Introduction: How to Make Bagpipes Out of a Garbage Bag and Recorders

This instructable is how to make a simple bagpipe like instrument out of basic household materials. Granted, it does not sound all too much like a bagpipe, but it works similarly and is fun to mess around with.

Step 1: Basic Construction of Bagpipes

At the most basic level, bagpipes have 4 parts:

A bag to hold the air
A blowpipe to blow air into the bag
A chanter to play a melody
And a drone which plays a constant note

Step 2: Materials

1 Garbage Bag or large plastic bag
2 Recorders (or 2 PVC Recorders:
2 Pens (You can also use a decent sized straw or a piece of hose)

Step 3: Make the Blowpipe

To make the blowpipe out of pens, just take the pens apart and tape them together.

Step 4: Trim the Bag

We wont be needing an entire garbage bag, so trim it down some, maybe 3/4 the size of a regular garbage bag.

Step 5: Attach Blowpipe to Bag

Tape the blowpipe to one side of the open bag. I like to put the blowpipe in a good inch or two into the bag to make sure no air escapes.

Go ahead and tape up 1/4 of the open part of the bag too.

Step 6: Attach the Drone

Take one recorder, which will act as the drone, and tape it near 1/4 of the bag length down from the blowpipe. Make sure you do not cover up the whistle part of the recorder and that the mouthpiece is in the bag.

Go ahead and close up the rest of the open part of the bag, making it airtight.

Step 7: Attach the Chanter

Cut a hole in the corner of the bag that is on the same side as the blowpipe.

Attach the other recorder to the hole and this will act as the chanter.

Step 8: Modify the Drone

Tape up some holes on the drone to make it sound like how you want it to. This is the part that plays a constant note, so try to make it a note that doesn't make you want to find earplugs. Covering up all the holes works the best I think.

Step 9: Have Fun

Go ahead and play with your new bagpipes. Look for videos on the internet to learn how to play, the main difference is you play the chanter like a recorder. Check for any leaks and fix them with tape.

The bagpipe in the video looks a bit different because I made it larger than the one I did in the instructable, I find it works better if it's a little on the big side. Also you will notice I have no idea how to play a recorder, but someone with some musical talent should be able to get some nice melodies out of this.


PaoY made it!(author)2017-05-01

Wow this is amazing!! Id love to try making this one!! Thanks!!

Maker+Saga made it!(author)2017-04-29

This is so resourceful! Nice work.

Phil+Schinbein made it!(author)2017-04-20

Hahaha yes!

kriddell2 made it!(author)2016-03-06

fun project, thanks

ThistlePiper made it!(author)2015-07-04

I made it! and I improved! instead of recorders I used bagpipe practice chanters and added two more chanters for the drones. I also extended the bass drone with black PVC pipe. the bag was a lawn trash bags. to maintain shape I bought a bagpipe cover. and real drone cords

Oldreds made it!(author)2010-12-11

I am currently in the process of making mine, but how do I make the reed?

tomd1 made it!(author)2014-08-15

recorders dont use reeds, they are essentially "long" whistles

it works, but it will make you deaf. its gawdawful.

mikethemaster123 made it!(author)2011-04-05

i kno i r not author, but, the answer is recorders do not use reeds!

tomd1 made it!(author)2014-08-15

it turned out to be unplayable garbage.

maybe if you use $100 alto recorders, you may have something that wont permanently make you deaf, but it will still make your ears bleed.

roystonlodge made it!(author)2010-11-04

That sounds almost as mind-destroyingly awful as a real set of bagpipes.

supertoria12 made it!(author)2012-08-12


Reiff made it!(author)2013-07-12

Hey, Hey, hold it! Bagpipes are far from annoying, bagpipes have an amazing sound. I love bagpipes.

Reiff made it!(author)2012-05-09

How much do "good" (not homemade) bagpipes cost? I found some in the hundred dollar range but I'm not sure if they are "good".

OriginalPugsly made it!(author)2012-07-23

At least $1000, the hundred dollar ones are crap.
Also don't buy the plastic ones.

georizzo made it!(author)2011-07-15


mmcgartland made it!(author)2011-06-23

and if the garbage bag does not match your kilt, it is really easy to make a plaid cover.

ecarr1969 made it!(author)2011-05-14

We used this for my son's cultural night at school. Thanks!

cesar_87 made it!(author)2010-11-23

I have tried to make these bagpipes 4 times and I couldn't, I still CAN'T! and I need to make one urgently, I don't know if the bag is too big, or the recorders are not the most appropiate =/ ='(

SuperCoPilot made it!(author)2010-09-25

so my elementary school recorder lessons will come in handy!

kiafayce made it!(author)2010-07-14

That sound singlehandedly caused one of the most terrible migraines I have ever had.

