How to decorate your ukulele

How to decorate your ukulele

This is a lot of fun and adds a personal touch, I would highly recommend at least some form of decoration even if you don’t feel confident enough to hand paint. My personal tips are under the cut.

Painting: Definitely don’t do this with an expensive uke. It may alter the sound quality (particularly if you use a thick paint) and it could easily go wrong! However this is the most effective way of personalizing your uke.

  • Lightly sand down with sandpaper or similar before painting. Particularly if it has a gloss finish (the cheaper ones usually do) this will make it much easier to paint, however don’t get carried away and make the wood too thin – you’ll probably end up putting a hole in it!
  • The type of paint you should use depends on the finish of your uke: acrylic is probably the easiest medium to use for painting designs and it is the cheapest and easiest to get hold of.
  • Some types of paints are incompatible, and will cause the under-paint to “bubble up”. You might be safer using a lacquer based paint if you want the design to be permanent as your biggest issue is going to be paint chipping (acrylic is more prone to this however too many layers could dampen the sound.)
  • A top coat of glaze or wood gloss to protect from chipping and create a nice finish is a good idea but again – make sure you don’t have too many layers of paint.
  • If your ukulele is expensive/precious then i’d recommend a more minimalist approach eg to keep it classy yet personal.
  • If you’re worried about affecting the sound quality you can paint the fret board only like this although keep the paint thin so it doesn’t get in the way of your fingers/get chipped off. Obviously to do this you’ll have to take the strings off and put them back on again – you might want to take it to a shop and they’ll usually do it for free.

Miscellaneous decorating: Realistically, you can do whatever you want to make your uke your own. In fact the more original you are the better! Be aware that anything over the body of the uke will muffle the sound. If you’re thinking of using material I’d recommend only ‘taping’ round the edges so as not to affect the sound. Here’s a video describing some techniques.

The easiest way to decorate is simply with stickers. You can get a massive variety from all over the place and you don’t need any artistic ability. These are still personal though as you can collect them over time, maybe buying a new sheet of stickers every time you visit a new place with your ukulele. You can create any look you want with he right stickers and it’s probably the cheapest option.

Personally I have three ukuleles: my first ever ukulele (gloss finish almost completely covered in miscellaneous stickers as it was only £15) an even cheaper one which I bought for £5 from a charity shop specifically to paint and hang in my room and finally my tenor: the only embellishment currently = couple of bracelets and festival bands around the top of the neck.

So you want to know how to make a ukulele? Whether you’re feeling crafty on a rainy day, or you’re ready to set aside some serious build time, you can find a DIY ukulele project that’s right for you!

1. Cigar Box Ukulele

How to decorate your ukulele

This tutorial shows how to make an electric tenor ukulele using a cigar box and a few ukulele parts purchased online. Even with these simple components, you can fashion an instrument with a unique look and a great sound. Some of music’s greats, including legends like B.B. King and Carl Perkins, learned to play on cigar box instruments. Channel some of their genius with this cigar box uke.

2. Panjolele

How to decorate your ukulele

This “panjolele” is made using a cake pan, a few ukulele parts, and some other supplies you can get at your local hardware store. The roundness of the cake pan gives it the look of a banjo, but it still has the tuning and feel of a ukulele. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you might even experiment with using a different shaped pan.

3. Cardboard Ukulele

How to decorate your ukulele

If you’ve got a good pile of sturdy cardboard, a few small wooden parts, and a set of ukulele strings, you can put together a cardboard ukulele of your very own. This cardboard instrument is especially easy to paint and very light. Because it’s so easily customizable, this is a great DIY ukulele project whether you want to play the instrument or just hang it in your home as a decoration.

4. Laundry Detergent Bottle Ukulele

How to decorate your ukulele

The creator of this unique recyclable ukulele made it with his small daughter in mind. The resulting design is a durable instrument that little hands can have tons of fun playing with (and dropping). With just an empty detergent bottle and a handful of supplies from the hardware store, you can make a uke of your own.

5. Candy Tin Ukulele

How to decorate your ukulele

This candy tin ukulele looks pretty sweet to us! If you already have an empty candy box around, you’ll just need to pick up a few more supplies, and then follow the tutorial to learn how to make a ukulele yourself.

6. One Piece Ukulele

How to decorate your ukulele

This one piece ukulele is fun, funky, and fast to make! The person who created the tutorial used kids’ toys in place of tuners, which makes this instrument extra special. Can you think of something quirky and fun to include in your ukulele?

