Monday, February 24, 2014

Cardboard Box Guitar

While planning my week of letter "G" (which will be posted next week), I came across this cute pin about making a cardboard guitar by I knew I just had to do this on music day because it would be a great interactive way to teach about music and guitars!

The original post was pretty self explanatory with lots of pictures. When I mentioned I was going to do this with Moneky, my husband got really excited. And, I mean REALLY excited. He ended up taking over the project because he wanted to make a really cool guitar. I should mention that he used to make guitars so I guess this explains his enthusiasm with making a cardboard box guitar. He told me that he hasn't made one before, and he NEEDS to make one.

Step 1
Find a cardboard box lying around the house. I used a generic white cardboard box that a lot of electronic parts come in (this means that the lid folds into the box unlike a shoe box where the lid sits on top). If you do use a shoebox, then you will have to design the guitar a little bit differently

Step 2
Pick out some scrapbook paper to decorate the box. I have tons of scrapbook paper at my place since I love to scrapbook. I picked out paper that I knew Monkey would love: trains, vehicles, and blue!

Step 3
Cut a circular hole in the middle of the box. The sound hole should be proportional to the size of the box. We cut out a 2.5 inch wide circle because the box we used was 9.5 x 6  x 2 inches.

Step 4
Glue the paper onto the box. We also glued paper inside the box so when you look through sound hole of the guitar, it looks festive.

Step 5 (optional)
Make a pickguard for the guitar. My husband wanted a pickguard on the guitar so he sketched a template out, and he made it from the blue scrapbook paper. This is just for decoration, but it made the cardboard box guitar look awesome!

Step 6
Create a raised bridge for the guitar. The raised bridge is needed to get better sounds from the guitar. My husband made the raised bridge by cutting a 3 inch piece from a 5/16 dowel. He mentioned that you can use anything roughly the size of a pencil.We then glued blue scrapbook paper on it so the raised bridge would match the theme of the guitar.

Step 7
Attach rubber bands onto the cardboard box guitar using thumb tacks.You can use as few as 3 rubberbands and as many as 12, but we did 6 because regular guitars have 6 strings. Cut the rubber bands and tie a knotted loop on one end of the rubber bands. On the end of the guitar box, put the thumb tacks in a straight line. These thumb tacks will hold the knotted loop of the bands. We spaced the thumb tacks 3/8 of an inch apart. On the opposite end of the guitar box, put 6 more thumb tacks. On this end, you can tune the strings by adjusting the tension to the desired pitch.

This was a way fun project. My husband went overboard in doing this cardboard box guitar, but I was okay with that. We had fun spending time together. You can still make a great cardboard box guitar without all the technical part that my husband did. Once again, his sculptor side surfaced. And, this guitar was a hit with Monkey! This was a perfect way to teach about guitars.

I definitely want to make more cardboard instruments in the future since Monkey really loved his guitar!!


  1. This would be a great project for Mom or Dad with the kiddos.

  2. I love this post, we made shoe box guitars all the time when we were kids. I would love to make them with my kids now!