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How to Make a Custom Guitar Dry Bag

Posted by on January 14, 2012

Guitarists can certainly appreciate the affects that moisture can have on a guitar. The neck and body of most guitars are made of wood. This is a dynamic medium that expands and contracts with changes in moisture affecting both the tone of the instrument and the tuning of the strings. Therefore, getting your favorite guitar wet is never an acceptable option. The best way to protect your guitar on the water is to store it in a dry bag. This post will provide you with everything you need to know to make your own custom guitar dry bag. Get psyched to sew crazy!

Materials:

  • 1 yard of Vinyl-Coated Polyester fabric. (e.g. http://www.seattlefabrics.com/vinyl.html)
  • 1/2 yard of 1inch webbing
  • 1 plastic buckle
  • Heavy duty thread
  • Poster board

Tools:

  • Scissors
  • Clothes Iron
  • Fabric Marker
  • Ruler
  • Sewing Machine (or infinite patience!)

Steps:

1)      Create a pattern of your guitar on a piece of construction paper. Start by tracing it’s outline on the construction paper. Then expand the shape of the guitar by 3-4 inches in every direction and mark this expanded shape with a dark line. Remember to make the opening of the bag extra-long (about 8-10inches beyond the guitar body) to allow for the dry bag to be folded closed.

2)      Trace your pattern onto the waterproof fabric two times. Cut these out to create the two sides of your dry bag.

3)      You will notice that one side of the fabric is rough and the other side is smooth. Place the two pieces of the bag on top of each other such that the smooth sides touch.

4)      Use a clothes iron to seal the edges of the bag (except for the top) one inch in from the sides. Be sure to make a complete seal.

5)      Use the sewing machine to stitch the sealed edges for reinforcement. Stitch close to the edge of the fabric as to not compromise the seal.

6)      Attach the plastic buckles to the dry bag with short pieces of webbing (~4inches). This can be done by hand but it’s faster on the machine.

7)      Leak test the completed bag by filling it to the top with water. Re-seal any leaks that appear.

8)      Pack your guitar and enjoy. For best results, remember to fold the top over at least 3 times before buckling the bag closed.

These steps will get you to the point where you have a water-tight dry bag so that you can take your guitar along with you on your future musical paddling adventures!

-Kayak Dave

3 Responses to How to Make a Custom Guitar Dry Bag

  1. jibranb

    Hey, pretty cool. I am interested in trying this out. How waterproof is it? Have you thoroughly tested it? I’ll be rafting through the Grand Canyon this April and curious if you think that that seal would be sufficient in the event that we flip on huge rapids. Thanks.

    • arrudad

      Hi Jibran:

      These bags are as “waterproof” as most commercially available dry bags so long as you take your time and do a very good job of sealing the edges. I would suggest leaving up to two inches of extra fabric (larger than the object) along all of the edges in order to make a wider seal when you melt the two halves together. I’ve also toyed with the idea of stitching along the edges to further reinforce the seam. Another idea is to cut one half of the bag an inch larger in all dimensions such that the extra fabric could be folded back over to make “double seal.” If you do a good job then these custom bags should serve you well!

      Beware that there isn’t a dry bag out there that is guaranteed to keep your gear completely dry in extreme circumstances such as an extended immersion. If you look into how they rate the “waterproofness” of dry bags you will find that most are really only rated as splash-proof and they will not guarantee that your gear will stay dry should the bag become immersed. Although I’ve had great results (no leaks!) with my immersion testing with these custom bags it was performed on a local pond under controlled conditions that are not anything like going through huge rapids on the Grand Canyon! I’m confident that the bags will perform well to protect from splashes but if you yard sale in the rapids then there’s no guarantee that your gear will be dry when you pick up the pieces…

      Enjoy trip to the Grand Canyon!!

      -Kayak Dave

      • jibranb

        Hey Dave, thanks for the reply. That’s good to hear. I like the idea of adding two extra inches for a wider seal. The double seal would make it bomb proof! I will be very meticulous in sealing and sewing. Also, what weight vinyl fabric are you using in this post? Would you suggest I use the same or something tougher? The site you reference has a few options: 10oz, 14oz, 18oz, 42oz.

        Yeah, even the commercial bags I have still get a little wet inside if submerged for longer than a few seconds. It’s all preventive anyways; the best solution is to not flip!

        -J

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