I have this old banjo mandoline and its dot inlays are just white stickers covering the holes. One of the stickers is missing and I actually want to replace all of the stickers by proper dot inlays. However, most companies (e.g. Allparts) sell their inlays by packs of 100 and I only need 4 (2X +/- 5.5mm - 7/32" & 2x +/- 8mm - 5/16”)...

So any tips on materials from which I can make the dot inlays, how-to's or a webstore which sells them individually?

Many thanks!

1 Answer 1


You can make these a number of ways:

  • simplest: buy from any one of the hundreds of shops online that sell them (even though Allparts sells them by the 100, that's still around $10)
  • speak to a local luthier and ask if you can buy some from them
  • cut them from any flat white plastic (or any colour) - a hole punch of the right diameter is useful here
  • paint them - acrylic paint dripped into the hole, allowed to dry, and repeated until the hole is almost full, and then lacquer layered in on top

My recommendation is to go with the bag of 50 or 100 from an online shop. You may well mess up your first one or two, and it's not much money anyway.

  • 1
    Paint is actually easy - as long as you let each layer dry. Otherwise you are left with an uneven dot that just looks bad. As to which plastic - anything can work, even holes punched from credit cards, bits of metal, abalone from seashells etc
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented May 22, 2016 at 21:20
  • 1
    Well, you could find an elephant...
    – Laurence
    Commented May 22, 2016 at 21:24
  • 1
    And then you'd be rightfully arrested and prosecuted, so best not go down the ivory route :-)
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented May 22, 2016 at 21:44
  • 1
    From memory of looking at old instruments, I think these were often mother-of-pearl rather than ivory. Maybe you can find some old "worthless" jewellery in a junk shop and recycle the oysters one more time.
    – user19146
    Commented May 22, 2016 at 23:30
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    I'd recommend using tinted epoxy rather than layers of paint, as the latter never gets really hard. Pick an epoxy that is not designed to be flexible :-) ; you should be able to mix in a little coloring while mixing the two agents. Experiment first before filling the dots in your instrument! Commented May 23, 2016 at 12:33

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