Introduction: Make a Ukulele Out of Cardboard

Picture of Make a Ukulele Out of Cardboard
This project came about for two main reasons;
  1. I had cardboard left over from my Clone Trooper project, and
  2. I saw the fantastic job eplunkett did of creating a Playable Cardboard Ukulele using just corrugated cardboard.
I had boxboard, which is pretty good quality cardboard. Therefore, I thought, why not attempt to make a playable Ukulele too.

The dimensions for my Ukulele were attained using eplunkett's templates. However, I've added a few extra pieces to achieve what I was aiming for.

Materials required:
  • Approximately six sheets A4 cardboard sheet. I used 1800gsm boxboard
  • PVA glue
  • 8mm dowelling (appropriately 60mm in length)
  • 6mm dowelling (appropriately 40mm in length)
  • 14 toothpicks
  • Four pieces of hardwood (50 x 20 x 6mm)
  • Timber for bushes (each bush is 20 x 12mm)
  • Ukulele strings
When I get the time, I'm going to give it a decent paint finish and then gift it to someone; I'll post a photo upon completion.

Step 1: Step 1

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Cut out your Ukulele pieces from templates provided.

Step 2: Step 2

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Glue the two base pieces (B & C) of Ukulele together using a suitable adhesive. I used PVA.

Step 3: Step 3

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Glue the neck pieces together. Refer to templates for instructions. Pieces marked 'B' get sandwiched between pieces marked 'A'.

Step 4: Step 4

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Cut for yourself nineteen right angle triangle pieces; 50x50mm.

Step 5: Step 5

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Using a piece of old board large enough to accommodate the base of the Ukulele plus the triangle pieces, glue the pieces around the base as shown. I used PVA glue for this.

Step 6: Step 6

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Create the side pieces. If you can do this all out of one piece, great. I was limited to the size of cardboard sheets and made it from three pieces; two @ 300x50mm and one @ 130x50mm (This allows for some cut-off)

Step 7: Step 7

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Apply a bead of glue to base piece and insert side panels. This may take a bit of gentle persuasion.

TIP: before applying glue, ensure that pieces will actually fit. If they are too tight, trim accordingly.

Step 8: Step 8

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Glue the neck to the body. The most important thing here is to ensure that you maintain a true centre-line through the Ukulele, I.e.: you don't want the neck veering off at an angle.

Step 9: Step 9

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Glue support members to sound board of Ukulele

Step 10: Step 10 & 11

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Step 10. Glue sound board to body of Ukulele. I failed to take a separate photo of this step, but I think you can figure it out.

Step 11. Glue in place piece 'D' from template (NOTE: wait for step 10 to dry before this step)

Step 11: Step 12

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Glue in place piece 'G'. Cut 8mm dowelling to same length as piece 'G' and glue in place as shown.

Step 12: Step 13 & 14

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Step 13. Cut fret board to length, but don't glue in place yet.

Step 14. Mark the position of the frets on fret board using a pencil. I used the following website to ascertain this;  FRETCALC

Step 13: Step 15

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Glue frets in place. I found toothpicks to be the perfect material for this.
Accurate fret positioning is important, so ensure to correctly measure and mark based on the information provided by the fretcalc website.

Step 14: Step 16

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Widen the head. Glue in place, using rubber bands to secure

Step 15: Step 17

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Glue fret board in place.

Step 16: Step 18

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Getting the string anchor pieces in place. Refer to template for instructions

Step 17: Step 15

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Fabricate the timber bushes. These will accommodate the timber tuning pegs... OK, so not everything could be made out of cardboard.

Step 18: Step 20

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Create the tuning pegs. Best to use hardwood for this. I used Jarrah; which I cut from some garden stakes.

You may also be interested in this instructable; Make-a-Tuning-Peg-Shaver

Step 19: Step 21

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Threading the string onto the Ukulele.

Step 20: Templates


D_ROBO (author)2011-11-30

I really like this design. Where did you get all of your cardboard though?

parrster (author)D_ROBO2011-11-30

Thx D_ROBO. The cardboard was donated by a friend. However, boxboard can be purchased online or through most stationary stores.

EmilyC59 (author)2016-03-25


So I'm having quite a bit of trouble trying to find boxboard. Is chipboard a good substitute?

NoynonMayta (author)2016-01-28

can playing?

reya919 made it! (author)2016-01-10

Very nice instructable, I've followed it few years ago and I never think to post a picture of mine ! So this is done, instructions are very clear. Nice project !

Pikachette (author)2015-11-28

Hello !

Is this yukulele sound great ?

Benbear (author)2015-10-24

Is this bridge and saddle effective? Mine is kinda flying off. I tried screwing but cardboard won't screw well

parrster (author)Benbear2015-10-24

That is why I extended the strings through to the back of the ukulele and anchored them their, this takes the strain off the saddle.

parrster (author)Benbear2015-10-24

That is why I extended the strings through to the back of the ukulele and anchored them their, this takes the strain off the saddle.

CREATIVERIYA (author)2015-06-23

Blaziken (author)2014-01-22

How many cutouts did u use for the neck?

parrster (author)Blaziken2014-01-28

It all depends on the thickness of the cardboard you are using. refer to template link.

sarahp23 (author)2013-05-12

where can you buy timber bushes? I've been searching online and I don't know where to purchase them. Please reply ASAP because I need to make a ukulele for my Physics project. Thank you!

parrster (author)sarahp232013-05-12

Hi Sarah. Not sure where you'd buy them, I made my own using a drill press and holesaw. Failing that you could try the links below;

honey_bee (author)2012-07-26

Hi, i think its just me (i'm new to this), but where is the template please?
This is AWESOME!!

gempje (author)2012-06-15

oew it's nice would like to try this myself

parrster (author)gempje2012-06-15

Hi gempje. be sure to post your results when completed. all the best

mświączkowska (author)2012-03-10

there's no 'I' element in the templates :c

Aegian2424 (author)2011-12-14

so how does it sound?

altair ibn la ahad (author)2011-12-10


altair ibn la ahad (author)2011-12-10

were is the template

Kiteman (author)2011-12-03

Can we hear it being played?

parrster (author)Kiteman2011-12-03

As soon as I can purchase strings, I'll get something posted. I'll have to find a Ukulelinist (is that the word) as I don't play.

About This Instructable




Bio: Only wish I'd discovered Instructables years ago.
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