How to Make a Cardboard Ukulele

How to Make a Cardboard Ukulele

How to Make a Cardboard Ukulele


Making your own cardboard ukulele is a fun and easy DIY project that anyone can do! Ukuleles are popular for their bright, happy sound and portable size. Building one out of simple cardboard and household items is not only affordable, but allows you to customize the look. With just a few tools and simple instructions, you’ll be playing your handmade ukulele in no time!

Materials Needed

To make a cardboard ukulele, you will need:

  • Cardboard – Corrugated cardboard works best, such as shipping boxes. Get a large piece for the body and a smaller piece for the neck.

  • Ruler – For measuring and marking measurements on the cardboard.

  • Pencil – To draw the shape and markings on the cardboard.

  • Scissors or X-Acto knife – For cutting out the cardboard pieces. Scissors work but a utility knife will give you more precision.

  • Glue – White glue or hot glue to assemble the pieces. Hot glue sets faster.

  • Rubber bands – To hold pieces in place while glue dries.

  • Fishing line or thread – For the ukulele strings. Get a set of ukulele strings if you can.

  • Tape – Masking tape, duct tape, or packing tape to wrap the exterior.

  • Optional decorating materials – Stickers, markers, paint, paper, glitter, etc to customize the look.

Making the Ukulele Body

The body of the ukulele will be made from a large piece of sturdy cardboard, such as from a shipping box or heavy moving box. Follow these steps:

  • On the cardboard, draw the outline of the ukulele body shape. It will look roughly like an oval or figure 8.

  • Carefully cut out the ukulele body using a knife or scissors. Be sure to cut along the outline you drew.

  • Bend the cardboard into a curved 3D shape for the body. The curved surface will act as the front of the ukulele.

  • Tape or glue a piece of cardboard onto the flat back to enclose the body. This will give it more rigidity and a finished look.

  • Let dry completely before moving on. Reinforce seams with more tape if needed.

Creating the Neck

The ukulele neck will extend out from the body and hold the strings. Follow these steps to make it:

  • Draw and cut out a long, narrow rectangle from cardboard for the neck. About 1-2″ wide and 12-15″ long usually works well.

  • On one short end, draw four small circles spaced apart for where the tuning pegs will go.

  • Cut out the tuning peg holes using scissors or a knife. These will hold the strings in place.

  • Glue or securely tape the neck onto the end of the ukulele body. The non-peg end should line up centered on the body.

  • Let dry completely before attaching strings.

Adding the Strings

Ukulele strings can be purchased as a set online or borrowed from an existing ukulele. Nylon fishing line also works well. Follow these steps:

  • Mark four points on the ukulele body for the strings to attach. Space them evenly apart.

  • Tie one end of each string through the tuning peg holes. Use a secure knot.

  • Pull the strings over the ukulele neck and body taut. Tape them in place on the body marks if needed.

  • To tune, turn the tuning pegs to tighten or loosen strings until they match ukulele tuning notes.

Finishing Touches

To complete your cardboard ukulele, decorate and protect the exterior:

  • Wrap masking, duct, or packing tape around the outside of the ukulele body for a smooth look and to reinforce it.

  • Decorate with paint, markers, stickers, paper, glitter, etc to personalize it! Get creative with colors and designs.

  • Strum your new cardboard ukulele! It may take some adjusting to get in tune and sounding its best.

  • Play it gently at first, as the cardboard may need strengthening on high tension areas. Add more tape as needed.

With some simple tools, supplies, and creativity, you can make your own custom ukulele easily just using cardboard! Personalize it anyway you like and enjoy crafting your own musical instrument.