How to Make a Guitar Pick – 5 Easy Ways to Create Plectrums Quickly

how to make a guitar pick

If you’re an experienced guitarist, you’ll know that picks seem to go missing at the worst possible time. In this guide, we’re looking into how to make a guitar pick. There are lots of methods you can use to create a pick for guitar, that is suitable and safe to use.

Most guitarists buy dozens of guitar plectrums (picks) at a time. They’re affordable, and they go missing alarmingly easily. These small pieces of plastic are so easy to drop or lose in the bottom of your bag.

Being able to make a guitar pick is beneficial for a couple of reasons.

  1. It’s fun, and can mean an endless supply of picks in different patterns and designs.
  2. If you don’t have time to wait for new picks to be delivered, or you aren’t near a guitar store, you can make a pick to use in a pinch.

The Easiest Way to Make a Guitar Pick – The Pick Punch

If you often find yourself without guitar picks, or just don’t want to order them all the time, a pick punch can be a great solution. Pick punches allow you to insert a sheet of plastic, or another item such as an expired membership card. You simply apply pressure and…voila, a guitar pick!

The Pick-a-Palooza DIY Guitar Pick Punch is a great example of a pick punch and even comes with sheets of plastic you can use. Keep the pick punch in your home studio and you’re unlikely to run out of picks any time soon, and if you do, you can use the punch to make a pick out of everyday items…

If you’re worried about your plastic consumption then you can ensure no old membership card goes to waste.

Another bonus of pick punches is the fact that you can buy different plastic thicknesses and experiment with which thickness creates the ideal sound for you. The Pick-A-Palooza even comes with a Pick Holder Key Chain to hold up to 10 picks. Also, it comes with 15 sheets of plastic, to create over 1,000 picks in total. You’ll have to be a serial pick-loser to go through all of those.

How to Make a Homemade Guitar Pick Out Of Things You Have Around The House

We know that a lot of people who are looking into how to make a guitar pick will be stuck for something to use. Luckily, you can make a guitar pick out of things you probably have laying around.

The most effective material to use to make a guitar pick is plastic. Thin plastic is easy to cut to shape.

Some of the items that people can use to create plectrums of their own include:

  • Old expired credit cards, gift cards, and membership cards.
  • Food packaging. The lid from a tube of pringles is a great example of thin plastic you can make a pick out of. Pretty much any plastic lid can be ideal.
  • Thin plastic items such as rulers or plastic tubs.

So what is the method for making the pick?

  1. Create a guitar pick template. Below, we’ve included an image you can use as your template. Use cardboard or even just paper in order to cut out a template.
  2. Draw around this to create a guideline.
  3. Cut it out with scissors. The great thing is that the shape and size of a pick don’t have to be 100% precise to be effective, so you shouldn’t worry too much. Just try to avoid creating sharp edges as these can wear down the guitar strings.

How to Make a Guitar Pick Out of Cardboard

If you want to make a guitar pick for a single-use then cardboard might be suitable, especially if you are able to use some relatively thick cardboard.

The process is pretty much the same as above, but you don’t really need to create a template. Instead, you can just cut out the shape, roughly to size.

If you’re really ambitious and wondering how you can create a pick made out of paper, you can even create an origami-style guitar pick! Not a long-term solution, but great if you are stuck.

Guitar Pick Template

For the shape of your guitar plectrum, you can use the image below to give you a pick template to work to. The size of a standard guitar pick is 32mm in height by 28mm in width.

As we’ve stated already, you don’t have to be too scientific about it when you are just making a pick to use one time, when you are short. If you plan to make picks in the long-term then a more uniform template or a pick punch might be a better option for you.

Alternatives to a Guitar Pick

If you’re looking at this guide because you want to play your guitar but can’t find a pick, there are some alternatives to even using a guitar pick at all.

Use Your Thumb

It isn’t “right” or “wrong” to use a pick instead of a thumb, or your thumb instead of a pick. Picks tend to make it easier to strum more quickly, but tonally will be quite different to strumming with your thumb. It is a good idea to be able to play with your thumb as a backup. If you are “caught short” without a pick then it is a good idea to at least try using your thumb.

You can also experiment with “fingerpicking” which doesn’t require a pick. You can use multiple fingers to create intricate patterns. Fingerstyle guitar is very popular, and it is a skill most guitarists (especially acoustic guitarists) learn at some stage. No plectrum required.

Use a Coin (With Extreme Caution)

It is incredibly common for people who don’t have a plectrum on them to pull a coin out of their pocket or their wallet. It is true that coins are a decent alternative in terms of sound and playability. They give a sharp attack and they also sit nicely between thumb and forefinger.

The problem with using coins? They will destroy your strings very quickly. They cause strings to wear in no time at all. If you just want to play a few songs and you are stuck for a pick, then sure, a coin might be a good option. If not, you might be buying replacement guitar strings all the time.

Conclusion – Should You Make Your Own Picks?

It’s a great idea to have the capacity to make your own picks. It can save you money, enable you to recycle old gift cards and other pieces of plastic, and turn them into something useful. On top of that, if you’re ever stuck without a guitar pick, you can make one in seconds.

Making picks is a fun activity, and something a lot of people do to give them more design options. You can buy plastic you like the design of, or even paint and design your own picks.

Spread the love