DIY Upcycle Transformation: Guitar Shelf

Recipes and Tutorials

Turn an unused instrument into functional art with a straightforward DIY tutorial from!

In second grade, I was so pumped to learn to play the guitar. I got a tiny one for my birthday and strummed tunelessly for days before it took up residence in the corner of my room. Every so often, I’d revisit my promising friend, hoping that this time everything would click and I’d be able to play a song. No such luck.

However, on one of these hopeful occasions, I was particularly disturbed because my beloved guitar was destroyed! The bridge was torn off and cracked, the strings a curled and tangled mess gathered at the guitar’s head. How did this happen? Who was cruel enough to break my beautiful eighth birthday gift?

Truth be told, I still don’t know what happened to that cheap little acoustic fellow. But I could never get myself to throw it away. Even unplayable, it still seemed to have potential. So for years it sat in my closet.

When I first got on Pinterest, I found a tutorial for turning old guitars into quirky, decorative shelves. I loved the idea, but I couldn’t work up the nerve to actually do it myself because the tutorial required real tools. Like a saw. And an electric screwdriver.


But with this blog as motivation and the knowledge that I’m eighteen years old come on Kylie stop being a baby and use the freaking big-girl tools, I took a deep breath, went out to the workbench in the garage, and did the thing.

I used this tutorial from

The first step is removing the strings. Since that was the broken part of my guitar, I’d already done that, but it’s pretty straightforward.


To take off the guitar’s face, the tutorial suggests a hand-saw, but I feared not having enough control with that route so I just used a very sharp box cutter, and it worked out just fine, but it took a few passes to make sure it broke all the way through the wood. Then I was able to break and pull off the entire face.


From there, the project remained very straightforward: I measured out the shelf lengths I needed (I did only 2 because my guitar was so tiny), and cut them from a length of wood (a leftover piece from another project) with a real, actual saw. And I didn’t break the wood. And I didn’t chop off my fingers. Adulthood, here I come.

At this point, my method varied from the tutorial, because I knew it would be easier, considering the decorating I planned to do on the guitar, to do so before putting the shelves in.

I mod podged the colorful fabric from an old shirt onto the inside, covering the back wall and curved inner sides, but leaving some bare wood in the spaces where I then attached the shelves. Since my guitar has the “Little Lyon” logo at the top, which I wanted to hide, I also glued fabric there.

As the tutorial suggests, I first used wood glue to attach the shelves and allowed it to dry, and then (drumroll) it was time for the power drill.

Honestly, I don’t know what I was afraid of. All I had to do what take some 2 inch screws, hold them to the outside of the guitar where the shelves are, and pull the trigger. Repeat for each side of each shelf. Why didn’t I do this years ago?

Anyway, at this point you should sand down any rough edges and decorate your quirky new set of shelves any way you want.

For some reason, I was really skeptical about this project. It seemed almost…too easy to work. But here you have it, folks.


The Takeaway: This project is a) not as complicated as I thought, b) easily customizable, and c) a cool gift for musicians and music-lovers.


  • Consider how you want to decorate before gluing in the shelves. Depending on your plan, decorating first might be easier.

If you try this or any other adventure, show me on Instagram with #thetakeonadventure. If you’re interested in buying my creation, visit the Contact page and send me a message!

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