Introduction: Cuddly Portable Speakers
This Christmas, I made one for a friend out of a soft cuddly bison and he loved the hell out of it. He mentioned that he could use it as a head-cushion that plays music on his long drive to Portland and being a good Sacramentan I immediately thought "Hella. I'll make myself one like that too." That's where this idea was born.
My boyfriend recently had his car broken into and radio stolen, so today I am making him one of these until he gets over his fear of a second radio getting stolen, and a third and fourth and so on. Usually these cost about 2 dollars and some change to make. Today I'll be making one with slightly nicer, 4 dollar speakers so you can hear them quite nicely over car sounds.
Step 1: Materials
Stuffed Animal: I like the Cuddly Cousins ones from the dollar store, because they're easy to dismantle, hide sloppy stitching with their thick fur, cost a buck and come in all kinds of great flavors like "bison", "warthog" and "bear". Actually, anything hollow will do.
Speakers: The speakers I use here are coby portable speakers that were purchased at frys for 4.99 and need no power source. Also at frys they've got Fashionation portable speakers for about a dollar...I haven't tried those but they can't be too bad. The last source I can personally vouch for is the dollar store portable speakers...they're on the quiet side but not bad. Anything that does not need an external power source/batteries will work. What we are looking for is something that leeches directly from your ipod or laptop or what have you.
Sewing Supplies: I used a pocket knife but you should use a seam ripper or something. A needle and thread is pretty much vital.
Dremel Drill and hack saw to extract speakers from too-large containers.
Step 2: Minor Surgery
Once your animal is properly anesthetized, begin with an incision at a convenient and well-hidden seam. The dollar store animals have a nice, easy to see and easy to cut open seam right down the belly. Just cut a few of the threads and tear open a hole large enough to fit your speakers.
Hole not big enough?
Well, we'll address that in the next step.
Step 3: MAKE IT FIT
If you are using smaller speakers or a larger animal, they will probably fit. Honestly, you're probably better off not taking them apart so you should just leave them as they are. The speakers I am using for this particular warthog are gigantic, so they have to be taken apart.
Using a teeny screwdriver (mine is from my handy eyeglass repair kit, which I use for damn near everything but repairing glasses), carefully remove any screws from your speakers that look important. Pull apart, trying not to sever any wires.
In the speakers I am using I ended up using a hacksaw to saw through the shell because a vital piece of wire was encased within. It was not as much of a hassle as it sounds, two swishes of the saw and the wire is free.
You don't have to take ALL the plastic off. I only took off the big round back pieces, sacrificing some of the acoustics for aesthetics.
Step 4: Insert the Prosthesis
Once you've trimmed everything down to size, insert the speakers back-to-back. This improves the sound a bit, sort of recreates the rounded back the speakers originally had.
Make sure the speakers are surrounded with a good bit of internal fluff, so you still have a relatively soft-feeling animal.
What do you do with the wire?
Step 5: Growing a Tail
Carefully snip all the strings holding the tail in place. If your animal has no tail, create a little hole where you think a tail should have been.
Carefully thread the cord through this hole, creating a nice tail for your critter. Make sure your tail stops at the little stopper that separates the single cord into two individual wires for individual speakers. Carefully sew all around the wire so the stopper stays inside the animal if you tug a bit.
Step 6: Suturing
Sew up the patient.
Honestly, I cannot really sew. I sew with the basic in-and-out method I learned from watching my grandmother and old ladies in movies. If you followed my advice and used one of the dollar store animals, you can do this too! And nobody will even know!
Step 7: Finished!
Makes a wonderful gift for someone who likes to nap while listening to music.
Most of these speakers won't drain your battery too badly.