Cheap DIY Guitar Picks





Introduction: Cheap DIY Guitar Picks

Recently I started playing the guitar and it was then I realised something, most picks are pretty ugly... So I set off to make some custom, cool and fun picks that anyone could make

Step 1: Supplies

You will need:

  • An old gift card, debit card, or another plastic card alike
  • A guitar pick template: there are 100s of different templates online, pick one you like and print it out
  • Nail Polish: chances are if you have women in your house, you probably have a bottle or two lying around. If not, do not fret (haha fret, get it)! The dollar store often sells low end quality polish
  • A good pair of scissors
  • A sharpie or permanent marker (not pictured)

Step 2: Cutting and Tracing

Print and cut out your template. After that, draw around the template on your card of choice with a sharpie.

Step 3: More Cutting

Cut out as many picks as you like. I went for three to start off with, but made a bunch more later!

Step 4: Get Creative

Now it's time to paint. If you want a very high end final product I also suggest using a top coat and base coat. You might also have to use several coats of nail polish, depending on how thick the polish is.

How to Paint Solid Colours:

  1. Lie your pick down on a flat, covered surface
  2. Add your base coat (if using one) and wait to dry for a minute
  3. Add your first coat and wait five minutes to dry
  4. Add your second coat (if needed) and wait another five minutes
  5. Add your top coat (if using) and wait to dry for a minute
  6. Flip over and repeat on other side

How to do a Striped Pattern (you will also need masking tape):

  1. Do steps 1-5 of "How to Paint Solid Colours"
  2. Add a few strips of painters tape where you would like the stripes
  3. Do steps 2-4 of "How to Paint Solid Colours" with a different colour
  4. Remove the tape carefully.
  5. Add a top coat (if using)
  6. Flip over and repeat on other side

How to do an Ombre Effect (you will also need a makeup sponge):

  1. Do steps 1-5 of "How to Paint Solid Colours"
  2. Paint two lines of colour (horizontally) across the makeup sponge so they just touch
  3. Dab the part of the sponge where the polish is on top of pick until the desired affect is achieved
  4. Add your top coat (if using)
  5. Flip over and repeat on other side

2 People Made This Project!


  • Stick It! Contest

    Stick It! Contest
  • Game Life Contest

    Game Life Contest
  • Oil Contest

    Oil Contest

16 Discussions

Being an old time guitarist myself, I can't see how painting these will work well. Picks have to be sort of slippery so they glide off the strings. I would think painting them would made the pick a bit soft and tend to stick. Plus, you do not have the option of pick thickness as in light, Medium, hard.

I made it!!!!

Omg that's AWSOME!!!!!!!

I will defiantly do this rn!!

I make all of my picks from old credit cards and ID cards. I don't bother decorating them, I just use the patterns and pictures of the cards themselves. It's especially cool to use an old ID card or driver's license so my guitar pick has my picture on it.

Thanks! needed a cheap bf present!


I also tried to make picks with nail polish ...the lacquer will wear off. I recommend to use clear lacquer in spray bottles instead of clear nail polish ! It wont wear off so easily :) You can also check out my instructable here how to make personalized picks with temporary tattoos, too!

2 replies

You can obviously re-laquer if it is starting to wear down. I have been using them heavily for a week and there hasn't been a chip!

You can obviously re-laquer if it is starting to wear down. I have been using them heavily for a week and there hasn't been a chip!

I did many diy picks back when I was a kid. but using a debit card or alike is highly not recomended because it wont last longer than a conventional picks. So if you really want your picks to look fancy, simply buy a normal pick then put a color on it.

Do you have any issues with the paint/nailpolish getting into the strings? I can always use more guitar picks!

1 reply

I have been using these heavily for the past week or so and haven't experienced any problems

I also make picks from gift cards and the 'pre-approved' credit cards that end up in my mailbox. I don't know what you call it, but the cards with the grooves that 'move' when you tilt them back and forth (like the little cards that used to come in Cracker Jacks) make awesome picks. If you cut them in the right direction the grooves on the card give a nice friction sound when you strum. Good luck with your guitar playing!

2 replies

Yep. After making that comment it started bugging me that I couldn't think of what they were called. A little google-fu brought me the term 'lenticular printing'. The grooved plastic on the surface is called a lenticular lens. Yay for today! Back before the internet that would have bugged me for weeks.

BTW if you play an electric guitar check out my instructable for making a cool Leslie rotary tremolo amp from an old organ-