Instructables
Picture of Ear bud case from a contact lens case
Ear buds are a wonderful way to connect your ears to your mp3 player but they have an awful tendency to turn themselves into knots that only a mathematician could love. Thankfully my wife's terrible vision has provided me a way to avoid those mathematically intriguing knots. Below is a simple way of turning extra contact lens cases into ear bud cases.

Step 1: Cut the contact lens case

Remove the caps from the lens case, then cut a small slot in each bowl (see the second picture). The amount of material you need to remove will depend on the size and design of the "handle" portion of your ear buds. The last image in the Instructable shows some white buds that needed a longer thinner slot than the black ones. The slot should be big enough to allow the bud to rest entirely in the bowl of the lens case. If it rises above the lip of the bowl, then the caps will not screw on properly.

The easiest way to cut the cases is to heat an exacto knife in flame. If you don't use heat then use a very sharp blade and go slow. The plastic is a little brittle and is prone splitting if you apply too much pressure.

Step 2: Screw, wrap, and tuck

Once you have made the cuts, insert the ear buds and screw on the caps. The caps will hold the ear buds in place while you wrap the wire. Most lens cases come with indentations which make wrapping the wire quite easy. It is important to wrap the wire loosely especially for the first few wraps. Wrapping the wire tightly will place a lot of stress on the wire, particularly where the wire joins the handle of the ear bud. The repeated stress will eventually break the wire inside.

Once it is wrapped you can tuck the plug under the wire to keep the it from unwrapping.
 
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Wehrdo3 years ago
Wasn't this in Popular Science as a 5 minute project? Because I made one after reading about it in there. I use it every day, so if it was your idea, thank you very much! It has kept my earbuds working for three years now.
mowdish (author)  Wehrdo3 years ago
Hi Wehrdo,

It was in Popular Science and it was my idea. My name was written in very tiny letters to the right of the 5 minute project. I'm glad it has been so useful for you. Thanks for mentioning it. This is my first confirmation that anyone noticed the PopSci project.
EPL5 years ago
yea i used to wrap the ear buds around my ipod really tight and the thing that connects the ear buds to the ipod ripped and the wires were exposed.
cturtle5 years ago
This is a great use for all those free cases I keep getting. I used the same method as hot-fresh-rider for my Skullcandy Ink'd ear buds.
KillerPanda5 years ago
good idea, seeing as i have several of these lying around somewhere with no use and i always end up destroying any ear bud or headset i come across. 4.5 stars =)
mowdish (author)  KillerPanda5 years ago
Thanks.
sabbott5 years ago
this is great! I've been trying to think of some way to store these things more effectively, just love it. Thanks for posting.
mowdish (author)  sabbott5 years ago
Thanks, and your welcome.
udinho5 years ago
I think that this is not so good for these phones which have a "handle portion". Depending on where they're stored, it could damage the earphones.
HailDanzig5 years ago
And I just threw a couple of those away! Good idea. :)
this took me only 30 minutes, then 15 minutes fiddling with the photos in paint.net LOL _
KOSS contact lens case.jpg
mowdish (author)  hot-fresh-rider5 years ago
sweet. I didn't figure that style of earplug would fit sideways. It makes your case a little cleaner than mine. In fact, if you tied a little knot in the wire before it leaves the case, then you could save connection from the stress of constantly being rewound.
the stress of being rewound is less than being chucked in my pocket ! the wire sits in a V wedge right next to the cap. If i hadn't cut this notch then screwing the cap down would damage the wire. awesome instructable btw - because I realised "hey wait a minute, instead of just reading this one, I could actually do it now!" like i'm with so many other instructables. recommend Koss plugs btw, esp "the plug" haven't tried the "spark plugs" yet but I imagine they are much the same.
chaitanyak5 years ago
fantastic idea!!
mowdish (author)  chaitanyak5 years ago
Thanks!
Audey5 years ago
AHH; I tried it and then the conditioning solution wrecked my headphones and my headphones destroyed my contacts! DAMN!
mowdish (author)  Audey5 years ago
I'm sorry to hear that. You might be using the wrong conditioning solution. I recommend Earwax Begone brand conditioning solution. Also, unlike contacts you need to let the earbuds dry out after leaving them in the solution overnight.
Patented Audey5 years ago
Hahaa! XD
*snap* we have the same spare contact lens case. Just bought some KOSS KEB 24's and need somewhere nice to keep them.
actually, the indents were intended to reduce plastic needed to make the cases, but unintentionally made a perfet place to wrap an earbud cord.
mowdish (author)  mettaurlover5 years ago
My sources tell me that contact-lens cases, like vegetables or gold, are priced by weight. So the the bigger they are the more the manufacturer makes. But my sources have been wrong before....
yep. this is a method of reducing the actual amount of plastic using while still keeping the weight of the divider.
mowdish (author)  mettaurlover5 years ago
Hmmm, I can't tell if you didn't get my joke or if I'm not getting yours. Anyway, I agree that the overt reason for the indentations was to save plastic. Still, I like to think that subconsciously the designers knew that what they designed was destined to hold my ear buds.
i may be crazy, but i know what i'm doing. which, in fact, is worse than if i didn't know what i was doing. the only thing worse than a crazy kid who doesn't know what he's doing is a crazy kid who knows exactly what he's doing.
ChrysN5 years ago
Very clever, so having terrible vision is not all bad.
mowdish (author)  ChrysN5 years ago
Or at least having a partner with terrible vision is not all bad. Thanks to all for the comments.
goodgnus5 years ago
Not bad, not bad!
PSPerson5 years ago
never thought of doing that.