Introduction: How to Make a Balisong

Picture of How to Make a Balisong

In this instructable, I will show you how to make a balisong, or butterfly knife.

I am not responsible for any injuries inflicted on you or anyone else by the use of this weapon. By continuing you agree to the following:
1. You will hold me harmless
2. You will follow any state or federal laws regarding this weapon
3. If injured, you will not follow suit

Make at your own risk.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

First, gather the materials.
All materials can be bought at your local hardware store.

You will need:

<12"x1"x1/8" piece of Aluminium (1x)

Bolts and nuts you want to use, plus four washers for the pivots, I use a total of six bolts for my balisong

A blade (either make one, or salvage one from another knife)

Then get your tools:

Drill Press

Cobalt drill bits (if you plan on using a salvaged blade)

Drill bits



Hack saw

Permanent marker



Some taps for the bolts (optional, though they make your job much easier)

Tool oil (needed for drilling hardened steel without ruining the temper, in other words, use if you are salvaging the blade)

Sand paper (also optional, just helps in the finishing process)


Step 2: Measure

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Next, you will need to measure out the handles. Place your blade on top of the aluminium so that the tip is on the edge and mark a spot approximately 1 inch (2.54cm) from the tip of the tang.

Then, using the square, draw a line from that mark to the other side of the aluminium.

After that, mark the metal at the halfway point and draw a line down the middle, again, utilizing the square for a perfectly perpendicular line.

Step 3: Cut

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Vise it. Now get out your hacksaw.

Cut along the line you made first.

Now re-vise it and cut along the other line.

You should now have two pieces that are .5" wide, ~4" tall, and 1/8" deep.

Repeat steps 2-3.

Step 4: Drill

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Now you need to mark a spot roughly .25" from one end of the piece and .25" from the side, so that you have a perfectly centered mark. This will be the pivot point.

Drill on that mark, making sure your hole fits your bolt loosely, but not so loose that it rattles.

Repeat for all four pieces.

Step 5: File

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File around the holes so that the edge becomes rounded. Do this for all four pieces.

Step 6: Make Spacers

Picture of Make Spacers

Now it's time to make the spacers. Get out the Aluminium and mark a line >.5" from the tip.

Cut out the spacer. Remember, aesthetics are not the goal, these won't be seen.

Make two of them.

Step 7: Drill

Picture of Drill

Drill two holes in the spacer. The holes should be .25" from the side and .25" from the end for best appearance.
Make sure your bit is exactly the same size as the screw you wish to use, you will not be putting a nut on these.

Drill two holes in each handle to match the spacers. Make sure your blade can still fit!

Repeat for the other spacer/handles.

Step 8: Prepare the Blade

Picture of Prepare the Blade

To get your blade ready, get out your cobalt bits and tool oil. Vise the blade carefully under the drill. Put your cobalt bit into the drill press.

Pick spots for the two pivots, and the two tang pins.

SLOWLY drill the spots, liberally apply oil.

If you are using a salvaged blade, drill out the place where the thumb grip is. The grip should just fall off.

Wipe the blade clean.

Step 9: Sand

Now, sand the handles and clean up any marks left on them. It is a good idea to give it a brushed texture as less marks will show.

Step 10: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

Gather all the parts.

Tap out the holes for the spacers, or don't, but it makes the next step much easier.

Put a screw in each hole for the spacers on one handle piece. Next put a bolt in the pivot of that same handle piece. Now put a washer on the bolt on the side that the blade will contact. Then put the blade onto the bolt. Now install the spacer. Do this by aligning the screws with the holes on the spacer, then screwing them in. Put another washer on top of the blade. Then put another handle piece on. Place it first on the pivot, then tighten the screws so that they go through both handle pieces, sandwiching the spacer in between. Put a nut over the bolt and tighten.

Now repeat for the other side.

Step 11: Add the Tang Pins

Picture of Add the Tang Pins

Next, find a screw/bolt/roll pin that fits the holes you drilled for the tang pins. Install them, then cut the heads off (if you are using a screw/bolt). Epoxy them in for longer lasting tang pins.

Step 12: File

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Now make two small indents on the side of each handle piece. The indent should be large enough for the tang pins to fit, but deep just enough for them to hold the knife in the proper position. These are crucial. Make sure that when open the knife is straight, and when closed the knife does not poke through the handles.

Step 13: Tie Up Loose Ends

Picture of Tie Up Loose Ends

File off the heads of the screws you used to secure the spacers. Cut the pivot bolts to length. File off any rough edges. Basically, make it look and feel nice and you're done. Enjoy!

