Cardboard Craft For Kids – Toy Guitar

This cardboard craft toy guitar makes a fun toy to act out being a rock star and is also a great chance to integrate some STEM / STEAM learning!

Dramatic play can offer a great opportunity for children to express themselves, building both cognitive and social skills as well as promoting creativity. The unscripted nature of playing in this way can inspire their imagination, leading to lots of fun, educational play.

Image of a cardboard toy guitar.

What you’ll need:

  • A shallow cardboard box and some card
  • Some strong rubber bands
  • String
  • Grease-proof paper
  • Duct tape or similar
  • Paper
  • PVA glue
  • Glue Gun
  • Scissors / Craft Knife
  • Paints for decoration
  • A long cardboard tube
  • Ruler and felt pens
Opportunities for learning:

  • Fine motor development
  • Discussing sound waves
  • Learning about amplification
  • Role play

Making the toy guitar

To begin, place your box onto a flat piece of cardboard and draw one half of a guitar shape, making sure it’s roughly the same height as the box. Then, fold a sheet of grease-proof paper in half (it needs to be big enough to cover your guitar shape). Carefully trace the guitar shape onto one half of the grease-proof paper and then fold it over and copy it so that you have a symmetrical shape.

Next, you’ll need to cut out the grease-proof paper guitar body shape. This can now be used as a template. Lay it onto your flat cardboard sheet and draw around it. Cut the shape out and repeat, so that you have two identical shapes – one will be used for the top of the guitar body and the other for the bottom.

Now we have the main pieces of our cardboard craft, we can begin to assemble them so that they start resembling something that looks like a real guitar!

The guitar’s sound is produced by plucking the strings (or rubber bands with this cardboard craft guitar). This makes them vibrate which creates sound waves. These sound waves are amplified by the hollow body of our guitar.

Take something circular to draw around (we used a roll of tape, but anything will do as long as it’s roughly the size of the hole in a guitar body). Draw a circle on one of your guitar-shaped pieces of card and cut it out.

Now sandwich your shallow box between the two guitar-shaped pieces of card and tape them in place. This box will act as the hollow chamber that amplifies the sound of our strings!

Fill in the sides of the guitar body – We used duct tape as it’s nice and strong and very sticky, but you could use strips of paper, sticky tape or even paper mache.

After the sides were filled in, we used paper mache (papier-mâché) to cover the whole thing. This makes it really strong and gives a great base for painting and decorating it later on.

When you need to stick something firmly in place, a glue gun can be great as it gives lots of strength. This is a job for an adult though, as it can get very hot!

The strings of the guitar need lifting away from the body slightly so that we can pluck them easily. To do this, we cut two strips of cardboard and stuck them at the top and bottom of where our ‘strings’ (rubber bands) will go. 

Decorating your toy guitar

We’re now ready to paint the body of the guitar! Be as creative as you like – we used purple paper stuck on with PVA glue instead of paint. Just remember, that if you use poster paint, you will need a layer of glue over the top to seal it afterward.

The next step involves creating the neck and head of the guitar. It needs to be as strong as possible so that it doesn’t bend so we drew around a cardboard tube, then cut a hole and inserted it into the body just enough that it doesn’t wobble (don’t glue or tape it at this stage though).

Take a piece of card and draw your neck and head shape (you could look at some images of guitars for inspiration on the shape of the head). Now, cut it out and tape it to the cardboard tube. Again, we used strong duct tape for this. The neck and head are often different colours, so we made the head black with our tape and the neck brown by sticking on some brown paper.

We can now attach some rubber bands to our craft to look like guitar strings. You’ll need some fairly thick, large rubber bands for this. Carefully stretch them around the body (thicker bands will make different sounds than thinner ones). After this, you can draw some lines with a silver marker to resemble frets (frets are the raised metal strips that go across the neck of a guitar). You can use a glue gun to add six lengths of string from the bottom of the neck, all the way to the top, to match up with the rubber bands. These will resemble the guitar strings.

Finally, we added some felt tip lids to the head, to look like the tuning pegs and trimmed off the loose ends of string.

All that’s left to do now is pick up the guitar and bring out some of your best rockstar moves!

If you enjoyed this activity, why not check out some more craft ideas for kids here