Project: Tangle-Free Headphones


I use my headphones a lot: editing sound at work, on the train, at the gym…the list goes on. So it’s no surprise I got tired of spending half of my commute trying to untangle my headphones (which I swear I always coiled neatly in my bag…).

I looked at “tangle-free” earbuds online. You know what I found? They’re just normal headphones wrapped with thread, in some form or another. Cue the “aha!” moment: I’m a crafter, I have plenty of light-weight yarn at my disposal, and I like having something to do while watching TV or a movie. I found the perfect project.

Wrapping headphones is pretty simple, it’s just a series of knots around the cord. It is pretty time-consuming; it takes several hours depending on your yarn weight and cord length. I think this particular pair took somewhere between 4-6 hours total.

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What you need:

  • Headphones of choice
  • Light weight yarn: sock yarn or fingering weight work beautifully for this project. You don’t need a full skein, or even half a skein. I’ve been using scrap yarn; probably 100 yards or less.
  • Scotch tape
  • Yarn needle for finishing

1.  Tie a simple overhand knot as close to the jack as possible, leaving a tail of about 5-6″. Slide the knot as far down the cord as it will go.
2.  Unwind about 8-10″ of yarn. Place a piece of tape on the ball of yarn, holding the yarn in place so it won’t unwind.
3.  Continue tying overhand knots. After each one, push it tightly against the last knot. I have a habit of pinching the last knot after I tighten it while I am tying the next knot. The bumps from the knots end up lining up in a neat line.
4.  Reaching the split: don’t break the yarn! Pick one earphone and continue making the knots up that side.  My pair has a plastic piece at the split, I chose to skip over it. It can be wrapped, but there’s a sort of finesse I just haven’t nailed down (see: former pair of headphones). If your pair also has a sliding piece to control where the split is, slide it to wear you want it to go, wrap yarn around the two cords together, then carry on up on to the earpiece. When you get to the ear piece, break yarn, leaving a 5-6″ tail.
5.  Now you start the other earphone’s cord. Start it just like before: tie an overhand knot at the split, leaving a tail.  Slide it as far down to the split as it can go.  Continue knotting until you reach the earpiece, break yarn, leave a tail.
Click to embiggen!6. Finishing: grab your yarn needle and thread one of the tails through it. Starting with the closest knot (NOT the loop made around the cord, but the actual knot), push the needle through, and pull the loop tight..  Repeat, weaving the yarn into the knots for about a half inch.  Break yarn as close to the cord as possible to prevent frayed ends.  Repeat for each tail.

Annnnd you’re now done!  The cord might seem a bit stiff at first but it’ll soften with the more you use them.

These would be a perfect gift for just about anybody…including yourself!

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