Introduction: The Carrot Recorder

About: Synth chick for electro-rock band, Former Human Beings

Everyone knows veggies are good for you because of their nutritional values, but let's make them even better by turning them into musical instruments! This is a super fun DIY for kids and adults alike. Follow along and find out how certain shapes and cut outs can turn your breath into beautiful musical tones. We start by turning the carrot into a simple whistle, then adding finger-holes in order to create different notes. You don't need to use the electric drill that I used. Carrots are much softer than wood, so you can do this all by hand. You can see I began hollowing it out by hand with a paddle bit, but I ultimately used a drill as I'm a bit impatient. ;) Apologies if you watch the video and see me struggle with the last note. I am a musician, but I was not blessed with the air capacity to play wind instruments. :D

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

You will need:

  • 1 large carrot
  • vegetable peeler
  • knife
  • drill with 11/16 paddle drill bit and 7/32 drill bit
  • apple corer
  • chopstick


Choose a carrot that is fresh, thick, and relatively straight. Have some extras around for backup or in case you break a piece while making the different parts.

The apple corer happened to be the perfect size to cut out the plug for the mouthpiece to make the clearest sound. You can also just use a knife to make this piece, it will just take longer to shave it down perfectly.

I used a chopstick to poke the finger-holes after I drilled them in order to fine tune them for sound clarity and aesthetics. If you want to keep your aesthetics, don't bite into the bottom like I did. ;)

Step 2: Prepare the Carrot

Peeling the carrot is not necessary, but it adds to its prettiness. Shave that sucker!

Cut a bit of the end off where it starts narrowing, but do not discard that piece. We will use it to make the mouthpiece plug. Keep in mind that the smaller the size of the recorder, the higher the pitch will be. If you'd like a soprano instrument, cut more off! :)

Step 3: Hollow the Carrot

Stand the carrot up with the wide bit at top. Use your paddle/spade drill bit by hand to start carving out the hole, then attach it to the drill and continue drilling in. Don't drill all the way through, but go as far as you can. Dump out the shavings.

Step 4: Create the Mouthpiece Plug

The plug is the slanted piece we will put in the mouthpiece to ultimately help create the perfect whistling sound. Take the cut portion of the carrot from earlier and chop off about an inch from the thicker side.

Stand up the carrot and press down on it with the apple corer.

Test out to see if it's a good fit so far by pressing this plug into the mouthpiece hole. If it's not, do some shaving with your knife. You want it to be a nice snug fit. Mine was perfect just using the apple corer.

Now cut a thin slightly diagonal piece off this plug. This diagonal will be what causes your breath to turn into an actual note, so don't skip making this cut. Discard the smaller piece... in your belly! (I don't waste a thing.)

Step 5: Make the Airhole

To make the airhole, make one cut downards near the opening of the mouthpiece almost halfway down.

Now make another cut from the top of the carrot diagonally to meet that first cut. Make sure you cut enough that you can see the airhole. If you cannot, cut in a bit deeper.

Push the diagonal-cut plug into the opening, thicker end first. Now you officially have a big whistle. Blow into it to make sure it makes a note. If you don't hear anything but the sounds of yourself nervously exhaling, you probably need to make another plug that fits more snuggly! A little trial and error is always fun-- keep at it, but I promise it comes together quickly!

Step 6: Add Finger-holes

Now use the thinner 11/16 drill bit to make some holes in the body of the carrot. This way, you can make some notes and write some beautiful antioxidant-packed songs!

As you can see in my video, closing up all the holes results in a lower pitch, and leaving the holes open takes you up higher. I was able to proudly play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" but I'm sure my neighbours weren't as impressed. This recorder gets LOUD! :D

Step 7: Just Eat It

Don't let it go to waste when you're done playing. Wash your recorder well and eat it. At 10 cents a pop, you can always make more. Bon appetit!

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