Introduction: Cassette Tape MP3 Player

Picture of Cassette Tape MP3 Player

I've been trying for some time to come up with a mod for the cassette tape.  Initially I thought it would be cool if I could stick a voice recorder into one of those tiny cassette tapes that used to be used in message machines (trying to ironic!) but it was way too small. 

Then I hit upon using one as an MP3 player.  Surprisingly, no-one has completed one yet as an 'ible so I decided to go down this path.  The hardest part was trying to find the right MP3 to be able to mod.  I finally found this MP3 Player on Ebay which fits really well into a cassette tape once the insides are removed.

The only changes you'll have to do is a bit of trimming to the cassette tape with a dremmel, a little bit of soldering and some design work and your done.

So in the name of irony, I present to you this Cassette Tape MP3 Player.


Step 1: Things to Gather.

Picture of Things to Gather.


1. Cassette Tape (get a few of these if you can, I found mine at a second hand shop, about the only place you can get them now. Make sure it uses screws to hold the case together.
2. Labels - These are used to add your own images to the cassette tape
3. MP3 player. Can be found on EBay.
4. 4 momentary push buttons. These you will pull apart and use as replacement switches.
5. Thin black plastic. i.e. from a oil container


1. Dremmel
2. Screwdriver
3. Drill
4. Stanley knife
5. Hot glue gun
6. Sharp scissors~

Step 2: Opening the MP3 Player

Picture of Opening the MP3 Player

Initially I was going to put the whole MP3 player into the cassette tape. In the end I decided to remove the insides of the MP3 player and use the cassette tape as the body.


1. Use a small screwdriver to wedge open the MP3 case. It comes apart pretty easily.
2. Remove the circuit board and battery.
3. Keep the case as you will be using bits of this later.


* the MP3 player itself is pretty hardy but be careful when opening up the case - you don't want to stick a hole in it!

Step 3: Modding the Insides of the Cassette Tape

Picture of Modding the Insides of the Cassette Tape

This step involves making some room in the cassette tape. Un-surprisingly there isn't much room inside one of these so you will need to use your dremmel to remove some of the plastic. .


1. Un-screw the Cassette.
2. Remove all of the parts shown below.
3. The MP3 player should sit pretty flush against one end of the tape with the headphone jack pointing out. The battery will be at the other end of the tape.
4. Make sure you keep on trying the MP3 player inside the cassette so you don't remove too much plastic.~

Step 4: Making the Buttons and Drilling Holes.

Picture of Making the Buttons and Drilling Holes.

The buttons that come with the MP3 player are quite delicate and small. I decided to not use these and went for some larger momentary switches.


1. You need to remove the button from the switches. This is done easily by using a pair of pliers to bend off the small metal plate on top of the switch. Do this for the 4 switches.

Making Holes in the Cassette Tape

1. Next make some holes in the cassette tape for the buttons to go through. Use the MP3 cover as a template and mark-out the        buttons
2. Drill the holes.
3. Make sure that the buttons can move easily in the holes.
4. Next line-up the MP3 player in the cassette tape and buttons and mark-out where the headphone jack will be on the cassette. Drill a hole big enough to allow headphones to be pushed in.

Adding the buttons to the Cassette Tape.

1. As the buttons move around a bit I used the cover of the MP3 as a bit of a brace
2. Cut around the holes that the buttons went through on the MP3 cover
3. fit these onto the buttons on the cassette. This will stabilize them and stop them from wobbling around.~

Step 5: Adding Longer Wire to the Battery

Picture of Adding Longer Wire to the Battery

To be able to have the battery on one side of the cassette and the MP3 player on the other, you will need to extend the wires.


1. De-solder the wires from the MP3 and battery.
2. Solder on some longer wires. I used ribbon wire from an old computer I had but anything will work. The wires need to be long enough so the battery is at one end and the MP3 is at the other of the cassette tape.~

Step 6: Covering Up the Tape Holes

Picture of Covering Up the Tape Holes

You will need to cover-up the 2 holesin the cassette that the tape is wound on. This way you won't see the battery or MP3 player through them!


