A HOTTER SHOE BOX… not only does it contain hidden, comforting, treasure when it arrives on the doorstep it can offer a wealth of creative opportunity.

Over the years we’ve seen numerous pets making their homes in our shoe boxes, flowers planted in them, and memory boxes and toy trains made from them. So we simply had to find out more when our Call Centre Advisor Tracey spotted Colin Webb on Youtube making a shoeboxulele from one!

Self-taught musical instrument maker Colin Webb was inspired to make his shoeboxulele by his guitar playing son, his passion for upcycling and his wife’s collection of comfortable shoes.

“After helping my son strip down and refinish his electric guitar some years ago, I thought I can make one of these,” explained the retired chemistry teacher from Cumbria. After honing his skills using recycled wood from tables and shelves, the resourceful instrument maker spotted his wife’s collection of Hotter shoe boxes.

“I’d built numerous guitars, mandolins and ukuleles from cigar boxes and biscuit tins by that point and the shoe box looked rigid enough so I spent the weekend in the garage and emerged with a playable uke,” he explained. It takes anything from a week to a couple of months to make most of his full scale, playable instruments and his most memorable moments are always “when I put the strings on and tune it up!”

Colin has made several shoeboxuleles, all from Hotter boxes, and after he posted a video on Youtube has sent instructions to 100 more people planning to make their own. “It’s fairly easy to make, ten-year-olds can manage with a little adult supervision, it’s ideal as a starter ‘make yourself’ instrument – it’s cheap, easy and materials are readily available,” explained Colin.

Colin’s favourite project is the iconic walnut Fender Stratocaster replica he made for his once semi-professional musician son who has since moved to Canada and only gets to play occasionally now as most of his instruments are sitting in his old bedroom awaiting collection!
What Do You Need To Make A Shoeboxukele?

Colin’s kit includes:

  • 1 x Hotter shoe box
  • 1 x set of strings
  • 1 x set of friction tuners
  • PVA glue
  • Scrap wood for the neck, nuts and bridge
  • 1 x scrap plywood for finger board
  • Selection of toothpicks for frets


We’d love to hear if you use your Hotter shoeboxes to inspire your creative side! Tell us more in the comments below or email us at [email protected].

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About the Author

Jenni Summers

A little bit about me… Hi! I am the PR and Social Media Executive here at Hotter, and have worked here for over 17 years. One of the things I love about Hotter is the passion staff have for our shoes; they are always striving to find more ways to help our customers find their perfect pair. When I’m not in the office, I love to cook, craft and shop!

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