Music and art are my two favorite hobbies. Music, and great lyrics, are a huge inspiration for a lot of my artwork. I had a lot of fun teaming up with my husband for this box guitar build and combining my love for music and art into one fun project. I modeled this piece after the primitive cigar box guitars. The earliest cigar box guitars were built from empty cigar boxes and one or two strings connected to a broomstick or wood slat. I improved on that rustic design by using a Walnut Hollow Keepsake Box and Basswood Carving Block as the two main components. A handful of somewhat random metal hardware served as both functional and decorative finishings.
Basswood Carving Block (1.875″x5.5″x16″)
Assorted Screws and Washers
Anodized Aluminum Stock
Drain Strainer (2)
1/4″ Threaded Rod
1/4″ Coupling Nut
1/4″ Threaded Insert
Tuning Machines (3)
Guitar Strings (3)
Metal Locking Clasp
Keepsake Box Guitar Assembly Instructions
Step One: Use a table saw to cut a guitar neck from a Basswood Carving Block. Use a jig saw to cut out the curved areas of the guitar neck. Use an orbital sander to shape the curved edge of the guitar neck. Use fine grit sandpaper and steel wool to smooth the neck.
Step Two: Use a hack saw to cut a piece of anodized aluminum stock to fit the length of the front of the guitar neck. Leave a segment of wood metal-free at the top of the guitar neck to form the head-stock. Note: This metal piece helps to strengthen the guitar neck, but also provides a fretting surface to protect the wood from distress from the guitar strings while playing.
Step Three: Drill a hole for the metal locking clasp into the bottom of the guitar neck. Note: This metal clasp will hold the threaded rod and attach the guitar neck to the guitar body.
Step Four: Use a hole saw to drill to holes into the top of the box to hold the metal drain strainers. Note: These pieces make up the sound holes. I decided to make the bottom of the box the top of the guitar for better acoustics.
Step Five: Drill a hole through the top and bottom sides of the box to hold the stiffening rod. Use a hack saw to trim a length of 1/4″ threaded rod to span the length of the box. Screw the threaded rod into the bottom of the neck and attach it to the bottom of the box with a threaded hook and coupling nut. Note: This rod assembly attaches the guitar neck to the guitar body and provides stability and strength to the guitar.
Step Six: Cut a small square piece of wood from the portion of leftover carving block and use wood glue to fasten into the inside top of the box. Screw a metal bracket to the wood block and drill holes through to the top of the box. Note: This assembly will hold the guitar strings.
Keepsake Box Guitar Finishing Instructions
Step One: Remove all hardware from the guitar body. Stain the guitar body and guitar neck. Let Dry.
Step Two: Paint a design onto the front of the guitar body. Apply several coats of varnish to the guitar and let dry overnight.
Step Three: Attach a metal locking clasp to the side of the box to keep the box shut. Note: I held the clasp closed by inserting a metal screw through the clasp. Use the materials you have one hand to make your guitar one-of-a-kind!
Step Four: Drill holes into the head-stock and fasten the tuning machines.
Step Five: String the guitar. Drill in screws to use as string trees if necessary. Insert a metal piece, I used a metal key, under the strings to act as a nut to raise the strings to a proper playing height.
Step Six: Slide a round metal piece, I used a clevis pin, under the strings near the bottom of the guitar to act as the bridge. Note: Both this pin and the metal key used at the top of the neck are held to the guitar by the pressure of the strings. No other attachment method is necessary.
This box guitar is perfect for little hands, and is as fun to play as it is to look at, making this instrument fun for the whole family!
Get the box to make this project NOW from the Walnut Hollow store! Hurry! Offer ends soon.
Dana Tatar I’m currently living in Virginia with my husband and two daughters. I started paper crafting about 9 years ago and have expanded from scrapbooking and now create a little of everything; including cards, tags, ATCs, arches and small gift and home decor items. I frequently find inspiration in music, poetry and pop culture. I’m an active blogger and I like to share my tips and ideas. When I’m not creating art, I enjoy baking, reading, listening to music and spending time outdoors with my family.