How To Paint A Ukulele

If you love your Ukulele guitar, I am sure you have been thinking of personalizing it. If you have had it for a long, you may want to give it an upgrade. However, at the same time, you do not want to do anything that may damage your favorite instrument. 

Painting a ukulele is a great decision. A dash of paint can make something you just found a piece of art. It will give it a fresh new look, and you will love displaying it. Here is everything you should know about how to paint a Ukulele. 

Before you paint it

Now that you have decided that you will give your guitar an upgrade, you must prepare the things you need. What do you need to paint a ukulele? 

  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Sandpaper
  • A palette to mix paint in
  • Spray/varnish gloss
  • Gesso for priming wood

To take it apart or not?

Consider whether you can take apart your Ukulele or not. If you decide to paint with the parts apart, you need to plan how to separate the parts without damaging the Ukulele. If you do not have such skills, it is time to learn. 

I found that there are guitar parts you can purchase on Amazon to make things easier if you break something. You can also buy the parts for practice and DIYs. Painting the guitar with the parts on will affect the quality of work, and the outcome might not be desirable.

If you need a reference, take a photograph at each step of dissembling the guitar, so you can trace your way back. YouTube’s videos also make such processes easy to manage. Find one that you can follow through with and use it as a guide. 

Start by getting out of the way the strings and the tuning pegs. Take a disinfectant and wipe off the surface until all the parts are clean. Do not dip the guitar in water. Once you are done wiping it clean, could you leave it to dry? 

Sanding with a sandpaper

Every great painting tutorial should start with sanding the existing paint of the surface. Use sandpaper to scrape off the varnish from the Ukulele’s surface. Using sandpaper can be difficult. Wear some gloves to protect your nails and hands when working with sandpaper. 

I find it useful to start by sanding the surface to make it paint-friendly. The smooth surface on your guitar is made to repel paint and anything that would harm the instrument. Once you sand the surface, you will love the results when you paint. 

Helpful tip: cut the sandpaper into a manageable piece before you start sanding. 

Apply some Gesso

Apply a thin layer of gesso on the guitar. Gesso forms the base you need to paint over the guitar. Gesso is a clear mixture that is applied on canvas or wood before painting. You also have to protect the wood from the painting itself. Gesso will seamlessly do that for you. 

Even though most people do not consider it a useful part of the painting, gesso makes a good base. 

You can now paint!

Now that you have a clean base that you prepared, it is time to paint the Ukulele. Do not use anything else other than acrylic paint. Keep the paint layer thin. If you have never painted before, you may need to practice on another surface first. 

Do not worry a lot about the color. Just lay on your first layer of paint. Ensure that it is even with no parts left out. The paint should be left to dry up before you retouch. I found that the paint would quickly get absorbed by the time I was done painting the other side. 

To ensure you get the paint right, ensure that you do two to three very thin layers. This will prevent the paint from interfering with your Ukulele’s sound. 

To paint the mid-part, you have to strain to put your hands inside. However, it is great to touch up so that anyone seeing inside will match it to the already decorated outside. 

To paint the headstock and the neck may require more care if your strings are still attached. Painting the strings will make them heavier and thus affect the sound of your instrument. Use a thin brush to reach the thin spaces between.

Add details to the paint.

After you have the paint on, you may want to add some personal patterns. You can use other colors to bring contrast and make new patterns. You can also add glitter or any other decorative material that will make the guitar stand out. 

Use the edge of your brush to make patterns using different colored paint. That will enhance the new look and make it more appealing. You may want to cut back on too many details. 


Once you are satisfied with the paint, you can now get into covering the paint with varnish. Think of it as the sealer the instrument needs to keep the paint looking fresh. The varnish also keeps the paint from chipping. 

You can use spray varnish, which is easier to apply. However, keep the windows open as the strong smell of it might choke you. Varnish is also airborne; try to cover anything near your workstation to keep it safe from the varnish. 

Fit back the parts 

After everything is painted and covered in varnish, it is time to reassemble your guitar. The process may be hectic, as mentioned earlier. However, it is nothing you cannot manage with a good tutorial video from YouTube. 

Place back all parts as required. You can test it to know whether there are notable changes. If you followed through the long process, nothing could stop you from finishing up your DIY. 

Final Thoughts

Painting the Ukulele is fun and enjoyable. You will not regret taking a tie to decorate that instrument. People will now stare once you pull it out of the casing. This process is a fun experiment that will guarantee you some fun. Play with colors, make amazing patterns, and you will love the final product. 

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