A few years ago I bought my first electric guitar and didn't have any inclination to buy an $80 case for a $150 guitar. For a while I just used the box that it came in to carry it from place to place. It was hard to hold, and the guitar would shift around very easily inside of it. It was still a nice box though. It opened like a guitar case so I got to thinking. Why not make it into one? So is did, and here it is.
Step 1: Things You Will Need
For this project you will need the following items:
• Your cardboard guitar box
• 1” foam insulation board (2 pieces, the same size as the footprint of your box)
• Fleece or other material for the inside of the case (You will need about 12” more that the footprint of your box around all sides)
• Small Paper clips
• Thumb tacks
• A handle (for this one I used the handle from an old MacBook box)
• Duct tape or other take to reinforce the handle and to hold together the two pieces of foam
• Sharp knife with long blade that is flexible
• Sharp scissors to cut the fleece (or other material)
• Wire cutters to cut paperclips
Step 2: Cut Out the Foam
The First thing that you will need to do is to cut out two pieces of foam about 1/4" smaller than your box, all the way around. Place your guitar on top of one of the pieces and trace around it with pencil or marker. While a marker is easier to see, it might accidental get on your guitar.
Cut out the outline one the foam around the body of the guitar about 1/4" more than the actual size of the guitar just until you get to where the neck bolts onto the body (see picture 1). resume where the head of the guitar would be and stop where the neck starts. Depending on how your guitar is shaped you might need to cut away along the neck part so that it fits properly in the foam (see picture 2). Make sure that the guitar fits in the foam and adjust where needed.
Now place the piece that you just cut out on top of the other one. Trace around the inside where you can see the bottom piece. You will most likely need to cut out the part for the head on the second piece, and again, depending on your guitar you might also need to cut out some from the body as well (see picture 3 and 4).
Tape the two pieces together around the edges and make sure that it is secure and does not move around.
Step 3: Fitting the Fleece
The next step is to fit the fleece (or other material of your choosing) into the foam. Place the material inside the cutout in the foam. Arrange it evenly around all the edges. Place your guitar into the cutout with the fleece. Remove the guitar and rearrange the fleece as needed until it fits properly and is even around all edges.
Use thumb tacks to keep fleece in place (see picture 1 and 2).
Step 4: Pinning the Fleece
The next step is to secure the fleece with the paper clips. See pictures below to see how to bend and cut the paper clips. Insert the cut and bent paper clips into the fleece and foam around the perimeter of the case keeping the fleece tight. Do the same for the inside and the underside.
Step 5: Install the Handle
The next step is installing the handle. Cut out enough space for the handle on the outside and then cut the hols for the inside clips. reinforce around the edges of the handle with tape.
Step 6: Finished Case and Improvements
You now have a finished custom guitar case. As with any project, there are always ways to improve things. You can use plywood instead of the cardboard box and use the same foam form for the inside. This case held us pretty well for about a year and then i had to keep adding tape around the edges to reinforce it from time time.
Share your case and or any improvements that you have done in the comments below.