I'll pass on this instructable, but kudos for the idea, bro. It's creativee :]

granolape made it!(author)2010-06-12

Who says you can't play? My dog really enjoyed the sound from the video.

sci5 made it!(author)2010-05-26

Squirt- When I bulit the bag pipes, the volume of the bag was too big. I cut the width of the bag shorter by a inch, and duck tape it

sci5 made it!(author)2010-05-26

Squrit- when i bulit the bag pipes, the volume of the bag was too big. I cut the width of the bag by a few inches, and duck tape it.

Aklash%2C+The+hunchback made it!(author)2010-02-26

 Wow, that actually sounds a bit like bagpipes. It also sounds like you're strangling a cat but still, impressive.

mrcheaterson made it!(author)2010-05-26

"strangling a cat"
So, like a bagpipe.

harley_rly made it!(author)2010-03-19

genius! i have to try this now

a_traceur made it!(author)2009-10-06

The constant note is an A although the long one is an octave higher.

laykanay made it!(author)2010-02-16

by the way, the long drone is a Low A and the two shorter drones are Middle A's, just like the chanter's A.

Applejacks made it!(author)2010-02-16

HA i did this same exact thing like a year ago. great minds think alike...

Ukealyptus made it!(author)2010-01-06

 I once made a set with three drone reeds, and a custom chanter, except the sound was produced by straw reeds. it worked like a charm and was tuneable, and also a great way to blow off work.

a_traceur made it!(author)2009-10-06

My sub a WHILE ago played the bagpipes. So I figured I might as well try to learn, although I am NOT musically talented. I can't even find a beat in a song.

karossii made it!(author)2009-05-31

some oboes would be a more bagpipey sound, I would think. Great idea though for a fun afternoon project to drive your family batty!

PKM made it!(author)2009-06-01

Don't oboes require an actual mouth to play? I figured as reeded instruments they might not work so well with just air flow. You can get bass recorders- might be worth digging one of those out for the drone part. I second the request for video, the scots can put their fingers in their ears while you play "Scotland the Brave" on a garbage bag :P

a_traceur made it!(author)2009-10-06

The drones in a bagpipe are a lot like oboes, they are a double reed.

abehambino made it!(author)2009-06-01

i agree with the bass part. i am also going to be looking into those metal recorders for this. they are also commonly known as penny flutes if anyone else is interested.

bobwantzanapple made it!(author)2009-06-01

oboes require lips to play them, recorders just need airflow

karossii made it!(author)2009-06-01

I didn't say it was feasible, only that it would be a more bagpipey sound, lol. Any reed instrument would need a special artificial embouchure of some sort to function, but the bagpipe certainly uses something akin to a reed instrument based on its sound.

starfighterzoot made it!(author)2009-09-30

This is the cleverest instructable instrument I have seen. I will MAKE IT.

Javin007 made it!(author)2009-07-22

Gotta admit, came in here thinking, "Ugh, he taped recorders to a bag." I see that not only did a lot more thought go into this, but it actually turned out to be a very interesting and enjoyable instructable! 5 stars and my vote!

wasabi32746 made it!(author)2009-07-22

Much appreciated

Javin007 made it!(author)2009-07-23

:D You should attach additional drones with the appropriate holes covered so they play a chord. Hope you have a hell of a set of lungs, though.

Azayles made it!(author)2009-06-30

That is pure genius! One of the FUNNIEST instructables I've seen in a LONG time, that was hilarious, whimsical and brilliant :-D Top marks!

wasabi32746 made it!(author)2009-06-30


worleyll made it!(author)2009-06-26

You could also use a large grocery bag and just tie the handle together to make a bag (that's what I did and it works great) +Plus you would be recycling!

linuxnewbie made it!(author)2009-06-03

Might be able to save cash by using the instructable for PVC recorders-

Also, it occurs to me that a better option for the bag might be the water bladders that are used by restaurants to bulk pack coffee. Another option for the bag could be the vinyl blow up beach balls that can be purchased from a dollar store. A little more money, but might last a little longer.

tmfark made it!(author)2009-06-08

Try for other pvc whistles and tuning them. With a stronger bag and some work you should be able to make a 'real' bagpipe. Have to find me a bagpipe page.

Good project for the kids, if they are going home somewhere else!

wasabi32746 made it!(author)2009-06-03

Anything pretty large and able to be made airtight would work fine with this project. And never thought of using those PVC recorders, thats a good idea.

capricorn made it!(author)2009-06-01

This is so funny I could go and sew a kilt just to go with. Nice one mate :)

Jake-off made it!(author)2009-06-01

Make actually put out a book filled with many projects. one of the projects was bagpipes made from PVC pipe and leather.

JonathanCM made it!(author)2009-06-01

Thank you! I just quickly made some with 2 irish flutes instead of recorders. Works well!

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