Install the latch now. The easiest way of doing this is to epoxy two rare earth/Neodymium/NdFeB magnets to the inside of the handle pieces. The other way is much harder, which is to make a T latch, I won't elaborate on that, it's just not practical.


jamaljj (author)2012-12-03

WOW, what a great guide. You can also buy a cheap one of you like

carlsands (author)2012-05-22

I sapped a sentry after this

Comrade strakovska (author)2012-02-11

nice thanks a lot man good job make some Kriss bladed balisong

josefu0 (author)2009-03-18

rat im in california

Shadowfury (author)josefu02009-03-19

You can still make it if you want to. In fact, you can own a balisong in California, you just can't have it in a public place. You can also transport it from private property to private property if it is in a marked case.

balisonglover (author)Shadowfury2012-02-04

hes right

josefu0 (author)Shadowfury2009-03-20

thanks did you know it a filipino weapon

Shadowfury (author)josefu02009-03-21

Yes. Though the originals were a lot larger than modern ones.

board2death (author)Shadowfury2011-09-22

yo guys, i'm from the philippines and i must say, we don't really care about the laws here. so you can bring a knife around, just not to school -.-".

C.D33 (author)2011-01-16

where do you get the metal??? I live in australia!

agray8 (author)C.D332011-11-09

In australia these types of knives are prohibited to own i think. look it up on wikipedia under balisong.

curt-fullmer (author)2011-10-03

Haha, great minds think alike. I was messing arounf in my garage trying to think up a way to make a balisong and I used the exact same process lol.

pbman123 (author)2011-09-13

anyone know if thes are just illegal to carry in texas, i have heard that they are illegal to even own but most knives are permited, as long as not carried on your person. and i just want a straight answer i don't wto much info from the penal code, wich explains things do formally and i'm not sure what it means. thanks to anyone who answeres

i own airsoft (author)2011-06-30

i have the same blade where did you get yours

acoleman3 (author)2011-05-20

heres where to get the t latch.

pastrana199 (author)2011-01-27

you mite be able to get some from a store if there are any if not then maybe a junk yard IDK iv never been there maybe you can order it off line

pindalanderz (author)2009-07-27

how do you make it so that the nuts don't fall off the bolts?

josefu0 (author)pindalanderz2010-08-19

get a fishing line or a strong thick string, put it throught the bolt, screw it, cut the remaining and the bolt will stay on.

you could also use a nylock nut, I think that's what it's called, anyway it uses nylon to make sure that the nut doesn't loosen itself, you need a few spanners to put it on though

Shadowfury (author)pindalanderz2009-07-27

The simplest way to do that is to tighten the nuts so that the handle play is ideal, then apply a small amount of super glue to the bolt and nut. The superglue will stop the nut from spinning out of place. Also, I recommend using lubricant on the pivots to make sure that the handles swing freely, and to cut down on unnecessary wear on the handles and pivots. This helps keep the friction on the nuts down as well.

pindalanderz (author)Shadowfury2009-07-27

i was assuming it would be something like this but i didn't want to try anything stupid. thanks for the tip.

Shadowfury (author)pindalanderz2009-07-27

No problem.

Pie Ninja (author)2010-06-07

Good instructable, but you're better off going with steel or titanium for handles, aluminium isn't strong enough and can break and bend a lot easier than steel.

rickymetz (author)2009-03-11

Also illegal in the state of Virginia as well.

MisterHankie (author)rickymetz2009-06-11

GAH!!!! i live in virginia!!! that kinda sucks

chocolatewolf (author)rickymetz2009-03-12

lol technically its only illegal if you take it out of ur house and wave it around in peoples faces XD i should know my friends have butterfly knives and their mom is a police officer XD

Nexnaught (author)2009-05-26

I have a knife, but I have trouble separating the blade from the handle. How would I be able to MAKE a blade?

Shadowfury (author)Nexnaught2009-05-26

Click here for an instructable on how to make a knife.
Just design the blade after a balisong blade, then before hardening, drill holes for two tang pins and the pivots.

sharlston (author)2009-05-19

i made mine like yours but i use the handles from a multi tool and made it fold away

revo101 (author)2009-04-07
Shadowfury (author)revo1012009-04-11

Excellent idea. Unfortunately, I lost my old multi-tool...

bowmaster (author)2009-03-23

Very good guide.

bowmaster (author)bowmaster2009-03-24

The best one on instructables.

kaiga (author)2009-01-03

I liked this because it was very good and i actually can make this as i have those materials. overall a nice job but if you don't mind i would have ground off the original hole where the blade pivoted on the regular pocketknife.

Shadowfury (author)kaiga2009-01-04

I thought about doing that, but then I thought, "I want to go play N." If you want to grind it off, go right ahead, as it will not affect the performance of the knife.

wolfmanthe (author)2008-12-30

sir, i believe we have the same knife. was yours a black handled folder from walmart for a dollar?

Shadowfury (author)wolfmanthe2008-12-31

Yep. I used one for this instructable. I made one a while back using a handmade blade, which was hard to make. I didn't have the time or patience to make another, so I went and bought one of those knives. The steel was soft enough, and the bit went easily through it, which saved me a lot of time and effort.

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