Join the band with a super-cool custom guitar you can help your child make in just a few hours. Our illustrated instructions make it easy!

By Mark Frauenfelder
May 30, 2017
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DIY Guitar Craft Father and Daughter on Couch
Credit: Gretchen Easton

This homemade guitar requires some specific stuff—and some time. Download illustrated instructions here and follow our schedule for a stress-free day.

The Plan

The Week Before: Gather the supplies and order these parts from Amazon:

What Else You'll Need: 

  • 7/8-inch spade drill bit
  • Drill
  • 5x8x3.5-inch wooden craft box with hinged lid
  • 7/8-inch-diameter wood dowel, 36 inches long
  • 80- and 180-grit sandpaper
  • 3/32-inch drill bit
  • Two 3/4-inch-long wood screws and corresponding nuts that fit loosely
  • Screwdriver
  • 11/64-inch screw eye
  • Multi-surface craft paint, optional
  • Paintbrushes, optional
  • 1/2-inch-diameter wood dowel, 2 inches long
  • Guitar pick

What To Do:

1. About 1/4-inch up from the bottom, use the spade bit to drill two holes through the midpoint of both short sides of the wooden box. Push the 7/8-inch dowel through the holes so 2 inches extend out one end. (The long opposite side is the neck.)

2. With the lid locked, turn the box over (lid facing down) and mark a hole in the corner (near the neck) for the sound hole. Drill with the spade bit. Smooth the dowel and box with sandpaper, using the 80-grit and then the 180-grit.

3. Mark 1 inch down from the side closest to the neck; make sure the mark is centered so it’s over the dowel.

4. Use the 3/32-inch drill bit to drill through the mark and into the dowel inside the box. Screw the dowel to the box. This is the front of the guitar.

5. Insert the screw eye into the top of the short end of the dowel, close to the box. Paint the box, if desired, and let dry completely.

(Note: This might take a while, so we recommend taking a break here for some games, some lunch, or a well-deserved nap.)

6. Thread the guitar string through the screw eye, looping the string through the metal cylinder that’s attached to it.

7. Make a mark on the front of the neck about 6 inches down from the top. Drill with the 3/32-inch drill bit. Insert a screw through a nut, but don’t tighten all the way. Slide the hose clamp onto the neck past the screw.

8. Pull up the string, wrap it around the screw once or twice, and tighten the screw to secure the string.

9. Adjust the hose clamp so it’s close to the screw/nut and the string is over the bolt in the clamp. Tighten the clamp.

10. Put a 2-inch-long piece of 1/2-inch-diameter dowel under the string on the box, as close to the screw eye as it will easily slide without forcing it.

Tip: Get strumming! To play, put the guitar slide on your left ring finger (or right finger if you’re left-handed). Move the guitar slide up and down the string and pick the string like playing a slide whistle. (Watch more specific instructions here.)

Family Fun