Introduction: How to Build a Guitar Case

Picture of How to Build a Guitar Case

First off I decided to build this because i was tired of carrying my precious Les Paul around in a stupid gigbag afraid that I would run it into a wall or something and crack the headstock. So I built a heavy duty plywood guitar case that would hopefully protect my guitar in the case of me slamming it against something.

P.S. This is my first instructable!!!

Step 1: Gather Tools and Materials

Picture of Gather Tools and Materials

ok so gather all the tools and supplies you need for your build. This will make your build much faster and hopefully keep you from losing your mind.

Required tools.

circular saw
staple gun
hot glue gun

Optional tools.

fabric scissors
paint brush


mod podge (a type of glue mostly used for collages) i found some at walmart
hot glue
styrofoam (either contractor boards or great stuff)
metal corners

I was able to find most of these supplies at a new home build up the street. Contractors throw away EVERYTHING.

Step 2: Cut All of Your Boards Before Building

Picture of Cut All of Your Boards Before Building

For my les paul guitar i needed

Two 15 inch X 41 1/2 inch boards
Two 3 inch X 40 1/2 inch boards
Two 3 inch X 15 inch boards
Two 1 inch X 40 1/2 inch boards
And Two 1 inch X 15 inch boards

Your measurements may be different depending on your guitar. Try to have no more than a half inch extra on all sides. Be sure to take into acount the thickness of your wood. the thicker your wood the easier to work with and the stronger it will be. The thinner the lighter and easier to carry it will be.

Step 3: Make the Bottom

Picture of Make the Bottom

make a frame out of the two 3 inch X 40 1/2 boards and the two 3 inch X 15 inch boards. See below. Use screws and glue the meeting points so that you can ensure a nice strong fit. Also make sure to drill a pilot hole for each one of the screws or your board may crack.

After you have completed the frame place the 41 and 1/2 inch X 15 inch board on top of the frame and glue and screw the board onto the frame.

You should now have a bottom half of a guitar case.

Step 4: Make the Top

Picture of Make the Top

Once you have completed the bottom you can now start on the top by making another frame out of the Two 1 inch X 40 1/2 inch boards And the Two 1 inch X 15 inch boards. Again glue at the meeting points and screw it together. After that attach the last 15 inch X 41 1/2 inch board to the top of the frame and glue and screw it on to the frame.

You should now have a top and a bottom.

Step 5: Foam Insert

Picture of Foam Insert

Next you will want to make a foam insert. If you are using contracter blue foam read on if you are using great stuff i will tell you how to do it in a second. Cut three strips of blue foam the width and half of the length of the inside of your case. You can use a razor or utility knife, a jigsaw , or a hot wire cutter. My personal recomendation is a fine tooth jigsaw. Now trace the body of your guitar and part of the neck onto the foam and cut it out with a jigsaw.

Now if you use great stuff. I did not use this but i have heard of other people doing it this way. Take two plastic bags and lay one in the bottom of the guitar case. now put your guitar in the other bag spray great stuff onto the bag in the bottom of the case and place your guitar with the bag arond it into the foam making a decent impression of the guitar. I am not responsible for any damage to the guitar.

Step 6: Fabric

Picture of Fabric

First you want to take your foam cutout and run a strip of fabric around the inside of it where the guitar sits and glue it in then take another peice of fabric that is the size of the top of the insert and a little bigger to go over the edges and cut the shape of the guitar out of the middle of it. Now take the top piece of fabric and glue it on to the top and fold the edges like a present and staple the present wrapped corners in place. you should now have a foam mold wrapped in fabric.

Now in the bottom and in the top of the case staple a peice of fabric onto the bottom of each. So that the is very little excess on the sides of the bottom and top of the case.

Step 7: Cardboard Sides

Picture of Cardboard Sides

after you have the majority of the fabric done take some cardboard and cut it to match the width of the walls +1/2 inch on the bottom half of your case. The extra 1/2 inch is for the lid to fit on to the bottom Take some fabric and wrap it around the cardboard so that there is a little excess and glue the excess onto the back of the strips of cardboard. Then slide them into place in the bottom of the case and staple them in. Dont worry about the top we will deal with that later.

Step 8: Test Fit All Hardware

Picture of Test Fit All Hardware

Test fit your hardware. First place your hinges on the back of the case and drill the holes for the screws. Then your latches. Last your handle and any extra things you have. Make sure that when you place your guitar in the case that nothing will be poking through from the screws. If so grind them down with a cutting wheel or file. Secondly when positioning the handle place the guitar in the case and put a small block underneath the case to balance it correctly.

Step 9: Outside of the Case

Picture of Outside of the Case

You should now have a wooden case that looks pretty awful with just the plain wood. You will want to get a paintbrush and mod podge and cover your case in a collage like finish. I used old newspaper and glued it on with mod podge. Remember to have a little extra off the sides so that you can glue it around the inside edges of the top. After the glue dries you will want to coat it in one more coat for durability. Now after everything is dry find the holes where the hardware was and poke them with a utility knife so that the screws can be put back in. Then put all the hardware back on and you have a case.

