Stash Busting Instrument Case

20 May

Destash Bash

For my first Destash Bash project I wanted to make a case for the guitalele I acquired as a backpacking guitar. Most of the materials, with the exception of the Ridge Rest that I used for padding, came from my stash and were bought when I got the instrument a few months ago.


I started out with the intention of turning this blog post into a tutorial, but I gave up when I realized that my original scheme wasn’t all that well planned. Although it worked out in the end, I had to do a lot of hand sewing, and there is one part that came out a little bit wonky. You may have more luck getting sewing advice from a brain dead parakeet than trying to copy my method. You could try one of these tutorials instead: Instructables, Ehow.

Things I learned from this project:

1. Guitaleles > Backpacking Guitars. The used Guitalele I found was cheaper, lighter, and more compact than any of the backpacking guitars I looked at.

2. Social media can be a useful tool in helping you find reusable materials. Mara (yes, that Mara) came through for me by digging an old beat up foam sleeping mat out of the trunk of her Falcon after I put a request for one on facebook. She warned me that it might not be in great shape, and it did take a bit of scrubbing to get it clean but it was perfect for my project, and I didn’t have to buy a new one.

3. DO NOT attempt to make a case for an instrument because you think it will be more fun than just buying one online. Yes, the finished product will be a million times cooler than anything you can find on Ebay. But making a guitar case is surprisingly difficult.

4. Foam sleeping pads may be a great and versatile material for construction, (and my parents said I would never learn anything useful from playing Dagorhir in college.) However, trying to ease thick foam around a sewing machine foot is just about impossible. Hence all the hand sewing and cussing.


5. I used clearance dress lining fabric for the inside of the case. I thought the light weight, slippery fabric would be the best choice for the lining. In retrospect I think any woven fabric would have been fine. The lining fabric was full of static, unravelled like crazy, and was an all around pain to work with. It also felt so unpleasant on my skin that I shudder just thinking about wearing it as an actual dress lining.

6. Remember to sew the straps on before you assemble the whole thing. This will make your life 800 times easier.

7. The case isn’t waterproof so I have to wrap the guitalele in a large trash bag to make sure that it stays dry in the rain.

8. I still hate zippers. I wound up sewing the whole thing in by hand, but the moment I finally zippped my guitalele into its own custom case was pretty satisfying.

Materials used:

Outdoor upholstery Fabric (stash)
Lining fabric (stash)
Robe Zipper (stash)
Webbing (stash)
Thread (stash)
Duct Tape (stash)
Ridge Rest (reused!)

Despite all the difficulty I had, I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I do have to be careful about how I set my backpack down when I have the Guitalele strapped onto it, but so far it’s worked really well.


The completed case in action on the Panorama Trail.



10 Responses to “Stash Busting Instrument Case”

  1. twistnpout May 20, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    Well done – I have never seen anything like this before.

  2. Megan May 21, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    I think it looks great. I hardly ever buy anything new if I think I can make it, so I’ve had experiences similar to this, but I think you’r final project looks way better than anything you could have bought so I’d say the experience was worth it.
    And I think there might be ways of water-resisting fabrics, I don’t know how well they work but Amazon sells something to those extents.

    • wanderdrossel May 21, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

      Thanks! I think this project was more of a type 2 fun kind of project. It seems like a lot more fun now that it’s done.

      I thought about using water resistant fabric for the case but I figured in if it ever gets thoroughly soaked (like, from falling into a creek, not that I’ve EVER done that before) I would want the extra waterproof protection of a trash bag anyways.

      • Megan May 22, 2013 at 5:14 am #

        That’s true, I was just thinking for a peace of mind kind of thing, like if it just suddenly started sprinkling out of the blue. I’ve got a saxaphone and I’m pretty protective of it, especially with it getting wet, so I’d be constantly a little worried about it.
        What is a type 2 fun kind of project? I’ve never heard that term before, but I’ve definitely had some projects that seem like they weren’t so bad in hindsight but had be wanting to throw things while I was working on it.

      • wanderdrossel May 22, 2013 at 11:32 am #


        Type 1 fun is when you think something will be fun and it is. Type 2 fun is when you think something will be fun, but it does NOT seem fun while you’re doing it, then when you look back on it you remember it being fun. Type 3 fun is reserved for things that you thought would be fun but weren’t fun, even in retrospect.

      • Megan May 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

        I abhor Type 3 fun. A type of fun that is reserved for bread baking generally.

  3. Holly u May 29, 2013 at 4:03 am #

    Super cute! It’s probably good that you didn’t have a waterproof fabric to use too; it’s also a pain in the neck, and you didn’t need more hassles!


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