How To Build A Cajon Box Drum

If you enjoy the sound of the drum in samba or rumba music, you may want to build a cajon box drum of your own. This article includes simplified instructions and tips on how to build a cajon box drum. The cajon drum is made of wood and has a sound hole on the back and guitar strings on either the front or back of the instrument.

To build a cajon box drum, you will need:

  • Three pieces of 20"x14" 3/4" plywood
  • Compass
  • Jigsaw
  • Drill
  • Wood glue
  • Two 14"x14" plywood pieces
  • Four rubber stoppers
  • Six eyelags
  • Three guitar strings
  • Two 1/2" thick 12"x2" plywood pieces
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • 1/8" thick birch plywood measuring 20"x14" three ply plywood piece


  1. The first thing you will need in beginning to build a cajon box drum is three pieces of 20"x14" 3/4 inch thick plywood. You can use 1/2" thick plywood, however, it is recommended that you use hardwood that is at least 3/4" thick for the sides of the drum. Draw a circle using a compass on one of the plywood pieces to make the sound hole. Then, cut it out using a jigsaw after drilling a hole in the bottom of the circle. Now, glue the three pieces of wood together with wood glue forming the sides and back of your drum.
  2. The next step in your project to build a cajon drum box is to get two 14"x14" pieces of plywood with the same thickness as the three 20"x14" pieces. Now, glue 4 rubber stoppers to one of the two boards. The rubber stoppers will aid in protecting both the drum and your floors from damage. Next, glue the two top and bottom pieces to the sides and back.
  3. The next thing you will need to do to build a cajon box drum is to assemble the tapa braces. Do this by screwing eyelags to two pieces of 1/2" plywood measuring 12"x2" after gluing the two pieces of plywood to the top and bottom front of your drum. Then, securely wrap and tightly pull a guitar string around the eyelags. For each string, use two eyelags. Use as many strings as you want. Generally, three is preferred. 
  4. Lastly, using a hammer and nails, you affix a 1/8" thick birch 20"x14" three ply plywood piece over the opening. This is the tapa.  The tapa is the part of the drum you will be striking. If you choose to, you may opt to finish your drum with beet juice.

Hopefully, this article has helped you learn how to build your drum with ease.  By following these few basic steps you are on your way to creating your very own instrument that you will cherish for years to come.

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