Home » DIY Tutorials » DIY Crafting » Crafting: Kid Crafts » The ‘MISTER Make It and Love It’ Series: Cardboard Guitars

The ‘MISTER Make It and Love It’ Series: Cardboard Guitars

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the sweet love (from this post).
I sure appreciated all of the lovely comments and well wishes for my new little baby girl…… well as for our whole family.  That sure made this momma feel great.
And yes, I read every single one.  I could squeeze you all. :)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

During Christmas break, my husband was home for a few weeks…..while P.A. school was out of session.  He was able to wrestle, tease, and goof around with the kiddos.  And do all sorts of daddy things.

During that break, he also transformed into Mister Make It and Love It a few times, and worked on a few projects with the kids…….some with them, some for them.  But they were all daddy friendly projects.  And since we knew we’d be having a new baby a couple months later, and I’d be a little occupied after she came, he stayed busy with the kids to create a few Mister Make It and Love It projects for future postings.  Well, the future is now here, and I’m adjusting to this new little lady who has joined our home.

And the Mister Make It and Love It Series is taking over for a few posts.

Bless that husband’s heart for planning ahead with me, while enjoying a few projects with the kids.
Let me explain this first project.
Steve (or Mister Make It and Love It….ha!) loves his guitars.  His acoustic guitar, his electric guitar, his amp, his gear, his ukelele, his egg shakers…  All of it.  He doesn’t play them as much as he did before we were married…..but he still loves his hobby.  And when he pulls his guitar out, the kids flock to him and dance and twirl as he rocks out for them.
So he thought it would be a lot of fun to make little guitars for the kids…..but in cardboard form.
And then jam out with the little monkeys.
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The guitars come complete with rubber band strings………..great for strumming and a small amount of sound.
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And even a bridge at the top and bottom, to keep the “strings” away from the guitar body.
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This mini guitar size was perfect for their little strummin’ fingers…
And made them feel like rock stars, just like their daddy.
And, of course, the price was next to nothing. And worth every bit of time making them………because the rock session that follows is priceless.  (While he’s playing, they really think they are making all of that sound with him.  It’s adorable.)
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Would you like to make your own cardboard guitar(s)?
(pattern pieces included)
First of all, my husband traced his little ukelele to use as a pattern for these little guitars.  In case you don’t have a ukelele to trace…….you can find the pattern pieces here to use.  (Just be sure to copy and paste to a document, reduce the margins to zero, and print out at 100%. Then tape the two pieces together at the X’s.)
Next, check out in your garage (or storage space) for some sturdy cardboard.  Try and find some without folds or creases. I got mine while at Staples, and just asked for some of their old boxes.  Ask at your local store (any kind) and see if they are getting rid of any.  You may find some higher quality cardboard there, rather than old squished boxes you may have laying around.
Then trace 3 of the full size guitar shape right onto the cardboard.  Then cut off the top part of the guitar, right along the dotted line, and trace 2 of the shortened guitar piece (without the center hole) onto the cardboard as well.
Then use a utility (or exacto) knife to cut out the 5 guitar shapes.
Then, use a hot glue gun to attach two of the bigger guitar pieces together.
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Next, cut up a pencil (or wooden dowel) to create a bridge at each end of the guitar strings.  Cut a piece that is 1 1/2 inches and the other one 2 3/4 inches.
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Then, draw a 2 3/4 inch line that is 1 inch below the circle opening on the front side of the 2 guitar pieces that you just glued together.  Then draw 4 dots below the line that are about a 1/2 inch apart and about a 1/3 inch below the line.
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Then use a utility knife to make a shallow cut into the cardboard, right along that line.
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Then use your finger to push a dent down along that line, to create a little divot for the pencil bridge to lay.
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Then hot glue the bigger pencil piece right down into the dented crease, securing the bottom bridge in place.
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Next, drill some holes through the 2 layers of cardboard, right where your 4 marks are.
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For the bridge at the top of the guitar neck, make a 1 1/2 inch long line right below where the neck curves out at the top.  Then make 4 dots about a 1/2 inch above the line, about a 1/3 inch apart.  Make a shallow cut along the line, dent it in with your finger, and then hot glue the smaller pencil piece right into the crease……..just like you did above.
Now, use your utility knife to cut out little dents in the pencil, to help keep each of the guitar strings in place.
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For the guitar strings, I found some colored file folder rubber bands at Staples.  They are jumbo size (7 inch rubber bands) and are the perfect size to use for this project.  I cut 4 rubber bands open for the guitar.
Then, tie one end of each of the rubber bands along the long edge of a sturdy 1 inch (or similar) paper clip.
From the back side of the guitar, thread each of the other ends of the rubber bands through the 4 holes at the top of the guitar neck……..and pull them all the way through until the paper clip is flush with the backside of the guitar.
Then, one rubber band at a time, pull them along the front of the guitar and through the drilled holes towards the bottom of the guitar.  Tie the other end of each rubber band to a 1 1/2 inch (or similar) paper clip that is on the back side of the guitar.
My husband Steve was excited to tie each rubber band at different tightnesses, so that each string would sound slightly different, but that detail is up to you.  Either way, thread each rubber band through each hole and tie into a knot along the long end of the paper clip.  (This is the view from the back of the guitar.)
Then trim off each rubber band but don’t cut it too close to the paper clip.  Then place a bit of glue on the other long edge of the paper clip, just to secure it down.  But don’t let the hot glue touch the rubber band or it will melt it and break it.
Then, place a good amount of glue along the backside of the guitar with the strings (but don’t get any glue on the rubber bands) and then place the 3rd full size guitar piece onto the back……covering everything up.
Then glue the 2 smaller guitar pieces to the very back of the guitar……giving the guitar more thickness and durability……plus it gives the body of the guitar that fullness like a real one has.
Press the layers together firmly.
Trim off any uneven edges with your utility knife if needed.
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Then make a few more.

