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7 Ways To Make DIY Guitar Picks Quickly And Easy

10 Mins read

Are you looking for ways to make DIY guitar picks?

DIY guitar picks are great for those who want to save money or for those who just want to have a unique pick.

There are a few things to consider when making your own guitar picks, such as the type of material, the thickness, and the size.

Although this is usually a quick and easy process, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

In this post, I will share 7 ways to quickly make the best DIY guitar picks that actually feel good and sound great.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, these methods will help you get the job done in no time:

7 Ways To Make DIY Guitar Picks Quickly And Easy

1. Get yourself a pick punch to easily make guitar picks

One of the easiest ways to make guitar picks is to get yourself a pick punch.

This is a tool that helps you cut out guitar picks from any material including credit cards, laminates, and even old gift cards.

All you need to do is insert the material into the punch and squeeze the handle to create a perfect guitar pick shape.

How it works is that the punch has a small hole in the center that is the perfect size for a guitar pick.

As you squeeze the handle, the material is cut around this hole to create a guitar pick shape.

This one is the one I have and recommend from Amazon:

DIY Guitar Pick Punch

Pick-a-Palooza DIY Guitar Pick Punch Mega Gift Pack

One of the main advantages of this method is that it is very quick and easy to do and requires no effort.

In just a few seconds, you can have a brand new guitar pick that is ready to use.

More importantly, you can repeat this process as many times as you want and make as many picks as you need.

2. Use a hobby knife to cut out your own picks

If you don’t have a pick punch, another option is to use a hobby knife to cut out your own picks.

The process is a bit more tedious but it is still relatively easy to do since all you need is a sharp knife and a steady hand.

To start, you will need to trace the outline of a guitar pick onto the material that you are using and once you have the outline, use the hobby knife to carefully cut along the lines.

If you don’t have an extra pick to help you trace the outline, you can use a template or even print one out from the internet.

Once you have cut out the basic shape of the pick, you will need to file down the edges to make them smoother.

If you want to make things easier, I advise you use a ruler or some other straight edge to help you keep the lines nice and straight.

3. Trace and cut out picks from thin sheet metal

If you are looking for a more durable guitar pick, then you might want to try using thin sheet metal.

The process is similar to using a hobby knife but the main difference is that the metal will be much thinner and easier to work with.

Please be extra careful when cutting out the shape of the pick to avoid any accidents.

To start, you will need to find a thin piece of sheet metal and use a marker to trace the outline of the pick onto it.

Once you have the basic shape, you can use a hobby knife or a pair of scissors to carefully cut along the lines.

Be sure to file down the edges of the pick once you are done to avoid any sharp edges.

Metal picks are much more durable than plastic or other materials and they also have a distinct sound that some guitarists prefer.

If the sheet metal is too thin, then it might not be strong enough to withstand the force of strumming.

In this case, you can try using a thicker piece of metal or even multiple layers of thin sheet metal glued together.

4. Repurpose an old gift card, CDs, or ID cards as a guitar pick

Another quick and easy way to make a guitar pick is to repurpose an old gift card or ID card.

All you need to do is use a knife or a pair of scissors to carefully cut out the desired shape from the card.

Once you have the basic shape, you can use a file or sandpaper to smooth out the edges.

The advantage of using an old card is that it is already the perfect size and thickness for a guitar pick.

gift cards, CDs, or ID cards as a guitar pick

Plus, you don’t have to worry about the edges being too sharp since they are already rounded from the manufacturing process.

Additionally, if you want to add some extra grip to the pick, you can use a hole punch to create small holes along the edge.

Just be sure not to punch the holes too close to the edge or else the pick might break and become unusable.

5. Use a 3D printer to make custom guitar picks

If you have access to a 3D printer, then you can use it to make custom guitar picks.

The process is fairly simple and all you need is a 3D model of the pick that you want to create.

There are many websites where you can find free 3D models or you can even create your own using a 3D modeling program.

Once you have the 3D model, you just need to load it into the 3D printer and hit print.

Here’s a YouTube video that I found that perfectly describes the process of making guitar picks with 3D printers:

I 3D printed different guitar pick shapes and was surprised with the result

What I loved about this video in specific is that it shows him actually designing the picks, choosing different materials, and trying out multiple shapes.

This inside look at the software and the guitar picks end product is very unique and hard to find online in such a high quality form.

designing a guitar pick with a 3d printer
Screenshot from Prusa 3D by Josef Prusa on YouTube

If that wasn’t enough, he even provides the model files (.stl) for the guitar picks so that if you have a 3D printer, you can just open the files, make some changes, and hit print.

Now, it is important to use a material that is strong enough to withstand the force of strumming such as ABS plastic or polycarbonate.

You will need to use a fairly high-resolution setting on the printer to avoid any rough edges on the pick.

3D printed picks are great because you can create any shape or design that you want and they can be made from a variety of different materials.

Plus, if you make a mistake, it is easy to start over and try again!

6. Make use of coins as emergency guitar picks

If you are in a pinch and don’t have any guitar picks on hand, then you can try using coins as a makeshift solution.

Pennies and quarters work best for this since they are the perfect size and shape for a guitar pick.

Plus, they are made from a durable material that can withstand the force of strumming.

Brian May from Queen uses a coin pick to help him achieve his signature sound:

Why Brian May Uses a Sixpence

He explains that he discovered this by looking for new ways to feel more of the action on his fingers and strings.

To use a coin as a pick, you could use a file or sandpaper to smooth out the edges, or just leave it as is.

