Picture of Book Speakers
Create a pair of speakers by recycling six old hardback books and a pair of speakers from a broken cd player. They will be unnoticeable on a bookshelf, cost virtually nothing, and sound pretty good.

Step 1: Tools and Material

Picture of Tools and Material
You will need:
6-8 hard back books, about 1 1/4 inches thick each
2 speakers, 3 inches in diameter

Hot glue gun
2 or more clamps
small board
box cutter
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book speaker looks interesting! Creative work done by a creative thinker.

Um, couldn't the speaker point out the top of the book set instead?

That would simplify a lot of the issues discussed here, as well as the whole construction process.

Somebody would have their head hovering over the books to notice it.
ben_k (author)  Doc Holliday6 years ago
But then the sound does not project outwards, it goes up...

i agree with you. if and when I try these I would put them on my book shelf, which is only about 16 inches high. not enough room for an upward facing speaker to produce clear sound.

This seems like a logical solution and while (yes) the sound would go up rather then out (for the below comment) in that case (if undesirable), why not create a brace behind the speaker held in the middle of the book hollow and mount the back of the speaker to that instead of the front.  Then, the actual cone(s) would be free for full movement (hitting nothing) and there might be a better (or worse) sound as it floats in the center of the book.

Just a thought.  Either way, I have 4 black box speakers I plan to mimic this project with but leave them in the speaker boxes for the original sound.  I think I do agree with that, if the box is built, use that, place some book sides on the left and right and a foe front.  As for the back, do you really need to place anything on it (covering wires or holes)... it's not seen (typically).
sideeffect114 months ago


I am goimg to seem really stupid by asking this question but how do you wire the speakers to work ? I am a beginner with electronics and wiring. I completely understand how to make the books to act like speakers but how to get the actual speaker to work is where I run into some confusion. Can someone please help me ? Much appreciated. :)
You probably have found out by now but for everyone's sake. If the speakers have wires already you need to run those to the back of whatever stereo equipment you're running it to. If you're unable to do that because the speakers don't have wire already, or you need to run the speakers to some kind of jack your best bet is help from someone local as i can't teach you how to strip wire and solder from the internet.
iApple guy3 years ago
If you have a small sub you could put the sub in some books too.
fizban76 years ago
what is this last step for?
ben_k (author)  fizban76 years ago
Painting the inside of the cavity with glue stops the pages from vibrating when the speaker is playing. The hole is to let air pass freely into the chamber.
qwerty987 ben_k4 years ago
could you put the wires through the big hole and save yourself a step
ben_k (author)  qwerty9874 years ago
I suppose you could, but they would probably look better with the wires as I did them.
nolan56834 years ago
i love how the book is called "a blast of trumpets"
hfuller4 years ago
If you had a stereo that had separate speakers could you do this but do the stereo part with the controls and stuff like this too? It wouldnt be excaltly the same you would need to put the spines on a hinge somehow so you could open and close it :D just an idea
SantaB4 years ago
How loud are these? Is the output pretty good or very muffled?
ben_k (author)  SantaB4 years ago
By themselves, they play up to a moderate volume before you get distortion, but the books don't seem to muffle the sound. However, if you want to play them loudly you should definitely pair them with a sub.
I have a pair of good sounding speakers that went through a flood, so i hot glued them together, perfect for this because they wouldn't be seen.
MartRo6 years ago
Great idea! Maybe you could use books with dark covers, so you won't see the holes at all.
Really well executed! I do book projects too. :D Good to see you used the crappy ones that aren't worth anything. That's a few less I'll have to buy from someone at work!
PyroMonger6 years ago
ben_k (author)  PyroMonger6 years ago
I made it way before the contest started, so I can't. Believe me, I've tried. =)
pyroninja96 years ago
i made one of these for my tech class my teacher really liked it
"A blast of trumpets."
ben_k (author)  Yerboogieman6 years ago
Aha! I just realized that that was the title of one of the books! =)
jordanpa6 years ago
The most positive thing I can say about this project is - To get reasonable sound, leave the speakers in their original enclosures and don't mess with them. In other words, don't do this project. If you must do this project, note that the glue used to fix the speakers must be kept away from not only the cone, but also the suspension (the flexible ring around the outside of the cone. You would need to be very careful to get this right, as the suspension is normally right next to the metal frame that you are gluing. Loudspeakers often have lugs that can be screwed. It is best to use these for fixing, thereby keeping glue away from the suspension. I don't really care if you ban me from the site. But please - take my advice first. I have actually designed and built my own quality loudspeaker enclosures and understand the technology.
I can respect what you're saying, but you never know, the compacted paper might be better than the original enclosure. If the original speaker was made of plastic, yes, the paper would be better, since it won't be as resonant. I agree about the way he fixed the speaker in place though, if it were me, I'd have found a way to actually mount it somehow. BTW, the part around the cone is the surround, you probably made a typo. The suspension is the spider(s).
ben_k (author)  jordanpa6 years ago
I don't think you understand the whole point of this project. It is not to make a pair of ultra high quality stereo speakers. It is to make a pair of speakers that is extremely unobtrusive when placed on a bookshelf. I would never rip apart a perfectly good pair of stereo speakers. I got these from a broken cd player. Because of the way the speakers were fixed to the old cd player, there was no way I could screw the speakers on, so I had to use glue. As you can see, the metal part of the speaker is fairly wide, and I had no trouble whatsoever gluing it without getting glue on the cone or the suspension.
5/5 from me, Techno. Great ible....I'm going to try this as soon as I get some decent sized hardback books and some old speakers.
MadMonso ben_k6 years ago
If I understood correctly, just be careful not to glue the actual speaker diaphragm. I did like that you included the hole in the back but unless it's in the proper location, I doubt it will do much more that prevent muffling. Then again, with scrap speakers I doubt you'll notice a difference
I know the author already replied but I wanted to get my two cents in. The point of Instructables is to share ideas and learn from eachother as a community. As for this project..I love it because it's original and unique. I don't know about you but I can confidently say I've never before seen speakers made from books....It's a new twist on a long used idea with the books. Learn to appreciate other people's work and stop criticizing. It's not always about perfection. It's the pleasure of doing the project and the satisfaction of the end product! Now go sulk in a corner and abide by the 'be nice' policy.
hahasgirl6 years ago
it would be nice to hide the holes. Perhaps you could use books that come with a paper jacket and after making the holes attach them to the books? The sound would still be able to come through nicely but it would look more attractive.
then it would even better to make bigger holes into the cardboard, because then the paper jacket can act like a second speaker membrane
ben_k (author)  zimmemic256 years ago
I don't think that would sound very good. Try taping a piece of paper over a speaker and you will see. About the holes, unless you are about two feet away, you don't see them, and that is only if you are actually looking for the holes.
deemerch6 years ago
"A Blast of Trumpets"... nice choice for a book speaker thanks for sharing!
qdogg6 years ago
I think you meant safety pin instead of clothespin! I don't think a clothespin would make a hole in many things... this is a good idea.. bookshelf speakers for sure. It looks like that spade bit was left out in the rain for awhile. Another good way to drill in books is w/ a hole saw because it doesn't tear the paper as much.
ben_k (author)  qdogg6 years ago
You're right about the safety pin. I corrected it. The bit I used was only 3/4 of an inch and I'm not sure they make saw bits that size, but if they do, that would be better.
wetnap6 years ago
interesting look, but probably poor engineering for speakers. walls of speakers have to be stiff as possible. i don't really see the books as being a good material to work with.
omnibot6 years ago
I luvz .. will make for my livingrooms 5.1 setup.
lemonie6 years ago
Book-club books? How do they sound? L
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