Now it’s time to jam with your little rock stars.


Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Anonymus says:


  2. Kylie says:

    oh wow so cool

  3. Kyla says:

    oh wow so cool

  4. Sevinch says:


  5. Angela says:

    Awesome amazing craft by a dude how inspiring thankyou, I am making one for my playgroup!

  6. Meggie says:

    Love this idea! This would technically be an ukulele though because it only has four strings. If you make one with six, it’s a guitar. The strings would all make the same sound unless you made them various lengths/thicknesses.

  7. jessica says:

    Por favor instrucciones es español

  8. anyonymouswus says:

    This is an awesome activity to do, I needed it to make an instrument for my school project


  9. Annette says:

    Great project

  10. suchi says:

    hey it’s an awesome project.. i’ll try tHz 4 my sci project… think u…. sarangae sunbae !!!

  11. Anonymous says:


  12. Ela Meier says:

    This guitar is sooo great – thanks a lot for sharing! I made one for the 2nd birthday of my nephew and I hope so much that he likes it. Maybe you like it too, here’s the post:
    I added some color, a skull and some “metal” font – as I’m the cool aunt that tries to lead this little guy in the right direction XD Let’s see if it works..

  13. Jasmine says:

    I need to make a guitar for a project but would this work with guitar strings too ?

  14. Daddy Naps says:

    I love this and have been meaning to do this with my son for some time now. Would you mind if I posted a link to your blog from my blog on a post of how your project worked for us? Thanks for the great post.

  15. Line says:

    Hi Ashley,
    Can you believe that this guitar tutorial was mentioned on French TV this morning? in th DIY section of a show for young parents.
    You’re now famous in France too! Congrats!

  16. Anonymous says:


  17. anonomus says:

    Wow great idea , I can’t wait to do this for my school project : ) love it : )

  18. anonymous says:

    This really helped with my project

  19. Anonymous says:

    I think i will use this as a project for school it looks really good
    thanks for the idea

  20. r.l says:

    it looks really cool and looks like the kids are having loads of fun

  21. Anonymous says:

    Thank you…..we followed step by step…..our daughter was very happy….

  22. keketso khumalo says:

    wow realy you made this you are so clever

    1. Anonymous says:

      I know!!!

  23. deanna Taylor says:

    I was looking for ideas for instruments to make for cub scouts. Thanks. Love your website.

  24. Sgriggstn says:

    Great idea. FYI, the pencil on the guitar body is the bridge. The one on the neck is the nut.

  25. Anne says:

    Love these super cool guitars. I can’t wait to make them. I just shared your post in an upcycled musical instruments round-up over at Left Brain Craft Brain.

  26. Camille says:

    Superbе poste, une fois de plus

  27. beyza says:

    gerçekten işime çok yaradı müthiş bişey

  28. alina says:

    vavvvvv wonderfulll <3 <3

  29. Question says:

    wow! so cool! do they make a lot of noise or are they pretty quiet?

  30. Anonymous says:

    Do the strings have different pitches/sound? And does it sound like a real guitar? Because I might make one for a school project!

  31. School Project says:

    I want to use this as my project for my physics class, but I’m not sure if the rubber bands will be loud enough. Are they very loud? And if they aren’t, any suggestions what to use that would be louder? Thanks.

  32. Anonymous says:

    That is a fantastic Amazing Butiful idea

  33. Anonymous says:


  34. Ashton Bragg says:

    Nice idea

  35. Joy Dauble says:

    Great project! We had a bunch of moving boxes left over from a move a few months ago. I made two guitars: one for my niece which I blinged out with glitter, shiny ribbon and stickers, and another for my nephew which I left pretty simple. I didn’t particularly like the way the edges looked on either. I think the blade of my knife wasn’t very sharp anymore, so it was hard to cut with accuracy. Since the edges were rough looking, I hot glued blue yarn all around the outside edges of my nephew’s and purple ribbon around the outside edges of my niece’s. Thanks for the fun way to use some of my cardboard. =)

  36. killerdwarf7 says:

    These are so cool! i wish i would’ve looked this up when i was getting grad photos taken, i would’ve held one of these instead of that dumb diploma they give you lol!

  37. Cassidy says:

    OMG I love this so much, and if you do change the tightness it actually works! I’m in love with this!

  38. Anonymous says:

    This is a genius idea! it’s awesome!

  39. kingkhan says:


  40. nika says:

    what a great idea I well try that for my project if I can but you came up with something great.

  41. shawn says:

    Nicely done!

  42. Anonymous says:

    This really helped me with my Festival Of Learning project “How To Make A Guitar” thanks!

  43. fatema says:

    luv it!
    awesome idea!

  44. Musicguy says:

    Used spray paint for colored cardboard

  45. Zoya says:

    helped me wiv ma music homework

  46. Nakesha says:

    I made it for my son’s school project. Really love it, thanks for sharing this great idea with us

  47. Tayla Ling says:

    Does the guitars actually make sound ?

  48. Kate says:

    Hi i was just wondering, is this able to play different notes?

  49. Jason says:

    Hi ,

    Thank you for the awesome project . I made this little guitar for my toddler`s musical day…he just loved.

  50. Sheri says:

    thx 4 the advice my daughter is going to make this for her project

  51. Kenzie wilkinson says:

    Cant wait to try this

  52. karissa says:

    any advice on threading the guitar strings?

  53. somebody says:

    It only lets me print out the guitar body piece of the pattern

    1. Ashley says:

      Sorry about that……I fixed it! -Ashley

  54. random says:

    this will help with my assignment

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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