Picture of Candy Tin Ukulele
After seeing what Instructables gurus like bumpus, jwilson37, and freeza36 have done with Altoids tin "diddly bo" guitars, I remembered an old rectangular candy tin in my bedroom closet, and thought I'd try to make an instrument out of it. I'm not that interested in the guitar, but a ukulele appeals to me, so that was what I decided to go with.

  • Tin box
  • Poplar trim board
  • Additional wood
  • Bone
  • 18ga copper wire
  • Sheet metal
  • Screws
Those were all on-hand in my shed and basement. In addition, I purchased:
  • A set of six tuning machines ($16)
  • A set of Aquila Nylgut ukulele strings ($6)
  • Woodcarving knife (I used my trusty Leatherman Wave for most of the carving)
  • Wood rasps
  • Surform plane
  • Needle files
  • Dremel with assorted attachments
  • Clamps
  • Vise (I used a Black & Decker Workmate)
  • Jeweler's saw
  • Hacksaw
  • Coping saw
  • Handsaw
  • Keyhole saw
  • Table saw (I really did use every single one of these, but could probably have gotten away with hacksaw, coping saw, and handsaw)
  • Power drill
  • Sandpaper
  • Electric woodburning tool
  • Tin snips
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire cutters
  • Tape measure
  • Caliper
  • Dividers
  • Set square
I looked at several Instructables and some online cigar box guitar plans, all of which I reference at the appropriate points, but if you have any interest at all in building something like this, you need to join the Cigar Box Nation.

Fair warning: This Instructable will not end with a video of me whaling away on my brand-new uke. I did produce a functional, even beautiful-sounding instrument, but I don't yet know how to play it. One of my purposes in creating this build was to give me a teaching instrument so I could learn to play. So far, I'm still working on keeping it in tune and fingering a couple of basic chords.
freeza363 years ago
great job yoyology.
yoyology (author)  freeza363 years ago
Thank you! I'm making a replacement bridge now, and I'll post a separate instructable on it.