1. Find some thin, black plastic. I used some from an old plastic oil container.
2. Cut some small pieces out, enough to cover the holes.
3. Glue on with some hot glue.~

Step 7: Close Everything Up

Picture of Close Everything Up

Your almost there!


1. Place the MP3 player and battery into the cassette tape.
2. Hot glue the battery into place.
3. Align the MP3 up with the buttons and make sure that all buttons "click" the switches on the MP3 player
4. Here's the tricky bit - you now need to screw back into place the other side of the cassette. This took me some time to make sure that everything was aligned but once it is test the buttons again to make sure that they are making contact.
5. Screw the cassette tape back together.
6. Test - Go and stick some of your favourite music into it and make sure all is ok.

Step 8: Designing Your Cassette Tape

Picture of Designing Your Cassette Tape

Most of the tapes that you will find at second hand stores are either classical music or artists that you have never heard of before. I wanted to have some cool designs on the front of the cassette player so I decided to add my own.


Choosing Your Images

1. Once you have a cassette that you want to use, you need to work out how it’s going to look. I went to Google images and found some pictures that I thought would look good. I have included these in the PDF files below. I picked quite a few images so I had a range to choose from.
2. Next I added these to labels which I printed the images onto. I used the following labels: Avery J8171

Cutting the Image to Size

1. Next create a template from another cassette. This way, when you go to cut-out the image it will fit perfectly onto the cassette.
2. When I came to the 2 centre holes and the viewing window, I traced around the 2 holes and used this as a guide and cut out the area needed.
3. Once you have cut-out the image, stick it onto one of the sides of the tape.~

Step 9: Keep on Designing...

Picture of Keep on Designing...

I tried a few different images on a few different coloured cassette tapes before I decide on which one I was going to use.


1. The final design that I used was some stencil art that i found on the internet.
2. Below are a few of the designs I tested before settling on the stencil design.
3. I re-did the stencil design and turned the images around which I think worked better.
4. I also added some shapes on the image to help determine what button does what~

Step 10: Finished

Picture of Finished

Hopefully you should now have a finished product. Adding music is really easy you just copy and paste into the MP3 player.

There is a blue light which comes on when the MP3 is turned on. It is near the play/pause button and shines through the crack where the cassette tape joins.

The overall design is quite strong and the buttons are really prominent and work well.. If you ever get bored with the images, you can easily remove them and add some new ones.

Happy Modding.


SanDiegoDJStaci (author)2017-02-10

LOVE this :-)

owatson (author)2016-05-09

now you just need to make it work in a tape player

ewill (author)owatson2016-05-09

China got there first. I bought this and it works fine.

Listicath (author)ewill2016-05-11

That's similar to the one I bought my girlfriend many years ago, as our car only had a cassette deck.

It had a metal body, and the tape deck's fast-forward / rewind would skip to the next / previous track. Very clever. It also had a controller with LCD track display, in-line with the headphones.

The battery was weird though, and the only company I could find to replace it sold a slightly larger version that wouldn't quite fit. :-/

LoganB22 (author)2016-05-09

no offense, but you over thought this. I did that 12 years ago with a lithium battery and a MP3 rig and hid it in the normal tape case and left the white rings for giggles.

ajofkandy (author)2016-05-08

Hi, creative idea! Thanks for sharing.

Shane_S (author)2016-05-08

Kip Kay's

Cassette Tape Hack!
pmshah (author)2016-05-08

In case anyone might be interested. AliExpress has quite a choice of casette tape players that output in mp3 format that can be directly saved / recorded on device of your choice.

BrittLiv made it! (author)2014-09-14

Thanks for the nice comment! I finally got around finishing mine.

gmessenger (author)BrittLiv2016-05-08

That looks great. Can you post an instructible on your build?