Step 10:

Picture of

Finished product looks good. Works well but a little bit heavy. Atleast i can through my guitar down the stairs without hurting it.... although it would crack the tile at the bottom and maybe break the concrete ;-)


christian.a.jackson (author)2014-10-01

heres one i made and better still we are giving it away 1st of November to some lucky person.

stsohonis (author)2011-09-28

1/2" ply is too heavy- overkill, actually. 1/4" should suffice, as long as some kind of solidwood runners are used to lock down the joints-- I just finished a sweet pedalboard this way using rabbet joinery between 3/4" alder sticks and 1/4" ply. It worked out really nice and I think, though the joints wouldn't be quite as elegant, it could be done just as sturdily with butt-joint construction and 1/4" runner sticks if you clamp it up right.

All the same, muchas gracias for the tutorial as the interior elements have intimidated me and you really lay it out well here. nice collage finish too!

Wasagi (author)2011-08-30

This is great! I love the look of the case. I've been needing a solid case for my basses, and I've been avoiding dishing out $120 for a lower-end case, but this is irresistible, great job!

guitarfan (author)2010-12-22

is it possible to make one with a 5/8 board because its not that thin and is cheapper than 1/2 inch board

Wasagi (author)guitarfan2011-08-30

It would probably be a bit sturdier.

guitarfan (author)2010-12-23

are guibson les paul the same size as epiphone les paul??

abadfart (author)guitarfan2011-07-31

yes actual the epiphone one is just a replica of the gibson becaus its there economy line like fender and squier

WilhelmFink (author)2011-05-22

That looks great!
I'm not going to steal this idea & use for any case I buy in the future, promise :D

Glockenator (author)2010-11-22

Did you make sure you put a little pad under the neck joint?

Tux_Fan (author)Glockenator2010-11-26

Yes. I did. Its made of blue high density insulation foam.

stormlander (author)2010-09-03

Great project! What is the fabric you used for the lining? Greetings, Max!

Tux_Fan (author)stormlander2010-09-03

I used the fabric from a microfiber couch cover. This was an ultra low budget case. I think I spent less than 20 to make it.

remzparadise (author)2010-07-20

great thing but try using MDF its a kind of paper wood its pretty resistent and also cheap and is not heavy but water screw you must use a waterproof skin on it but even so its cheaper.

Tux_Fan (author)remzparadise2010-07-22

I thought about it but I already had the plywood so it was the cheapest option.

xSphinx (author)2010-05-06

perhaps you could turn this into some kind of guitar case / mini amp beast type thing (since you have an electric and I plan on making one for my acoustic).
I dunno, it could be cool if done right.

aritoner (author)2010-05-03

 this was a nice one i liked it

Tux_Fan (author)2009-06-04

I am thinking about building another one if I get time this summer. This one is a bit heavy for all of the places i take my guitar. Although it is so strong that I have stood on it with my guitar in it. The other things i would implement would be better foam support, a pick holder and a place to put stuff. I get alot of people that ask me about this case.

zourza (author)Tux_Fan2010-02-28

 what year is your les paul?

Tux_Fan (author)zourza2010-03-01

Its a 97 studio. Very nice if I do say so myself.

zourza (author)Tux_Fan2010-03-01

 very nice! i love les pauls. i managed to get my hands on a '54 gold top. definitely one of the nicest guitars i've ever played.

fancypenguin845 (author)2009-06-14

is cool theyr like 100 bucks this saves me alot of money

capt. caveman (author)2009-06-03

I should of found this years ago I broke the headstock to my acoustic while it was in a gig bag. it fell down when I set on the flat side of a wall. I glued back and sounds damn near perfect

Tux_Fan (author)2009-01-04

Thanks you cant tell from the pictures but there is a neck support attached to the piece that holds the body in place. Also i wanted a nice big open space at the top to put books in for music lessons and such. So far it has held up great and a guy i know wants to give some brush on polyurethane just to make the finish a little harder even though it is quite durable as is.

snowpenguin (author)Tux_Fan2009-05-07

If you want somebody to see your comments, press reply a the bottom of their's.

Tux_Fan (author)2009-03-25

My guitar case has faired well from twice weekly trips to band practice and lessons. There are some things i would change if i were to build another one. the outer coating of newspaper has faired VERY well however mod podge becomes like glue again if it gets wet and I was thinking I should put some coating over the mod podge so it not get tacky again. Any ideas.

Tux_Fan (author)2009-02-10

Just an update. USE thin plywood. I used 1/2 inch and it is really really heavy. The case it self weighs around the same weight of the guitar which is a les paul one of the heaviest guitars in the world.

Brock Samson (author)2009-02-08

Wow dude, thanks! I have been looking for an Instructable on how to make one of these for a while. Nice to see that you have taken the time to share one with us. Cheers!

abadfart (author)2009-01-10

nice i have the same problem i also found a pedalbox

Tux_Fan (author)2009-01-05

Please remember to vote and rate. Thanks

Tux_Fan (author)2009-01-05

yea i used 1/2 inch ply wood but even 3/8 or 1/4 would have been fine if i reinforced the corners

Vintiquities (author)2009-01-04

I like it. I think being a little heavy is a good trade off for the protection it provides such a cool guitar. I made a combo music/guitar stand as my first Instructable maybe you could get some use out of that idea, don't know. I love guitar related Instructables. Keep rockin! And Instructing.

Very very good ible. The only thing I could think to add is some type of support for the neck. Constructed in the same manner as the foam supporting the body. Maybe a pocket for strings and such?

About This Instructable




More by Tux_Fan:How to Build a Guitar Case
Add instructable to: