Electric Cereal Box Guitars

  • Introduction
  • Video & Results
  • Materials
  • Procedure
  • Preparation & Notes
  • Download Files


At this station, students will have a chance to apply what they have learned into the design of a musical instrument. The supplies will include cardboard boxes, rubber bands, fasteners, duct tape, pospsicle sticks and clothing pins.

Students can make, among other instruments, a guitar and through building learn how instruments are designed:

  • strings are the vehicle for vibrations that make sounds
  • the box amplifies the vibrations made by the strings
  • pitch/frequency of the vibrations can be modified with tension on the string
  • pitch/frequency of the vibrations are affected by the length of the string that vibrates.


After finishing the guitar, students will be able to plug into an amplifier and have their music broadcasted to the room.

Video & Results

Picture of a guitar made by first grade student next to the Honey Tone mini amplifier.


Kids can play with the pitch of the guitar.


Guitars faster

  • cereal, rectangular tissue & shoe box
  • rubber bands of different sizes (#33 worked well)
    at ($6.99 for 1 lb bag at Staples)
  • fishing string
  • paint stirrers (usually free from Home Depot & paint stores)
  • paper fasteners ($2.99 for 100 at Staples)
  • duct tape with different colors for decorating


  • guitar amplifier - Any amplifier will work. For an inexpensive one to buy, the Honey Tone from Danelectric mini-amplifier can be purchased on Amazon for ~$20
  • instrument pickup - Clips on to acoustic instruments and sends signal to amplifier. The best instrument pickup we've found is the Cherub Guitar pickup purchased on Amazon for about $8. The Cherub pickup came with a cable that plugged directly into the amplifier. We also purchased another pickup (~ $15 by P-007) on This model requires the additional purchase of a guitar cable.
  • guitar cable for connecting pickup to amplifier ($5-$10, Hosa GTR205R

Make a box guitar

  1. Cut a hole in one face of the box. It should be a at least 3-4 inches from the edge of the box where the guitar arm will be attached.
  2. If the carboard is not very stiff, put a popsicle stick across the top end of the box and at the top end of the hole. Attach with duct tape.
  3. At the other end of the hole, attach a wooden clothes pin with duct tape, which will be used as the bottom attachment of the guitar strings (rubber bands and/or fishing line).
  4. Tape the paint stirrer to the top end of the box, above the hole and against the popsicle sticks which provide support. Use duct tape to attach.
  5. Push fasteners through drilled holes in the paint stirrer.
  6. Attach rubber bands of different thicknesses to the clothes pin on one and and attach to the fasteners on the "neck" of the guitar.
  7. The bridge can be made with a short pencil or several popsicle sticks glued or taped together.
  8. Pluck the strings on the guitar. Adjust the bridge and arm to minimize contact between the strings and the box.


  1. Clip the instrument pickup to the box of the guitar, near the hole.
  2. Plug pickup into the guitar cable, and the cable into the HoneyTone amplifier.
  3. Turn on the amplifier and turn up the volume.
  4. Rock on!

Preparation & Notes

The guitar was a huge favorite at our Science Night but it does take some p

Download files