Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Make a cardboard guitar

Whenever I play the guitar, Baby Chuck seems keen to join in.  He pulls on strings, turns the tuning keys, and inevitably drops picks (and possibly raisins- ick) into the body.  I figured he'd like his own guitar, so I made him this black and white cutie.  It's the size of a ukulele.

(Why cow print?  Well, whenever we ask him "What does a cow say?" he responds "Mmm mmm."  Then we always cheer because that's close enough for us.)

Want to make your own guitar?  Read on!

DIY Cardboard KidsGuitar

how to make a cardboard guitar for kids

(Disclaimer:  I got the template and directions from Make It and Love It.  They wrote a really comprehensive set of directions packed full of lovely photos.  Check out their post for detailed directions and cute kid pics.  I'm posting up this set of directions because I did things slightly differently.)

(Disclaimer 2:  This project takes a long time.  Crapting helps me to relax, so I didn't mind.)

Materials Needed to Make a DIY Kids Guitar

- Already cut out and assembled guitar template (follow her directions on how to resize, cut, and assemble pieces)
- Exacto knife
- Aleene's tacky glue (you'll need something stronger than Elmer's, hot glue didn't quite work for me)
- Scissors
- Nice cardboard (no bends or stains) <-- crap
- Ruler
- Drill
- Paint, paint brushes, Mod Podge
- 4 jumbo 7 inch rubber bands (purchased at Staples)
- 2 paperclips (I used jumbo sized ones, but I think 1 inch ones would work too)
- heavy books

Directions to Make Your Own DIY Cardboard Guitar:

1.  Trace and cut out 4 guitar pieces out of your cardboard:

  • 3 full length guitar cutouts (with holes cut out of the center of them)
  • 1 body only guitar cutout (cut your template at the dotted line and just trace out the bottom portion)


2.  Glue together two of your full length guitar pieces.  Now you have a nice sturdy  base.  (You don't want your rubber bands to bend the cardboard.)

3. Cut out 4 rectangles out of cardboard:

  • 2 larger rectangles- approximately 3 inches x 1/4 inch
  • 2 smaller rectangles- approximately 1 3/4 inches x 1/4 inch

4.  Glue your two large rectangles, one on top of each other, about 1 inch below the cutout circles on your previously glued together guitar cutouts.  Glue your two smaller rectangles, one on top of another, around the neck of your previously glued together guitar pieces.


cut out cardboard guitar shapes

5.  Now it's drilling time. (Aka- Time to call hubby because drills totally freak me out.)  Drill four holes approximately 1/3 inch below your larger rectangles and about 1/2 inch above your smaller rectangles.  Honestly, the measurements aren't that important.  You can just eyeball it.  Just make sure that (a) your holes are evenly spaced and (b) four rubber bands could potentially be strung from one set of holes to the other.  Oh yeah, when drilling the holes on the head of the guitar, try not to place the end holes too close to the edge of the cardboard.  Otherwise your rubber band will periodically slide off...

6.  Now it's painting time (Aka- Let's get funky and creative!)

  • Completely paint one side of the smaller guitar body  (I painted it cow print)
  • Completely paint one side of your glued together guitar cutouts.  (I painted it red and cow print.) 
  • Paint the neck of your third guitar cutout (That's the only part that will be showing in your final product
Once your paint dries, apply Mod Podge to protect your lovely work.  Let Mod Podge dry.

7.  You may notice that your cardboard starts bending.  This isn't good because it will prevent your cardboard pieces from properly sticking together.  Don't worry!  Just use some heavy books to flatten your cardboard out.  (Sadly, my two previously glued together guitar pieces were coming undone.  I reattached them by squeezing in more glue between the crevices.)  Let glue dry.


drill, paint, and complete your DIY cardboard guitar toy for kids

8.  Now let's string the guitar!  Cut your four jumbo sized rubber bands to make four long strands.  Double knot each rubber band to a paperclip.  Then, string your four strands through the holes in the neck of the guitar.  Pull to make sure that your paperclip sits flush against the cardboard.  Pull those strands down one by one through the holes in the body of your guitar.  Double knot the strands to another paperclip.  (I had some problems tying my middle rubber bands to the paper clip, so I just double knotted them to each other.)  Trim all your excess rubber band bits.

9.  Make four small indentations in your cardboard rectangle bits (on the front of the guitar) to keep rubber bands in place.

10.  What? Aren't we done yet?  No way. Crapting is not for the weary. Time to cover up the ugly rubber band ends and paper clips.  Spread a thick layer of glue on the back of your newly strung guitar and glue on your third full guitar piece.  Make sure the painted neck is shown.  Apply pressure to make sure the pieces stick together.  Then, glue on your small guitar body on top of that.  Again, apply pressure.

11.  Note:  I found that my pieces wouldn't stay glued together because my jumbo paper clips were pretty thick.  If you find yourself with this problem too, you may need to cut out two "wells" in your cardboard so that the paperclips have a nice place to rest.  Then your cardboard pieces should sit nicely together.

12.  Enjoy and rock out.

how to make a DIY cardboard guitar for kids


And here are our two new cardboard instruments:
(Click here for directions to make a cardboard rattle-drum.)
DIY cardboard instruments kids craft

Phew.  I'm exhausted.  Time for bed.  Goodnight!

11 comments:

  1. Wow, those are SOOOOO cute! Did Baby Chuck love them? I'm thinking he did :)

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  2. We brought both instruments to music class and the toddlers played with them. Sadly the drum split in half (easily repaired with glue) and the guitar stayed strong. :) We'll bring it again next week for them to bash around. I'm curious just how strong cardboard is....

    ReplyDelete
  3. awesome. my cousin would love this!

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Making a cardboard guitar is not easy. Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  6. technically this is a ukulele it only has four strings

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for sharing this amazing project with us!!! That guitar looks so beautiful. My kids going to love it:)
    Jessi

    ReplyDelete

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