BrittLiv (author)gmessenger2016-05-08

I already did:

ipadmusic (author)2015-01-30

Wow! I love my old tapes. But do you think I can use standard AA batteries for this?

lonesoulsurfer (author)2015-01-09

Howdy - you can charge the MP3 player through the headphone jack. It comes with a USB adapter.

liberty.comal (author)2015-01-08


Just curious... Im about to try this out, but i didn't notice anything in your instructions for charging the battery. I'm assuming this mod would require a full change out each time rhe battery dies?

Why would you need a second hand shop for a tape? Just press the eject.

nikhilahire90 (author)2014-08-12

hey hi,

nice job. I need battery. What type of Battery it is?

NightLord (author)2013-04-13

To smo prijatelji, ansambel Lojzeta Slaka :)
Are you Slovenian or just have Slovenian ancestors?

Michael_Bell (author)2013-03-06

You should use an 3g ipod shuffle(the one with no buttons), you need one slide switch and a headphone plug, nice and easy :)

Falkenberg (author)2013-02-10

Great work.

martzsam (author)2013-02-05

I love everything about this. You have my vote.

lonesoulsurfer (author)martzsam2013-02-09

Thanks dude

depotdevoid (author)2013-02-09

Great build! I tried to make something like this a few years ago, but the mp3 player I had turned out to be too big . . . this is way better looking than mine would have turned out anyway!

Thanks man. Some of the MP3 players you can get these days are tiny. Really made the job easy.

Bom6at (author)2013-01-20

Well done!

lonesoulsurfer (author)Bom6at2013-01-22

Thanks dude

Georgews (author)2013-01-20

In the future, grab a cassette adapter and do the same mod but connect the adapters magnetic head to the audio out of the mp3 player. or buy this.

jwflammer (author)Georgews2013-01-21

We do not buy........... "WE MAKE!!"

lonesoulsurfer (author)jwflammer2013-01-22

And mod ; )

paewookyung (author)2013-01-22

What a neat project!

BTW, can you tell what headphone you're using on the first picture?

There called "muse" and I got them from Borders Aust before they went kaput.

dokcal (author)2013-01-21

REALLY clever! I'm wondering if I could fit a small OLED-equipped player (like a Sansa Clip) so that the OLED would be visible through the tape window!

Winged Fist (author)2013-01-20

What a great idea! And really nice 'ible! I just hope you digitized Paul Robeson before you started;-)

knakamoto (author)2013-01-20 do you put in the USB port?

lonesoulsurfer (author)knakamoto2013-01-20

Good question!
The headphone jack hole is also used as a USB port. You get a special cord for this with the MP3. It means less holes in the cassette tape which is a good thing.

agis68 (author)2013-01-20

pretty can place it in tape machine of the car and listening your list.....

Tomdf (author)2013-01-17

This is going on my to-build list for sure.

lonesoulsurfer (author)Tomdf2013-01-18

cool - pretty easy mod. Really dig your ornithopters by the way.

ilpug (author)2013-01-16

Oh jeez, I must make one. Good job man!

lonesoulsurfer (author)ilpug2013-01-17

cheers mate

beatmakers (author)2013-01-16

really cool! reminds me of that cassette tape transformer from like 15 years ago, but way cooler.

sweet instructable mang.

Yeah I remember those as a kid. Man they were great, really solid with metal parts - not like the plastic tansformers you get today

Mimikry (author)2013-01-16

Awesome work!
Definitely a winner - got my vote!

lonesoulsurfer (author)Mimikry2013-01-16

cool - thanks

BrittLiv (author)2013-01-16

Ahh great minds think alike, I had the same idea. Still waiting for my card to arrive, though. Great job! It looks really good!

lonesoulsurfer (author)BrittLiv2013-01-16

Cheers - good luck with your mod.

About This Instructable




Bio: I've always liked pulling things apart - it's the putting back together again that I have some issues with.
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