How to Build a Cajon From Scratch




Introduction: How to Build a Cajon From Scratch

About: Hey, have you ever heard of a giraffe who loves to build!?!?!

“Bump! Ba-Da Bump!” You play your homemade cajon with vigor and passion! Before you know it, a crowd has gathered on front lawn, hearing the groovy beats resounding from your house. You open the front door and place the cajon on your front porch. “You can try it for $5 an hour.” you announce. A line starts to form. You stay home rich.


- 1/2" Birch Plywood

- 1/8" Birch Plywood

- Gloss of your choice

- I used 1/2" #10 screws

- Snare Wire (I used 14 inch 42 strand)

In all, you can get all these materials for under $60.

Step 1: Build the Frame

You can cut the wood yourself or get it cut where you buy it. Whatever you choose, try to cut the wood as close to size as possible. Sand the front and back of the wood. Glue the support beans to the sides of the frame. Configure the frame as shown and glue together. Stack heavy objects on top of the frame while gluing to help the walls stay tight and in place. I also added a couple screws for good measure, but its up to you.

Step 2: Prepare the Front and Back

Sand the tapa (front) and the back of the cajon smooth. Then, cut the sound hole out. I used a Dremel, then sanded the circle smooth. If you choose, draw a logo or something cool onto the front of the tapa. I used plain old sharpies and pens to do mine.

Step 3: Install Snare Wire

Cut out the snare support and sand it smooth.

Time to install the snare wire! Cut it perfectly in half so that you have two identical pieces, then screw them onto the support beam. Try to ensure that ends are perfectly aligned. Pre drill holes in the frame where you want to install it. I drilled the holes 8.5" from the top and 2" from the front. Last, drill the support in, tilt it forward so that the ends of the snare protrude from the front by about 1".

Here is the snare wire I used if you are having trouble finding some:

Step 4: Drill the Front and the Back On!

Pre drill the holes in the tapa and the back. Next, I both glued and screwed the front and back on.

Step 5: Final Sanding

Sand like CRAZY! I also sanded the corners round so they don't poke your legs when you sit on it.

Step 6: Gloss Your Cajon

I used four coats of polyurethane gloss for my finish.

Step 7: You're Finished!

Congrats on making your cajon! If you want, you can also add pads to the bottom so that it doesn't scratch your floor.

Hope you guys liked this instructable! If you did, please comment, favorite, and vote!



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    23 Discussions

    Keeping the screws on the front several inches away from the corners will allow the face of the cajon to 'slap' a little more when playing, and for a little cleaner finish try pre-drilling the screw holes with a countersink bit. Nice instructable, thanks for sharing and inspiring!


    Please what is a cajon? Maybe a big box in spanish?


    1 reply

    A cajon is a drum box, a percussion instrument. Caja grande is big box in spanish.


    Can you explain me more about how to set up the snare wire? Should It Be fixed somewhere, somehow? Or It should Simply touch the front panel? Thanks!

    4 replies

    The snare wire should be screwed onto the support beam, which is then screwed into the sides of the cajon. The tips of the wire just need to touch the tapa (front of the cajon).

    I've glanced through this, but didn't see a video. What does it sound like?

    I have made a couple of them and they are a great drumming addition. My second one, I added an extra chamber on the bottom half. It is a sealed chamber with it's own sound hole and the top has a series of smaller holes. The bottom chamber has a deep bass sound.

    The snare wires can be mounted on a separate beam with control lever on the side wall. That way you can adjust the snare effect or cancel out the snare sound.

    I love homemade music. This is going to be my next project.

    1 reply

    7 months ago

    Good job! these little drums are fun to play!

    I wonder what could be done to make it more sturdy for outside/ bonfire play without hurting the sound of it.

    2 replies

    I have to think that a plywood box like this is going to be pretty sturdy on is own, even with just glue and no screws. However, if you really want to overbuild it, you should both glue and screw. This sucker looks pretty solid.


    7 months ago

    Well I knew a cajon had a snare wire inside but never knew it looked like that.

    Thanks for sharing and voted.