Show off your ax with a DIY Guitar Display Frame! It’s a cheap and easy way to make your guitars the focal point of any wall!
When I was a younger version of myself, I played guitar in a rock and roll band. Throughout high school and college, my guitar was rarely far from my side. Music was the most important thing in my life – far more compelling than school, and a hell of a lot easier to master than flirting with girls.
There was a time in college when I thought about pursuing music as a career. I thought about trying to make it as a guitar man in a rock and roll band.
Where would I go?
Can you imagine?
But time passed, and I left the comfortable dreamspace of college and ventured into the Real World. Soon, the obligations of adulthood intruded upon the brittle dreams of my youth and shattered them into faded fragments of memory – forgone but not entirely forgotten.
Though I never plugged into an amplifier and played a wailing guitar solo to a cheering crowd again, I still kept a couple of guitars on hand that I reached out for from time to time, if only to remember those youthful days in dark and smoky places.
When we moved to the States in 2013, I thought it would be a perfect time to pass the torch to Barish. Handan and I went to a music shop, and we bought the boy a small-sized acoustic guitar. I taught him a couple of chords but soon realized that he’d be better served with a teacher who wasn’t also a family member.
I never would have thought he’d get as good as he did as quickly as he did. And he could do at age 9 what I’d never been able to do – play guitar and sing!
Starting him on guitar was one of my first proud-father moments.
I’d only been living with him for a little over a year, and I hadn’t really had the chance to pass on any of my knowledge (well, except for getting him to read books in Vietnam). A biological father has the kid’s whole life to pass on knowledge, and I’ve no doubt much of that is inherited knowledge through genes. Whatever I had to give Barish would have to be taught.
I was in awe that this kid could could play and sing – for me that was the Holy Grail I never found – and I was hopeful for his journey with the instrument and his voice.
But time charts its own course for each of us, and Barish’s path has led him away from the guitar these past couple of years. He spends his time with schoolwork and kung fu and programming robots for the school’s robotics team. When he has free time, he’d rather spend it as most of his peers do: gaming online.
Though I’m sad he didn’t take to the instrument like I did, Handan and I still have hope that Barish will pick up the guitar again, and maybe this time approach it with an older and more mature mindset.
To help realize our dream for him, Handan wanted one of his walls to showcase his two guitars. We gave him an electric guitar several years ago, and I took the big step in handing down my prized acoustic (pictured in my arms above) in the hopes that such a majestic instrument would help hold his interest. Our hope is that having those instruments staring at him from two DIY guitar display frames on the most prominent wall in his room will spur him to reach out, pull one off the wall from time to time and start rediscovering both the instrument and his long-dormant voice.
Guilt can be a great motivator, LOL! 🙂
Let’s have a look at how I made these guitar display frames.
DIY Guitar Display Frame
I first cut two identical pieces of 1/4 inch plywood that were longer and wider than either guitar. Handan and I just eyeballed it and settled on a size that we thought would look good with both guitars. We then centered each guitar on its piece of plywood. The guitars would hang from wall-mounted guitar hangers, and my next step was to mark their locations on the plywood.
I would later be gluing a mounting block to that rectangle, so I masked it off with blue painter’s tape and then handed the two pieces of plywood to Handan for painting. We wanted the backs to be the same color as Barish’s walls, so she painted them with Behr “Bit of Sugar.”
Handan used a small roller to apply paint to the stencil.
Once the stencil had dried, we peeled away the masking tape.
This was where I’d be installing the mounting block for the guitar hanger.
To make the mounting block more secure, I wanted to use screws in addition to the glue, so I drilled 4 pilot holes for the screws.
I cut two pieces of scrap 3/4 inch plywood to serve as mounting blocks. I put glue on one side and then lined the block up with the bare plywood.
Once the glue had set, I carefully flipped the frame backing over and secured the block with 4 screws installed from the back.
With the backings finished, I put them aside to start work on the frames. I used simple 2 x 4 lumber for the frames. They’d give a solid look to the guitar display frames.
Handan wanted to take some pictures of me cutting the wood to size. She got a little more than she bargained for. I hadn’t noticed that the dust collection hose had disconnected from the saw. Sawdust shot out the pipe towards her and then engulfed her in a chocking cloud.
Oops. I wondered why she was running away, lol!
Things went more smoothly once I re-connected the dust collector!
After cutting the lumber to size, I mitered the corners. I know it looks like I’m about to lop off my fingers, but I assure you they were safe! 🙂
Here’s all the cut and mitered lumber. That finger in the picture is not a mistake. I was blocking out another project on the table that I hadn’t published yet. I wasn’t sure which I’d be posting first, so the finger was a precaution to keep the secret!
Building the frame was straightforward – a little glue and some brad nails were all it took.
Except for that one stubborn corner…
Home Depot lumber is rarely perfectly straight, so of course one stupid corner (actually two stupid corners – one on each frame) didn’t align perfectly. Now, I could have forced them into alignment and nailed them, but that would have warped the frame. The better solution was to accept the gap…and then fill it!
I masked off the gap…
And then I mixed up a batch of my homemade stainable wood filler (my favorite wood filler is Bondo, but it is not suitable for a piece that will be stained). I gathered up some sawdust from the collection bag of one of my random orbital sanders and mixed it with shellac until I had a nice paste.
You can see more on the process of making the wood filler in my farmhouse dining table post.
I squished the wood filler into the gap…
..until I had it filled and level.
Before the wood filler dried, I peeled off the blue tape and then let it dry.
I then sanded the corners and the whole frame with 150 grit using a random orbital sander.
After the finish was dry, I turned the frames over and installed the backing boards with brad nails.
Handan and I flipped the DIY guitar display frames back so I could attach the guitar hangers.
Our guitar display frames were done! We carried them upstairs to Barish’s room for installation. I drove three level screws into the wall on which each frame would hang. To keep them from getting bumped or jostled off the wall, we also installed Command Strips to the sides. The best way to stick Command Strips to wood is first to put a strip of heavy-duty duct tape on the wood. Duct tape is strong and sticky enough to stick to any wood, and the Command Strips stick much better to the tape than they do to wood.
I hung the guitar display frames with the help of a torpedo level.
The moment of truth!
And it worked! The guitar stayed in the frame, and the frame stayed on the wall!
We hung the next frame, and Barish’s DIY Guitar Display Frames were installed and ready to start producing some glorious guitar guilt! 😀
If you’re following along with the teen bedroom makeover, here’s how we stand:
Teen Bedroom Makeover Checklist (for The First Room)
Teen bedroom ideas and laying out the game plan DIY alcohol ink switch plates
- Paint the walls
Build 2 IKEA Billy bookcases Build a daybed Hack IKEA Kallax into a TV stand Create an accent wall Buy or DIY plugin sconces Make wooden wall art Build a vertical chess board Build 2 guitar display frames
- Buy a new desk
- Change the fan
- DIY fired alcohol ink art
- Hack IKEA Laptop Stand
- Buy throw pillows
- Add greenery: faux plants, air plants, DIY air plant holders
- Metal filing cabinet makeover
- DIY Craftsman style trim
- World map wall art
- Small closet makeover
- Barish’s first room reveal
Click here to see more teen bedroom makeover posts as we continue to cross items off our checklist!
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