Introduction: Ghetto DIY Pillow Speaker

Picture of Ghetto DIY Pillow Speaker

A $2 DIY replacement of an $8 radio shack toy. Listen to music in bed without uncomfortable headphones! Free mints too!

Needed parts:
Sour Altoid can
Crap headphones
Chunk of soft foam
Old internal computer speaker

Step 1: Ready the Cheesy Earbuds

Picture of Ready the Cheesy Earbuds

1. Grab a pair of cheap 97 cent walmart earbuds (or dollar store ones with free scan radio!)
2. Snip the actual speakers off from the cable. Save them for later use as ninja throwing weapons.
3. Poke a small hole through the side of the altoids tin.
4. Stick the wire in through the hole and tie a knot in it 2 inches from the cut end so it doesnt come out.
UPDATE: 5.Put some duct-tape or electrical tape around the wire that will be going through the hole and around some of the knot so the tin won't cut into it.

Step 2: Foam Chopping

Picture of Foam Chopping

1. Find a one inch thick piece of soft foam. ( I used a chunk of couch foam)
2. Cut a circle that will fit in the tin. Hollow out the middle for the back of the speaker.
3. Cut a smaller peice to go on top of the speaker. Make it very thin.

Step 3: Connect Speaker

Picture of Connect Speaker

1. Find an old speaker from the front of an old computer, Or just use any speaker that will fit nicely.
2. Desolder the red and black wires from it.
3. Solder the headphones wire to the speaker. Both colored wires go to the + side and both copper wires go to the - side.
4. Put the bottom foam in the tin and seat the speaker in it.
5. Pull the extra wire out through the hole so the knot is against it.

Yay! The bottom is done.

Step 4: Make a Grill

Picture of Make a Grill

1. Find a decently strong cutting device (Steak knife).
2. Make three paralell slits along the lid of the tin. I made them along the logo to make them less noticable.
3. Flatten the lid a bit so the bent metal won't poke the speaker or make scratchy noises.

Step 5: Put It Together

Picture of Put It Together

1. Place the smaller foam disk in the middle of the lid so it covers the slits.
2. Put the lid on the tin. Make sure it isn't squishing the speaker too badly. If it is, trim the foam down so its thiner.
3. Give the cable a few small tugs to make sure the knot holds. If it doesn't, take it apart and tie the knot better, or put a glob of hot glue over the inside of the hole.

Step 6: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!

Plug the speaker into an audio source, stick it under your pillow, and enjoy the comfortable fruits of your labor.

Note: My thinkpad is running DSL 1.4 because the HD is shot. Donations gladly accepted. :)


JetJaguar (author)2012-01-04

I did it! First time I've soldered, but I had a gun in a computer tool kit I've had since 1997. I used a large Tiger Balm can, and went ahead and drilled holes in the top.

JetJaguar (author)JetJaguar2012-01-05

Here's the picture

bob_0987 (author)2009-06-07

do you have to use an altoids tin

andrew101 (author)bob_09872009-08-17


Derek Vigil (author)andrew1012011-06-05

I can see probably using a tic-tac box

Power-Inside (author)2011-05-30

How loud would this be if I connected it directly to ipod directly (without amp)..

lu8-dc (author)2010-01-23

i need to use a Old internal computer speaker or i con use something else

j03tv (author)2009-10-29

Another idea would be to use one of those U-shaped theraputic or whatever pillows and put in 4 speakers for surround sound and maybe put a sub under the matress?
Actually, just put all the speakers at the top part of the matress so you can get surround sound in bed while watching latenight movies. Crank it up and you can feel the vibrations :D

j03tv (author)2009-10-29

LOL what if the person sleeping drools a lot? Automatic Shock Alarm? lmao

killerassassin (author)2008-03-29

ok, so the head phones i used had one blue wire and one red wire going to each earbud which ones do i connect to which port?

Either should be fine, all speakers (well all to my knowledge) are not polarised (Meaning you can put the wires either way)

Derin (author)cornflaker2008-06-09

they are not,yes but you need to connect + to + and - to - to get better sound so it will pump water ,OUT

Derin (author)Derin2008-06-09

oops,sound not water

cornflaker (author)Derin2008-06-25


Derin (author)cornflaker2008-06-25

what does lmao mean

NatureBoom21 (author)Derin2009-10-02

laughing my a** off

sehrgut (author)Derin2008-06-22

Nope. As he said, speakers are non-polarized. The only time polarity matters is when you have a polarized _setup_ (such as "poor man's surround sound" -- Google it) which can arise in certain stereo hacks -- since you can end up with sound waves canceling each other out, or if you're using a piezo device rather than a speaker (though creating a piezo driver isn't for the non-electronic hoi polloi). Not a problem with a single speaker, though.

Derin (author)sehrgut2008-06-23

Then why does the speaker have + and - written?

sehrgut (author)Derin2008-06-23

For stereo use. You don't want to have one channel producing a wave 180° phase-shifted from the other channel, as that would result in destructive interference.

