A very simple way to decorate earbuds and make them colorful is by using embroidery thread. A lot of people use a crocheting technique to do this. However, I am not very good at crocheting (like some others) and I know there are people who don't have crochet hooks and/or don't want to buy them. To make this instructable, you will use a very simple knot and need no tools other than your fingers and scissors. Once you are finished, you can obviously keep the earbuds for yourself, but I find that they make a nice gift for a friend. Let's get to work!
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
You will need very few materials. They include:
~ Earbuds of your choice -- make sure they are good-enough quality so that they don't break immediately and all your hard work goes to waste.
~ Embroidery floss -- you can find this in any craft store (Jo-Ann's, Michaels, ect.) in tons of colors. In the same section of the store there are also other threads that are more metallic and shiny. Those are a little more difficult to use because the strands like to unravel and are more of a challenge to keep together. They do look really cool, though.There is also tie-dye thread. If you want a lot of different colors but don't really want to have to change skeins of thread all the time, then tie-dye thread is better for you. I used all of these types of threads in this instructable.
~ Clipboard or tape to secure the earbuds to a surface while you are working.
~ Clear nail polish (recommended)
Step 2: The First Knot
Clip or tape one of the earbuds down. Pick what color you want to use first, keeping in mind that you can change colors as often as you like. You can cut off a long piece of thread to start with, but I like to just hold the whole length at once. This is so I don't have to worry about the thread being shorter than I thought or there being too much leftover. Once you have selected the thread, knot it to where you wish to start. The specific type of knot doesn't matter yet. Make sure to tie the knot as close to the earbud as possible. Slide it up there as tight as you can; use your nail if you must. Then cut off the extra thread, leaving a little tail that is very short. You have officially begun!
Step 3: The Second Knot
Make the next knot, using the picture as a guide. For those who have made the friendship bracelets where the thread spirals around the whole bracelet, this is the exact same thing. Make sure to knot it tightly OVER the little tail where you cut the excess thread.
Step 4: Continue!
Keep making that knot over and over again, tying it a little bit in front of the last knot to create a spiral effect. You should notice that as you knot, the thread spirals naturally, but if not, make sure you are aware of where the knots end up when you finish tying them tightly. If and when you decide to change colors, move on to the next step.
Step 5: Changing Colors
When you want to change colors, just cut off the excess thread so you have a little stub left. Then begin again with the new piece of thread, just like how you started before. Here I am using the tie-dye thread. Just keep going and changing threads until you reach the end of the cord. When you get to the part of the earbuds where the two separate earbuds branch into the one cord, just make knots right over the slightly fatter part of the cord
Step 6: Finishing the First Layer of Color
When you've reached the very end of the cord, tie the last knot REALLY tightly. Tie a few more knots on top of that, right up to the very edge of the plug. You may want to reinforce the knot by painting over it with clear nail polish. It will make the threads stiff, but they will not come apart. Now you are done! Unless you want to add another layer of color...
Step 7: Adding Another Layer of Thread
If you want to add some shiny thread on top of the first layer, then start by tying a very tight knot of the new thread to one of the ends of the earbuds. Coating the knot in clear nail polish is recommended. Instead of tying knots, this time you can just loop the thread around the earbuds. Tie a knot every so often, so if one of the end knots comes undone, the whole thread layer won't just fall off. This should take a lot less time then the first layer.
Step 8: Done!
Earbuds complete! Just trim any long threads poking out and you are finished. If you ever get bored with the colors and want to change them, you can take scissors or a seam ripper and carefully cut away the thread. Then just knot some more on and bam, different colors. Enjoy your newly colorful earbuds!