What kid doesn’t love music? Mine is no exception, but she not only loves music, she obsesses over it. She sings songs to herself, asks us to sing songs to her, and only wants to watch TV when a show is coming on so she can listen to the intro song. Her favorite toys include her little piano, tamborine, and play drum. Oh, and her Daddy’s guitar. She begs for the chance to just get to pluck one string. But, of course, along with this comes guitar picks dropped into the guitar, an out-of-tune guitar, and broken strings.
Thus her own Rock Star Cardboard Guitar was created. It’s easy and practically free to make. It doesn’t take batteries, and it’s perfect for little hands. Best of all, it can be created within just a few naptimes. Little ones will be ready for a jam session with Daddy in no time!
I searched online for cardboard guitar crafts, but really didn’t find any realistic enough for my (or my daughter’s) liking. So I meshed several ideas together, added my own, and the result was a cute guitar that my daughter loves.
Uses for the Rock Star Cardboard Guitar:
- Fun Musical Pretend Instrument for little ones not quite big enough for their own guitar
- Cute decorations for a Rock Star/Music themed party
- Decorations for a Music themed kid’s room (I love the idea of several of these made in various colors and displayed around a kid’s room on the walls!)
- Photo props
- Large piece of cardboard. This can be something left over from a purchase, or you may luck up and find one at a warehouse club. You can also ask at a local home improvement store for a large box. At least one side of the cardboard needs to be the plain brown color with no colored printing.
- Craft paint- at least one color for the guitar body, other colors as desired for decoration
- Exacto/craft knife
- 2 pencils- 1 for drawing, 1 for crafting
- 2 large paper clips
- 4 large rubber bands (try to use newer ones- I started out with ones I just found in the bottom of my cabinet, and they broke way too easily. I bought a package of the large sized ones for 88 cents at Walmart)
- 1 scrap piece of cardstock or craft paper
- Drill with large drill bit
- Small handsaw
I am typically gung-ho for my daughter to help me with any craft or project, even if the helping is just playing with paints or fabric scraps. But on this one, I found it easier to work while she was napping- not to mention safer since there is some cutting and drilling (beginner drilling only!!) involved. After all, you never know when your child is going to walk up and spill bubbles on your cardboard or walk across your pattern with a wet shoe. I’m not saying that this did happen, I’m just saying that it could.
The first step is to make a guitar template. I printed off a simple kid’s coloring page from this website: http://www.handipoints.com/coloring-pages/fun-facts/musical-instruments/guitar.html
I then used a copy machine to enlarge the picture. I enlarged it until the guitar body only was on one sheet of paper, and the guitar neck was on another sheet of paper. I then cut the pieces out and traced them onto another white sheet of paper so that I could tweak the template to be simpler and so that I wouldn’t have all the other drawings on there. Use your own creativity for this part. You can print off an acoustic guitar pattern like this one, or make an electric guitar or bass. You can even do a banjo or other stringed instrument.
Begin by assembling the guitar template. So on one piece of paper I now have the guitar body template. On another piece I have the guitar neck template. I then cut them both out and taped them together to make a small full sized guitar. Here is what the guitar template looked like:
Now draw your guitar pattern onto the cardboard. You will need to draw THREE full size guitars with a center hole and TWO guitar bodies without a center hole. To do this, I traced the full size guitar pattern three times. I then traced only the guitar body twice. When I removed the template on the guitar body pieces, I simply filled in a straight line where the neck would have been. See the next picture for an illustration of the pieces that you will have made after you are finished cutting.
Using an exacto knife, cut out the guitar shapes. I personally think this was one of the most difficult steps. I found that it helped to cut around the shape once, and then go back and cut again. Even though the shape is a simple one, it was tricky to get around some of the corners. But don’t worry if you mess up. Not all of the cardboard shapes will be completely visible, and there is opportunity to clean it all up at the end.
You should now have three full size guitar shapes (with the center hole cut out) and two guitar bodies.
Pick out your best looking full size guitar shape to be the front. With whatever craft paint color that you chose, paint the body portion of the guitar. I also used a brown to paint the neck of the guitar, as well, but this is optional. Paint one coat, let dry for 1 hour, and then paint another coat for best coverage.
After the paint has dried, glue the front full guitar that you have painted and another full guitar shape together. Make sure the backs are together. The cardboard that I used had pictures on the back, so I made sure to glue these two pieces together.
Now cut two sections out of your pencil using a small handsaw or other cutting mechanism. Cut each piece 2 3/4 inches. These pieces are for the guitar bridges that will go at the top of the guitar and below the center hole. The top one can be cut down again if 2 3/4 inches is too long, but it is better to begin with it too long than too short. You should now have two pieces of pencil that are each 2 3/4 inches long.
Draw a 2 3/4 inch line one inch below the center hole. Then draw four dots 1/2 inch below this line. The dots should be about 1/2 inch apart.
Use your exacto knife to cut a slit along the 2 3/4 inch line. Don’t cut through the cardboard, just enough to make a small indention in the cardboard.
Next, using your hot glue gun, glue one of the pencil pieces onto the slit, pushing it down just alittle so it is inside the cardboard jus a bit.
Now we get to bring out the drill! If using one intimidates you, you may want to ask someone to give you a hand with this part, but it really is easy. It’s an excellent opportunity to use your husband’s power tools while he is mowing the yard, completely oblivious to what’s going on inside his workshop. Once again, I’m not saying this did happen, I’m just saying that it could happen.
Using a large drill bit, drill a hole into each of the four circles that you have drawn.
Now we are going to do the same type steps for the upper bridge. Draw a line across the top of the guitar neck (where it is a little curvy), stopping just short of the ends. Using the exacto knife, cut a shallow slit through the line. Make 4 dots a half inch above the line, each dot about 1/2 inch apart. Drill through each of these holes.
Hot glue the remaining pencil piece into the slit. Test the pencil piece to make sure it is not too long before you glue it. If it is, cut a little off at a time until it is the correct size to go across the guitar neck. See the pictures below for a finished illustration.
Now it’s time to draw the “frets” onto the guitar neck. Using a sharpie-type marker and a ruler, draw lines across the guitar neck, about a half inch apart.
Take your four rubber bands and cut them in half. Tie one end of each rubber band to the paper clip.
Turn the guitar to the back. Carefully thread the rubber bands through the four holes from the back to the front.
Pull the rubber bands across the guitar front, and thread them one at a time through the corresponding drilled holes below the center guitar hole. Tie them to another paper clip that is in the back of the guitar.
I’ll be honest, this was also another one of the more tricky parts. It would have been easier to use file folder rubber bands, which are gigantic, but they were $5.00 at Walmart, as opposed to these that were 88 cents. I did find that using the plastic end of a small paintbrush helped to push the rubber bands through the hole. Also, don’t hesitate to make your drill holes larger if it helps to push the rubber bands through easier.
Hot glue the paper clips to the back of the cardboard. DON’T let the glue touch the rubber bands, or they will melt.
Then, hot glue the third full size guitar to the back of the this. You now have three thicknesses of cardboard.
Glue the two guitar bodies only to the back of the full-size guitar unit. This make the guitar a little more heavy duty and gives it another dimension similar to a real guitar. You now have five cardboard thicknesses.
Now it’s finishing time. Use the exacto knife to trim away any rough edges or any edges that don’t match up. You can also decorate the guitar any way that you want. I used a little piece of scrap card stock and free-handed a circled tear-drop shape to use as a “pickguard” for a realistic look. You can also decorate it with stickers, bling, or anything else that you can think of!
Here are a few links to other sites with cardboard guitar ideas. I used these ideas to compile together to make mine.