You can also use a hole punch to create small holes along the edge for extra grip and better control.

If you don’t have any coins on hand, then you can also try using other small objects such as buttons or even pieces of cardboard.

This brings us to our next point…

7. Use cardboard or paper as a temporary solution

If you are in a bind and don’t have any guitar picks on hand, then you can try using a piece of cardboard or paper as a temporary solution.

To do this, simply cut out the desired shape from the cardboard or paper and use a file or sandpaper to smooth out the edges.

Once again, you can also use a hole punch to create small holes along the edge for extra grip and better control.

This method is not ideal since the cardboard or paper will not be as durable as a metal or plastic pick.

Plus, it is more likely to tear if you are using it for strumming rather than picking, however, it is a quick and easy way to get by.

Bonus #1: Use wood or other similar materials

If you want to get really creative, you can try using wood or other similar materials to make your own guitar picks.

The process is fairly simple and all you need is a piece of wood that is thin enough to be flexible.

Once you have the piece of wood, you will need to use a file or sandpaper to smooth out the edges and create the desired shape

This method is great because you can create any shape or design that you want and wood picks tend to be very durable

wood guitar picks examples
Image via Timber-Tones.com

Plus, they have a unique look and feel that you won’t find with any other type of pick.

One benefit of using wood is that it is a natural material that is gentle on your strings.

So if you are looking for a pick that won’t damage your strings, then this is definitely the way to go.

Plus, it has a unique sound that can add a new dimension to your playing if you’re looking to experiment.

Wooden picks are also very affordable and easy to find since you can often find them at your local hardware store.

If you have any skills in woodworking, then this should be a breeze for you.

But even if you don’t, it’s still a fun project to try out and you might be surprised at how well it works.

Bonus #2: Make guitar picks out of stones or rocks

If you want to get really creative, you can try using stones or rocks to make your own guitar picks.

Although this method requires a bit more work and equipment, it is definitely possible to create some beautiful and unique picks this way.

Just like we mentioned with wood, the process is straighforward and all you need is a stone or rock that is solid and strong enough to withstand being cut.

How to Make Stone Guitar Picks

The first step is to find the stone or rock, which you can often find these at your local riverbed or beach.

Once you have the stone or rock, you will need to use a file or sandpaper to smooth out the edges and create the shape that you’re looking for.

I also advise you to be careful with how thin you make the pick since you don’t want it to break easily.

Also, putting a hole in the middle might not be the best idea since it can make the pick more fragile.

What material can you use to make guitar picks?

There are a variety of materials that you can use to make guitar picks.

Each material has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your needs.

Some of the most common materials are plastic, however, you can also find picks made from metal, wood, stone, and even glass.

Plastic is the most popular material for guitar picks because it is very durable and has a good grip.

Plus, it is very affordable and easy to find out there.

However, some guitarists prefer metal picks because they produce a brighter sound.

Wooden picks are also becoming increasingly popular because they are gentle on strings and have a unique sound.

Glass picks are more premium and a bit more fragile but they produce a very clear and bright tone.

In the end, it really depends on your personal preference and what suits your needs the best.

There is no wrong answer, so just experiment with different materials until you find the one that you like the most!

Best guitar picks alternatives

There are a few different things that you can use as an alternative to guitar picks.

Some people prefer to use their fingers while others might use a coin or even a piece of paper.

It really depends on what you’re looking for and what works best for you.

If you want to get a more mellow sound, then using your fingers is the way to go.

This method is very gentle on the strings and produces a softer sound.

If you’re looking for a more aggressive sound, then you might want to try using a coin or piece of paper.

A lot of people also like to use credit cards because they are thin and flexible.

Other objects that can work very well include:

  • Business cards
  • Plastic straws
  • Playing cards
  • Shells
  • SIM cards
  • ID cards
  • Bottle caps

Is it safe to use coins as guitar picks?

There is a lot of debate on this topic and it really depends on who you ask.

Some people swear by using coins as guitar picks because they produce a brighter sound.

However, others are against it because coins can damage your strings.

If you do decide to use coins as guitar picks, I would advise you to be careful and not use them too often.

using coins as guitar picks
Using penny coins as guitar picks

This is because coins can wear down your strings and cause them to break over a short period of time.

A famous guitarist that used coins is Brian May from Queen.

He would use old English pennies because they were soft enough not to damage his strings.

So, if you do decide to use coins as guitar picks, make sure to use ones that are soft and won’t damage your strings.

Real guitar picks vs. DIY guitar picks: Which one is better?

If you use the same materials in both scenarios, there shouldn’t be a big difference in sound that’s noticeable enough for most guitar players.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more unique sound, then DIY guitar picks might be the way to go.

You can experiment with different materials and shapes to create a pick that has its own unique sound and perfectly suits your needs.

However, if you’re just starting out, I would recommend using real guitar picks because they are more durable and easier to use.

Plus, you won’t have enough experience to really know what kind of pick you need and enjoy using the most.

DIY picks will give you a sense of satisfaction that comes with creating something yourself.

Professional picks on the other hand will give you a taste of the standard size and shape that works for most people.

Lastly, if you’re on a budget, making your own picks can save you some money in the long run, but either way, guitar picks aren’t that expensive.

One more thing

GuitarBased.com is all about showing you a little bit more about guitars each day and finding ways to innovate and have fun with this beautiful instrument that we love.

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to check out our blog!

We’re always sharing a lot of useful and helpful content that both beginners and advanced players can use to further develop their playing abilities.

As always, thank you for reading and being here! 🤘

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