Introduction: Altoids Tin Earbud Case!

Picture of Altoids Tin Earbud Case!

I've always had trouble with what to do with my earbuds. I've tried holding them, bunching them up and stuffing them in my pocket (which my friend still does), and recently I've used the over-under method. That works okay, but if you have other stuff in your pocket, like I do on a regular basis, they tend to still get tangled up. So I thought, then looked at the Altoids gum tin sitting in the corner waiting for a project. That was enough for me.
This is a really simple project that only uses a few components and tools, but is very rewarding in the end when you can rest easy knowing that your earbuds will feel no more pain from getting poked by screws and other useless junk in you pocket. Have fun!

Step 1: Parts and Stuff

Picture of Parts and Stuff

As for parts, the only things you'll need are an Altoids gum tin and little "L" brackets. I got mine from OSH. They're about 3/4" long and tall, and about 1/2" wide.
The tools are pretty easily obtainable, too. You'll need a hot glue gun with glue sticks, a vice, a flat head screwdriver, and a wrench. The last few tools can be substituted for similar items. They are all for bending the "L" brackets, so use whatever works.

Step 2: The Brackets

Picture of The Brackets

You will need to bend the "L" brackets enough so that when they are in the tin, the lid won't contact them when it closes. This should be close to 90 degrees.
To bend the brackets, first put one in the vice. Then slide the end of the screw driver under it and lift up. This should keep the entire "arm" straight as you bend it. You may also need a wrench for the last bit. Once the first one is done, duplicate the method for the second bracket.

Step 3: Gluing the Parts Together

Picture of Gluing the Parts Together

Before you glue the brackets into place in the Altoids tin, mark the center line of the tin with a Sharpie and ruler. Now you can put the brackets into place. Get your hot glue gun actually hot so the glue takes a while to cool down. Then put some glue in then tin. Too much will add to the height of the "L" brackets and cause them to hit the lid. Too little will make them break off. Do one bracket at a time and position them so they point outwards. After both are glued in, wait a while, then try it out. Start with the plug on the side where the lid is attached and begin wrapping. Because of the angle of the brackets, the cord actually slides down and positions itself perfectly in line with the other wraps. At the end of the process, put the actual earbuds themselves in the center of the wrappings and close the lid. Horray! You've succeeded at winning the mission! Also, just a little pointer to those of you who like soldering and music. Soldering irons do not like earbud cords.


sdjurrens (author)2013-05-29

I've done this with a "mini" altoids tin without any modification. Just wind up the earbuds, place in tin, close. Neat and tidy!!

jfarmer3 (author)2012-09-30

Why not glue the brackets to the underside of the lid? ... easier to wind and unwind , and it should still close up fine.

knex_mepalm (author)2010-04-25

 Any idea where to get them in Australia, my friend recently came back with a tin but he would not let me purchase it.

johnsca (author)knex_mepalm2011-02-17

Here's a place you can purchase unpainted tins online.

This ships worldwide :D 
Around $8 US for 3 of 'em, gum included!

TSC (author)2010-01-30

what is the put in this?

Atlas22 (author)2009-11-22

Altoids have so many uses, but they dont sell them where i live. I had a Altoid tin sence i was little, so im looking for the best use for it.

sharlston (author)2009-06-13

where did you get altoids gum from?

skierboy22 (author)sharlston2009-10-18


sharlston (author)skierboy222009-10-18

could you send me some

great ible by the way 5*

frank1138 (author)sharlston2009-08-26

I found one at Rite-aid in their candy aisle. It works great!

lilpepsikraker (author)2009-07-16

Wwwow. Putting earbuds on brackets in a metal case. What a great idea. 5*

frank1138 (author)2009-07-14

I found the small altoid tins are too small. After using them for about a month, I am finding it hard to get the earbuds in and out. Now to find an gum tin.

frank1138 (author)2009-06-05

This is a great idea!!!! I couldn't find a gum tin so I used a small Altoids tin (1 inch by 1 1/2 inch and 1/2 tall). I couldn't find angle brackets small enough, so I used 2 "Binding Post with Screws". I used JB Weld to glue the posts down. It holds iPhone earbuds with little room to spare.

thrhymes (author)2008-11-27

great idea! i would glue the brackets to the top lid of the tin. or maybe a plastic-bottle-cap split in two...

AlphaFemale (author)thrhymes2009-03-27

Oh this idea is even better! I am hoping to make it so that I can store my shuffle too.

monkeyman123 (author)2009-03-26

that is so cool

N1CK4ND0 (author)2009-03-10

Good idea. I actually came up with this idea before I even discovered, I built a case for my Ipod Nano. It fit nicely, put some protective coverings in the inside walls, and drilled a hole in the bottom for the headphones to go through. It worked out very nicely, and protected my Ipod from breaking multiple times. Also awards mega geek points.

humptidumpti (author)2008-12-13

This is something I might try. I'm tired of air buds getting destroyed by being stepped on or whatever. A good Christmas break project for my kids.

killerjackalope (author)2008-11-26

At first I saw the title and was thinking this would be rubbish but the addition of a bracket instead of telling people to blindly stuff them in to an altoids tin makes this pretty nice... I personally give up and just learn to enjoy the untangling of headphones, or leave them on me so I just plug them back in to my phone and ears... I'm tempted to mod a retractable USB cable in to a headphone line but that plan's not without its issues.

Yeah. I got one of those retractable cords. It was actually a firewire 400 and I got it at an electronics swap meet. I got home and opened it up and of turned out that the parts inside were too small for the diameter of the standard apple earbuds. Buy now I have an extra FireWire cable! Make sure that your earbud cord will fit inside the little retractable thing before you go out and buy one...

My intentions were to solder a jack and headphones on using the existing cables inside the cord, as long as they were well put together at the ends it'd also be more durable than standard headphones...

Oh, that's a really good idea. I think I'll do that on mine. Thanks!

ya i got some headphones like that, the plastic thing makes it to heavy though

underwhelmed (author)2008-11-27

I had the same "What to do with my earbuds" problem at work. I work in a fiberglass repair shop and was using ziplock bags to keep them clean, but that just looked stupid. I was gonna do this, but didn't like that the box is not really airtight, and rectangular. I used a York Mints tin. It's round, so you can just coil up your earbuds, it's airtight, so no fiberglass dust gets in. I glued some small magnets on the backside of the tin so I can stick it to my toolbox. Works perfect.

Oh, good idea!

joejoerowley (author)2008-11-26

Nice! I really like this! Thanks, Joe

About This Instructable




Bio: A Bay Area native interested in electronics, mechanics, and robotics, and automobiles. Formerly the electronics captain of Team 100 in the FIRST Robotics Competition, I ... More »
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