Introduction: The Pineapple Ukulele!

Picture of The Pineapple Ukulele!

So, I had an small, child-size guitar sitting around that I had been using as a baritone ukulele. I decided it would be an interesting project to turn it into a pineapple themed ukulele...

When I first start a project like this I try to avoid the temptation to scour the internet to see what others have done with a similar concept. I'm not very good at resisting temptation, and after a brief search I found several different takes on ukuleles looking like pineapples--there is even a type of ukulele called a "pineapple ukulele," based on its shape, not necessarily its exterior paint job.

(NOTE: use caution scouring the internet using the abbreviated "uke" as a search term...)

What follows is my take on the pineapple ukulele. In the end, this was a bigger undertaking than I originally thought, and it involved a lot of trial and error as far as getting the pineapple design down. But oh well, enjoy!

Step 1: Headstock Becomes the Crown

Picture of Headstock Becomes the Crown

A little produce factoid for ya: the bunch of leaves at the top of the pineapple is called the "crown."

Anyways, since the headstock would only need four tuning pegs, I wanted to use that extra space to make a design that would resemble the crown of a pineapple. I traced the rough design onto the headstock, and on the back I marked the tuning peg strip as well.

Using a dremel, I cut the metal tuning peg strip so that there were four, separate tuning pegs. Then, I used a small handsaw to cut the curves of the leaves into the headstock. After all the cutting, I sanded the entire headstock smooth, using a wood rasp and a series of different grade sandpapers.

Step 2: Sanding It Smooth, Initial Stain, and Honeycombs

Picture of Sanding It Smooth, Initial Stain, and Honeycombs

I used a rough grit sandpaper and a wood rasp to remove all of the old, tacky red finish. I then used a finer grit to smooth the entire instrument.

After putting on an initial coat of light-colored stain, I cut a piece of cardboard in a rough honeycomb shape to resemble the bracts of the pineapple rind. I then lightly traced the outline, working from the bottom of the guitar in a rough grid-like pattern. As I was going for more of a natural look, I wasn't exact with the pattern.

Step 3: The Neck, Fretboard, and Headstock

Picture of The Neck, Fretboard, and Headstock

I wanted the entire neck and headstock to resemble the crown of the pineapple, so with the wood rasp I sanded off the black finish on the fretboard.

After the neck, fretboard, and headstock were sanded smooth, I covered them all with a deep coat of green stain. I didn't up end sticking this dark green...later on I lightened the tone with a little rubbing alcohol and fine grit sandpaper.

Step 4: And Yet Another Coat...

Picture of And Yet Another Coat...

I traced over the honeycomb outlines with a black paint pen. Again, to keep it looking natural I was purposely uneven with my tracing lines.

Next, I took a dark stain and outlined each honeycomb, leaving a section in the middle of each one with the previous light stain. After this stain dried, I once again sanded it down.

Step 5: The Inlays, Tuning Pegs

Picture of The Inlays, Tuning Pegs

Using the same concept as the honeycombs, I cut a three-pronged leaf design out of a piece of cardboard. I traced this outline on the fretboard at the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 12th frets. As the space between frets diminished, I simply cut the leaf outline a little smaller so it would fit.

With a light green paint pen, I filled in the leaf inlays, and painted over the nut and tuning pegs. After removing the First Act sticker inside the guitar beneath the soundhole, I applied a bright yellow stain to all visible parts of the interior.

Step 6: Some Paint, Some Sanding, and Finished!

Picture of Some Paint, Some Sanding, and Finished!

The pictures attached make it seem like the final steps were quick and easy, but they were far from it. I knew I wanted to add more yellow and green to the pineapple "rind." After several attempts (painting, sanding it off, repeat) I settled on using a combination of yellow and several shades of green. With all the layering of stain and paint, and sanding in between, it gave the body a very natural look.

After the paint dried, I sanded it down one last time to finish the design. After several coats of polyethylene, I reattached the tuning pegs, and strung up the ukulele.

The end result was darker, and more green-tinted than I was originally going for... I guess it more closely resembles an unripe pineapple! Regardless, it sounds good and its a lot of fun to play. 

Thanks for reading!

Comments

chelseaMdaniels (author)2015-04-20

Thank you so much for this tutorial! My young daughters and I are building our first ukulele together and we want to paint the back to look like a pineapple. I so appreciate your tips with the honeycomb tracing and staining the edges dark! I'll try to remember to post a picture here when we have finished!

gravityisweak (author)2014-08-26

Funny thing, the pattern you traced out looks EXACTLY like you traced chicken wire! I was sure that's what you did, up until I saw you did it a completely different way. Mind blown.

gravityisweak (author)2014-08-26

Trying to resist the temptation to use "uke" as a search term. I have no idea what will happen because it was just vague enough....

patatarium (author)2014-07-14

There is really creative

roballoba (author)2013-10-14

Sweet!

sabu.dawdy (author)2013-10-13

beautifulll

nerfrocketeer (author)2013-10-13

Nice!

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