Introduction: How to Make Your Own Diaphragm Turkey Call

This is an instructable detailing how to make your own diaphragm turkey call (mouth call).

If you've ever turkey hunted, you know what this is. If not, just know that it is essentially a musical instrument that replicates the natural sound of a wild turkey.

This is not a description of how to use one. If you need tips or pointers on how to use one, check youtube and search for Diaphragm Turkey Calling.

Word of warning: This device uses latex in it's construction. If you have or suspect you have a latex allergy DO NOT make this. It brings your mouth directly in contact with latex. It can kill you if you have an allergy.
Last word before we start: This device is capable of producing a realistic turkey call. So lifelike, in fact, that people get shot every year using these to call in turkey. Use this item at your own risk.

Step 1: Materials...

Okay, you have come this far, might as well see what materials this takes....

1. Latex Glove
2. Tin or Steel Can
3. Waterproof Medical Tape

Yep. That's all it takes.


1. Snips
2. Scissors
3. Razor Knife
4. Permanent Marker
5. Cutting Board

Step 2: Frame On!

This is the first step to a homemade call. Making your frame.

The frame is the metal portion of the call used to give the call strength and hold the latex in position.

First, cut down the side of your can and then around the bottom, so you end with a long strip of metal. Discard the bottom or save it to make more frames.

Once you have your long strip of metal, lay it out flat and draw at least one frame on it. The frame should look something like the last picture. The frame should be about 2 inches long by about 1 inch wide. If possible, print out this image at 2 inch by 1 inch, and trace it onto your metal. By no means does this have to be exact, but closer is better.

After you have your frame traced onto your metal strip, you need to cut it out. Cut along the outline first, and then fold your frame in half. Cut the interior portion of the frame out, and then unfold it. Save this interior portion for tracing it later.

Step 3: Learn to Reed

This is the next step: Making your reed.

Because this is essentially a musical instrument, the vibration of the reed is what produces the sound.

To make one, we will use a latex glove. Mark out a 2 inch by 1 inch rectangle on your glove. Here, I have five rectangles marked on the same glove to make multiple calls.

After marking out your latex, lay it out on your cutting board and cut it out with the sharpest razor knife you can find. We want the cuts to be as smooth as possible so sharpness is important. Be sure to cut through both layers of the glove as you go. I use both layers in each call. I like the raspiness of the double reed design, it tends to hide imperfections in my calling technique.

Step 4: Reeding

Now is the point where you can gently open your frame and lay your latex reeds in it.

After laying the reeds in the frame, making sure they are all the way forward against the bend. Gently close the frame tightly to hold the latex still.

Bend the top tab on the frame over to lock the frame closed.

Step 5: Tape Up

Next, take three pieces of your waterproof tape, about 3 inches long, and layer them. This gives you one piece of tape 3 layers thick.

Then take the piece you cut out of the interior of the frame and lay it in the center of the tape. Trace around the cut out with your razor knife to cut a hole in your piece of tape the exact size of the opening in your frame.

After you cut the hole in your tape, lay your frame with the latex in it on the tape. Try to line it up so the opening in the frame is over the hole. Be as exact as possible here.

Once you are satisfied with the placement of your frame you can pull the latex taut and then stick it to the tape around the frame. You want a little tightness here, but don't overstretch. If the reed is overstretched, you will get too high a pitch.

Then fold the tape over and press it together.

Step 6: Trim the Rim.

Once you have your call folded over, you want to trace your basic call shape onto the tape.

This is the shape that conforms to your mouth to seal the call against the roof of your mouth.

I traced a store bought call to get the best shape. Look at the last picture to get an idea of what shape we are looking for.

Step 7: Use It!

Here you see the finished product.

If you stuck with me this far, the least I can do is give you a listen to what our homemade call should sound like.

If you need help learning how to use a diaphragm call, check out some of these videos:

The best way to learn how to use a mouth call is to find someone who knows how to use one and mimic them. The best way to learn the different calls are to listen to champion callers on youtube and then repeat the sounds they make.

Remember, Benjamin Franklin suggested the North American turkey as the United States national bird because of its cunning. The turkey is "wild and wary to the point of genius," said author G. T. Klein.
These are game animals that are a test to a true hunter and difficult to bag at best. Being able to mimic their sound is just one more skill a successful turkey hunter possesses.

Good luck and good hunting!