Impressive Archive of Free DIY Musical Instrument Plans

Craft & Design Music Woodworking Workshop
Impressive Archive of Free DIY Musical Instrument Plans


A few days ago, Shane Speal of Cigar Box Nation wrote to inform us that he had updated the archive for DIY instrument plans on the site and that the plans are all free. For anyone who’s into building cigar box guitars, ukes, dulcimers, and the like, this is an amazing resource.

Besides the plans for these homemade stringed instruments, there are also plans and how-to for drums, washboards, “nail violins,” and PVC tube instruments. The site also contains a discussion area where you can talk to other DIY instrument ethusiasts, a gallery of other people’s builds, and a store where you can buy instrument parts and cigar box amps.


The instructions for the builds are really well documented, with plenty of photos and explanatory captions and call-outs. There’s even a 178-page ebook, A Guide to Advanced Cigar Box Guitar Making, by Joshua Gayou that covers everything from an introduction to all of the tools used in instrument making to the hardware, the woodworking, the electronics, and finishing.

The cigar box guitar and amp hold a special place in our hearts here at Make:. A cigar box guitar graced the cover of Make: Volume 04 and became one of our early iconic projects. We later followed that up in Volume 09 with a cracker box amp based on the venerable 555 timer chip. Over the years, we’ve published a number of DIY instrument projects. If you’re a maker, play music (or want to learn), a homemade instrument, especially something as simple as a cigar box guitar, is a great gateway project. And Cigar Box Nation is a the community of other instrument-makers who are eager to help you.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).