How to Make a Mandolin Case

woman holding a suitcase
  • 1-5 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-150
What You'll Need
Styrofoam blocks
Spray adhesive
Permanent marker
Serrated knives
Velour fabric

A mandolin is a unique musical instrument from the lute family which comes in many shapes (mostly in the round or teardrop-shape). It is a valuable and fragile instrument which requires care as well as caution to last a long life. Therefore, a musical case for mandolin is necessary for every owner who wants to travel carrying his instrument. A professional case has its advantages, but making your own Mandolin Case gives you the option of showing your creativity, enthusiasm for music and boasting your individuality as a musician. Making a mandolin case is only a moderately challenging project and using the following tools and equipment, as per the steps mentioned below, you can go about making yours with little difficulty.

Step 1 - Choose and Prepare your Suitcase

To make your own mandolin case, find a suitcase which could serve as a reliable and protective outer shell for your mandolin. See to it that the size of your suitcase is large enough to hold your instrument properly as well as the parts of your mandolin if and when disassembled. Once the suitcase has been selected, strip it from the inside removing any possible pockets, dividers, or straps present.

Step 2 - Use Styrofoam Blocks

spraying foam

Once the suitcase has been stripped down to its bare shell, fill up the case with Styrofoam (light and flexible polystyrene plastic) blocks. Use a handsaw to get the blocks in the specific size and shape you require and completely fill the suitcase with a level edge on its top. Apply spray adhesive to paste the Styrofoam into the case and let it dry. This application would provide protection to your instrument from any possible damage.

Step 3 - Mark the Outlines

Once your Styrofoam sheet is ready, lay down your instrument or the disassembled pieces flat (as far as possible). Then use a permanent marker to mark the outline of the instrument or its pieces on the Styrofoam as accurately as possible so that the case fits the instruments perfectly. Once done, remove the instrument or the disassembled devices.

Step 4 - Carve the Styrofoam

stack of suitcases

Use the outlines you have drawn as a guide to carve the Styrofoam and properly formulate the bottom corners of every cavity to match the edges of the instruments. Serrated knives of varying sizes as well as a handsaw can be used for the purpose of carving and sandpaper can be used to embark curves or other detailed work. Carve the spaces little by little with a light and gentle hand placing the instrument inside every now and then to assure it fits well. If the carved holes do not fit perfectly and seem loose, small pieces of Styrofoam can be inserted which act as bumpers towards the corners. These pieces would need to be glued and given time to dry.

Step 5 - Final Touches

If you desire your case to hold additional accessories of your mandolin carve more cavities after which sweep off any dirt, dust, scraps or leftovers from the case. Lastly, use velour to cover the Styrofoam and paste it with the help of spray adhesive. Press it within all the cavities to assure all possible carved surface area is covered. Once the velour has been applied, trim any wasted or excess fabric found towards the edges of your mandolin case.