Derin (author)sehrgut2008-06-23

oh ok

sehrgut (author)Derin2008-06-23

You do want to make sure you're connecting the proper wires from the cable, though. You ought to connect both the tip and the ring (L and R) to the same side of the speaker, and the sleeve (G) to the opposite side. This will give you the volume of both channels (and is the same thing that happens when you plug a mono plug into a stereo jack anyway).

See Phone Plug Pinout

Derin (author)sehrgut2008-06-24


ya, i managed to get it to work. i'm still working on an amplifier chip for it though

kike13 (author)2009-08-13

hey you know you can stack 2 altoids tin to fit a biger speaker

diy master (author)2009-08-11

this is so cool i made it but my head phone wires had a protective coating to stop me from doing it but in the end i burned it off with a lighter lol thanks for the instrutions.

leenmean (author)2009-04-14

I made one of these and it is perfect for putting in my jacket pocket and listening to music without wearing annoying headphones or earbuds. Thanks for the top notch Instructable.

spn_phoenix_92 (author)2009-03-30

Awesome I'll have to try this sometime

teh_noob (author)2009-03-14

lol nice idea

kdude369 (author)2009-02-15

very good work everyone seems to be making stuff out of altoids packs at the moment lol :)

mitchellcope (author)2009-01-25

Good work budy. Might try build one my self.

justinpow (author)2008-09-30

i've hooked mine up but i get a really hollow sound and some of the sounds cant be heard. eg i can hear the music but no singing.

masterchrisx3 (author)justinpow2008-12-02

because its a single speaker you need 2 spekers on most new cds

frotastic (author)2008-10-20

Drilling small holes works just as well.... thats what i did with a normal altoids tin and it worked out very well

hackman1234 (author)2008-05-23

I am w/atomicrabbit(a bit of a noob). I tried to test my speaker(since it was a fair bit larger than yours)by touching the wires to the sides and blugging it in but nothing happened. Do you have to solder them for the input to properly work?

TheInventor (author)hackman12342008-08-03

It depends. A lot of wires for stuff like that actually have a type of filament that stops it from working unless it is soldered. Try soldering it together man! It only takes 2 seconds!

hackman1234 (author)hackman12342008-05-24

also, it's a 4-ohm, 5-watt speaker.

cdubnbird (author)2008-07-18

i can't get my speakers to hook up to my headphones. i've tried with three different headphones and two different speakers. 1. i-pod headphones with one green wire and i red wire both in the same strand. 2. cheap headphones with one blue wire and one copper wire, and on the other strand one red wire and one copper wire. 3. cheap headphones #2 with one red wire on each strand and 6 smaller grayish shiny (steel?) wires on each strand as well. I have tried every configuration of wires on both portable 2" radio speakers and 1 3/4" singing card speakers. Each time I give it input coming from my i-pod mini. Each speaker plays fine when tested against a battery. And each headphone set plays fine when reconnected with the headphones. I'm frustrated as to why it won't work. Help?

Charles IV (author)2008-05-21

OMG YOU HAVE THE GIANT FISH PILLOW!! My dad bought me that exact same fish pillow from wal-mart!

SnuffyDaPenguin (author)2008-04-06

This is good. I've been looking for how to do this kind of thing for a long time, but I don't have an old speaker from anything, although I have about a billion pairs of those 97 cent earphones from wal-mart. Could I just run them all in series in the tin instead of one big speaker?

jetsmiley123 (author)2008-02-21

where can I get my hands on some cheap foam? I also think your pillow speaker is a great idea. I have everything but the foam. what can I use to improvise?

alleyezonme (author)2008-02-19

Whoever made the Instructable and followed the step, can u tell me if it is a decent level of noise or loud.ty

emericanskater (author)2008-02-07

this is a good idea ill probaly make it for my girlfreind since i hav a old computer out in the garage. really good instructable thanks for posting it

cress (author)2007-12-30

I have just made this and as the first instructable I have ever followed it worked really well. Thankyou very much for showing everybody how to make one of these.

littlechef37 (author)2007-11-17

if you are using rca red and whit plugs to hook up the speaker do you hook positive to the wire wrapped in plastic or the bare wire ? and where do you buy altoids ?

try your newsagent

hack124x768 (author)littlechef372007-11-18

RCA plugs may be a bad idea, as they are only designed to carry line level signal, which isn't very powerful. It may work, but it may harm things if whatever you hook it up to is sensitive. To answer your question, the braided wire around the edge is ground, and the wire inside the second (inner) layer of rubber shielding is signal.

bbb010 (author)2007-02-03

where do u put the red and copper wires

hack124x768 (author)bbb0102007-02-03

red goes to + copper goes to -, I have said that quite a few times now, hope it helps.

Themanmatt13 (author)hack124x7682007-02-07

How do you "desolder" it? Sorry i am new to soldering...

hack124x768 (author)Themanmatt132007-02-08

Hold the soldering iron against the joint you want to de-solder until it turns to liquid (it will get REALLY shiny if it was a dull gray), then pull the two parts apart. Sometimes it takes a while with a low powered soldering iron.

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