7. 3D Printed Ukulele

How to decorate your ukulele

For a more techie-friendly homemade ukulele, check out this 3D printed uke. If you happen to have your own 3D printer, then you’ve already got everything to need to make your own ukulele.

No matter what kind of ukulele you decide to make or buy, the best part is learning to play your favorite songs or even writing songs of your own. Unlock your musical talent by taking ukulele lessons, and share your music with the ones you love. Enjoy your uke!

Have you ever made a ukulele or another cool DIY instrument? Tell us all about your project in the comments below!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for convenient, affordable private lessons today!


Well-known member
  • Nov 3, 2021
  • #1
  • Uke as a home or office decoration? Anybody here doing it?

    I’m thinking about replacing a plant on my desk with a uke decoration. Not sure if I want to use one of my spare ukes or if I should just use a uke shaped object (which requires me to buy more stuff). I need some ideas on a decorative stand or other creative ways of displaying the uke on a desk. Ideas?


    UU VIP
    • Nov 3, 2021
  • #2
  • I got one of Pops’ mini masterpieces as a desk decoration. Comes in a simple but nice little display case. They are expensive, though.

    Masterpiece Mini Archives – UkeSA Hawaii


    • Nov 3, 2021
  • #3
  • Uke as a home or office decoration? Anybody here doing it?

    I’m thinking about replacing a plant on my desk with a uke decoration. Not sure if I want to use one of my spare ukes or if I should just use a uke shaped object (which requires me to buy more stuff). I need some ideas on a decorative stand or other creative ways of displaying the uke on a desk. Ideas?


    • How to decorate your ukulele

    How to decorate your ukulele

    How to decorate your ukulele


    Well-known member
    • Nov 3, 2021
  • #4
  • How about one of these for your desk?

    How to decorate your ukulele


    Los Angeles
    • Nov 4, 2021
  • #5
  • In early summer of 2013 I was leafing through a Musicians Friend magazine when I came across an acoustic ukulele for only $60 that was designed like the Fender Telecaster I recently bought. I bought the uke with the idea that I would hang it next to my Tele just to be cute. A couple of weeks later I received a post card from the Los Angeles Music Center announcing the annual Summer Play-Along series, three six hour Saturday sessions, but this time it was for ukulele. I attended a few in previous years for guitar.

    How to decorate your ukulele How to decorate your ukulele

    There are some ways to decorate your home. You can use all materials near you to decorate your home and it means you can save more money rather than when you buy decoration in the store. Creating your own decoration by using material near you will help you to develop your creativity, art sense, passion and some other things. If you have pallet wood and you don’t know what to do with the pallet wood, why you don’t use pallet wood for something useful and can increase aesthetic in your home. You can use pallet wood for the decoration in your home. Here, you will get one of interesting pallet decorate idea projects that you can try. You can make ukulele by using pallet wood and use ukulele to decorate your home. Decoration in your home usually will show your interest and your passion. That is why when you add ukulele in your home, you will be able to show that you love music. Before you make ukulele from pallet wood, you can check information below.

    How to decorate your ukulele

    What is Ukulele?

    You can do pallet decorate idea by making ukulele but you must know first what ukulele is. Ukulele is small and cute instrument and it is related with American pop culture. This instrument is suitable for all of you who like with acoustic music. You can add it to your living room so people will see that you love music. You don’t need to buy ukulele although you can find ukulele in some music stores in easy way. Here, you can save more money when you use pallet wood to make ukulele. You can make your own ukulele that is suitable with your taste. You can check what you need to prepare to make Ukulele.

    Brief Guidance to Make Ukulele

    You must prepare your pallet wood first. You can search design of Ukulele and then draw the Ukulele design on the board. You better check some problems on the pallet wood before you use it to make Ukulele. You must avoid any flaws in pallet wood surfaces. When you have already finished with drawing process, you need to cut out the board based on the design. You need to give label between front part and back part. The next step is measuring and also marking center of the sound hole of your ukulele.

    How to decorate your ukulele

    When you know where the sound hole, you need to cut out the area. You can continue to make neck of your ukulele. You must prepare so many tools to make this Ukulele and it will need long time to make Ukulele. You must be careful in doing step by step so you will not only make Ukulele for decoration in your room but you can use it as high quality instrument. It is possible to create decoration and music instrument although you only use pallet wood. When you know how to make Ukulele by using pallet wood, it is simple too to create simple guitar or other things by using the same material. You still can find some other pallet decorate idea that you can do in your home and use simple tools.