Introduction: Guitar Rock Garden

About: hello my name is Anjel I'm a teenager and I love customizing things. A lot of my instructables are bound to be add ons rather than a wholly new subject but I hope you find use from them just the same. the bigg…

In this instructable I will be showing my process for creating a diorama style Japanese/ Chinese rock garden on top of a guitar. I don't really expect anyone to follow this exactly and make a guitar rock garden of there own (although that would be very cool:) this is more reference for a project that would be adjacent to this in some way. Also if you enjoy this don't be shy to that voting button, Lets begin!

Step 1: Supplies/ Planning

For this project i had purchased:

  • A yard sale guitar (I made a point of not using something someone could miss)
  • A water pump
  • wooden dowels
  • Shellac wood stain
  • 1x3 wood (used scrap from my school, Thanks LVA!)
  • PVC piping
  • Wooden Dowels
  • Vinyl tubing
  • Sand and rocks ( It was hard to rationalize buying dirt but i couldnt find any river washed type rocks where i live)

There were many various tools used here but hot glue comes to mind as particularly important but it should be clear whats needed thoughout


I wasn't exactly sure where I was gonna go with this project and I plan on making more landscapes when I can afford it, for example this was originally going to be a medieval castle! Once I decided on a Japanese style I began to research rock gardens. One thing in particular I learned was that the rocks are traditionally grouped to represent the mountains. Other than that the only things I knew i wanted to do was make a deer chaser and I wanted the water to travel down the sound hole. After that it was mostly improv.

Step 2: Guitar Prep

The first thing I did with this was google it and make sure it wasnt valuable, it wasnt so I next sanded the paint/ stain off of the face and sides. this was to instead stain those parts with the shellac that will become essential soon. next i sloshed around a water proofing product inside the guitar (just in case). I did not use the whole guitar as the reservoir because it seemed like that was just asking for trouble. Instead i found something to use as a reservoir, for me it was a water bottle (fiji brand) and i cut out a single face so the water would pour into it. something to not is that guitars have many supporting bars throughout them, I sanded and ground them down where it was convenient, its not like this will ever be played again so don't worry about it. Also to imply it had been running for a very long time i cut a ridge in the sound port to give it a tear drop shape. the next is really a no return zone but I used a hole saw the same size as my pvc to cut the holes for the deer chasers support structures.

Step 3: PVC-->Bamboo

This process is something i found here on instructables and im very grateful for because it reduces the cost of the project exponentially. thanks to this instructable by petejc! I will just be writing a brief overview so be sure to check it out. You pretty much have to cut your pvc how you want and than give it a light sanding afterwards use a bernzomatic torch or in my case a butane soldering lighter to burn the nodes where they would go. after this use a rag soaked in the shellac and give the pvc a few coats. One thing I did I don't think he says is to give the pvc a little more variety i ran the torch over it to give it some burnt in streaks both before and after applying the shellac.This stuff doesn't come off easy so gloves are highly reccomended. lastly i cut the pvc in half length wise using a dremel and a cutting wheel, a band saw would probably be better but i didn't have access to one at the time.

Step 4: The Deer Chaser

The deer chaser ended up being a little more finicky than i anticipated so i will give some very important info right away, balancing the see saw aspect is key. I had to trouble shoot this many many times so be prepared. anyways i started with a single piece of the pvc bamboo than used a miter saw to cut one end at a 45 degree angle. i than decided how much i wanted it to teeter and made the pivot point there. the pivot point is simply a hole drilled through the pvc and a dowel going through it on either end. i than put a stopper inside the pvc before the pivot point because the water would leak out past it. By the time everything was put together i realized water was dripping down the pvc and messing up all the sand. I counteracted this by using a piece of pvc(seen in the last picture of this step) also cut at 45 degrees to match the end and this extension caused the dripping to stop occurring. again youll have to experiment with the balancing.

Step 5: Routing Water

After installing the deer chaser into the pegs now connected to the guitar I decided on how the water would run.again precision is important here or your water is liable to overflow within the aqueduct. Originally I wanted to make and Archimede's Screw that the water would climb out of the hole with but i couldn't find a solution to making that actually work so i admitted defeat and bought a table top fountain pump on amazon.I did however twist the tubing around a piece of pvc to be reminiscent of the screw i decided the route of the aqueducts and cut it accordingly. At this part you must remember to cut the two joining pieces at the same degree in order to get the to fit together correctly. I used wooden dowels to support the aqueducts but i'm willing to bet with some clever engineering you could almost make it look as if its floating. the last thing i did was drill a hole in the aqueduct right above the deer chaser so that the water would pour into it. recognizing the water will need to travel i made sure the portion above the deer chaser was lower than its highest point (by only about a 1/4 in). also at each end i dammed it up with some hot glue.

Step 6: Test It!

This is probably the best point to test for any leaks or miscalculations and things like that before rounding off

Step 7: The Foundation

In this spot i simply made a flat surface for the project to screw onto. i wanted to use the shellac on it but the wood was pretty haggard so opted to just paint it black. if you wanted you could just put it on a coffee table or something and call it good, but that wasnt really an option. We are almost done!

Step 8: The Face and Finishing Up!

Here is where you can get pretty free form. I started by putting some the remaining vinyl tubing around the edge to make sure the sand stayed on the guitar. i thought about using EL wire at the time but i was already wayy over my budget of as close to $0 as possible. than i placed the sand all over the face of the guitar. I than placed the rocks according to a more traditional rock garden style. as an extra little gimmick i added LEDs supplied by Microtivity inside the sound port. Lastly I raked the sand, also in a traditional style. I hope you found something useful and if you did, be sure to vote!

Indoor Gardening Contest

Third Prize in the
Indoor Gardening Contest

Wood Contest

Participated in the
Wood Contest