooling and heating? Neat!

robives (author)2011-06-12

There's a free downloadable paper whistle on my site here which you might also enjoy.

cammers (author)robives2011-06-12

Thanks robives. That looks really neat.

rimar2000 (author)2011-06-12


I will make some of these for my granddaughters!

cammers (author)rimar20002011-06-12

Thanks Rimar. And thanks for the patch too.

About This Instructable



Bio: To see more of my work you are welcome to follow me on Instagram @cam_de_burgh
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