I thought I had blogged about this, but apparently I only made a video.
My friend Paul Marchese, who runs ukuleleforteachers.com, made a video showing how he created his own humidifiers for his Mainland Ukuleles (solid wood ukuleles).
I followed his example, originally ordering plastic coin tubes with twist on caps, made for quarters. I just ordered some plastic test tubes today.
Here’s what you do to make your own humidifier:
- Order water beads. 20,000 were less than $7.
- Order some kind of plastic tube with twist on cap. The quarter coin holders worked well, we’ll see how these test tubes go. Ten test tubes were less than $2.
- You’ll need a power drill. I used a 1/16″ bit. That seemed to work well.
- You’ll need a container to put water in, where you can submerge the humidifiers while they “charge” or absorb water. I suggest using distilled water in your humidifiers. You can buy a gallon of distilled water for less than a dollar.
- Drill a hole in the cap, in the event that you want to tie a string on the humidifier (string: fishing line or old ukulele string)
- On the coin holders, I drilled a series of holes on the bottom (at least eight) and then a series of holes in the sides, puncturing two sides as I drill right through…at least 12 holes. I might go with more on a longer test tube
- Put the water beads in the tube. I filled up the bottom at least 1/4″, sometimes as much as 1/2.” This is probably too many beads, but they are super cheap.
- Put the cap on. If you want to make sure the cap doesn’t come off, use some super glue. I haven’t done this yet. If you are going to run a string through the cap, do that before gluing.
- Place the plastic container in a container with distilled water and let the beads expand. They will only expand as far as they have room to grow.
- Take the plastic tubes out and dry the exterior off. The beads do not leak water, and the surface of the bead is contained in the plastic.
- You can put the plastic tube in a case or gig bag, or you can put them in a ukulele (use the string method if this is your plan)
An Oasis humidifier–the Rolls Royce of humidifiers–is about $20 (sometimes more). It uses gel packs. You have to replace those gel packs after a few years…I might replace them with water beads! This method requires some assembly (actually, you have to fill the Oasis humidifiers the first time. too, if memory serves…and certainly for replacing the crystals).
I have come to the realization that any ukulele with wood on it (laminates usually have solid wood fretboards and bridges–not to mention glued bridges) should be stored in low humidity situations with a humidifier. Leave your Outdoor, Blackbird, Waterman, and Bugsgear ukuleles out in low humidity situations (for us, it is the winter)—but consider helping any ukulele with wood bu keeping it in an enclosed environment with at least one humidifier. This approach is a very inexpensive way to make that happen.
And here is the video I made earlier this year:
- Posted in: Nuts and Bolts (How To)