Tag Archives: how to make a kalimba

How to Make a Kalimba or Thumb Piano

To all who want to make a kalimba,

Don’t let your disappointment with other websites kill your desire to make a kalimba! The concept is about as simple as it gets – attach strips of springy metal to a board in a way that lets them vibrate when then are stroked or plucked.

There are only a few essential pieces – a piece of wood that is roughly the size of a hand, 6 or more pieces of springy metal strips, a strong piece of wood or metal to place over the strips to hold them down, and a rod or dowel to place underneath the strips that will cause their ends to angle up when they are tightened to the board.

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Making a good sounding kalimba can be such a simple thing to do, yet the various instructions and plans found on many different websites make it seem like there is only one way to do it, with the finished project being either a very nice but complicated to make instrument, or a kids project that resembles a kalimba in appearance but doesn’t make a pleasing sound and will break easily.

There are so many good ways to make a kalimba! The information I provide here on nyKalimba.com is aimed at helping anyone who wants to make a kalimba.  The free plans I offer are a good starting point, and can be a great foundation for future kalimba making projects.

Happy kalimba making,


Simple Yet Sturdy DIY Kalimba “Thumb Piano.”


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This kalimba is the perfect starter project for someone who wants to get started making kalimbas. It uses easy to find materials, the most basic kinds of tools that are easy to find or borrow, and can be finished within a few hours even if you have little or no experience doing this kind of thing.

If you are working on a very strict budget, then you will find that your creativity can make up for your lack of money. Kalimbas inspire the imagination, and the more thought we put into planning our kalimbas, the more rewarding it is to play them and show them around when they are finished.

Even if money isn’t a concern, you may find that it is more rewarding to test your resourcefulness and ingenuity by using these kalimba plans as a basis for your own clever design made using salvaged or re-purposed materials.

You can find the full PDF and instructions by clicking here.