Picture of Make an iPod Speaker from a Hallmark Music Card
Ever get one of those cards for your birthday that plays music when you open it? Don't throw it away! With a little help from Tony the Tiger, you can use it as a speaker for your iPod.

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Step 1: Required materials

Picture of required materials
Hallmark Music Card
Old headphones
One empty cereal box from a Kellogg's Cereal Variety Pack - I used Frosted Flakes, but you can choose your favorite cereal. It will not impact the outcome of this project. ;-)
Glue Gun
Electrical tape
Utility knife
Not required, but helpful: Soldering iron

Step 2: Remove speaker from card

Picture of remove speaker from card
Use a utility knife to cut along the top and bottom edge of the card to expose the speaker.

Cut the speaker wire at the base of the circuit board first and then gently remove the speaker from the card. If you don't cut the speaker wire first you could end up ripping the wire from the base of the speaker and then you'd really need a soldering iron.

The speaker is fixed to the card with a small circular piece of double sided tape, so it shouldn't be too difficult to remove. Avoid the urge here to use your utility knife to "cut away" the speaker - you could accidentally cut right into the speaker itself.

Finally, strip about a quarter inch of insulation from the wires.

Side note: In case you're wondering, the Hallmark card is powered by a CR2032 3V Lithium Battery. This is the key ingredient for making an LED Throwie and is the power house for a bunch of other Instructables. The battery isn't necessary for this Instructable, but holding on to it could prove to be handy down the road. ;-)
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ewilhelm6 years ago
This project was mentioned on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday!
link221 year ago

Dang! My dad put both wires from the headphones into both wires from the speakers and I didn't work. DO NOT DO THIS! It is unfixable,

How loud is it?

As loud as the card played the audio

link221 year ago

Can I use a different heat source to burn away the fiber stuff?

droski212 years ago
hmmm... so do I cut before the wire splits or after? Thanks in advance =)
So are the headphones just used for their TRS plug and the card just for its speaker? This Instructable is a bit hard to follow.
Cool it works!!
mg99903 years ago

I made this video, based off of this instructable :) hope it helps anyyone. feel free to ask me questions
nickiek4 years ago
Im trying to use a set of ipod headphones for this and there are four wires in it. A green, red, a green and red, and a copper wire. im trying to attach them in almost all combinations and they are not working. any tips?
mg9990 nickiek3 years ago
Ok so what you need to do is separate the RED and COPPER wires from the headphones. You can tape the other 2 to the cable or cut them or keep them for adding a second speaker the same way. Then you need to take a lighter and burn the red and copper wires until they are black, but leave a little hint of color at the bottom so you can tell which is which. When you burn them, you will light the fiber insulation in the middle that keeps you from making a conection when you tie/solder the wires together. :) Hope it works for you! I found my project did not work with a pair of headphones that were broken (thought i'd try it). Make sure your headphones work before you use them!
mine did not work
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(removed by author or community request)
You'll notice on the back of the speaker that there's the number 8 with the Greek letter omega following it. That's a measure of the impedance of the speaker. Your iPod was designed to work with a headphones of a certain impedance. If your speakers don't match that impedance, it can cause problems (too much current drain, etc.). An amplifier will help avoid the problem of impedance matching. Fortunately, it's easy to build an amplifier using parts readily available at any Radio Shack that still carries electronics components (not all do... especially the ones in indoor shopping malls). Just my 2 cents.
Finally, I know what the Omega sign stands for on those speakers... it was drving me crazy!
The omega is shorthand for ohms, the standard measure of resistance in electronics. It's also the unit for impedance which is why you'll see the old style twin lead antenna wires listed as 300 ohms while standard coaxial cable is listed at 50 ohms (in the US, anyway). In any case, whether with speakers or antenna wires, for the best performance, you'll want to make sure that the impedance matches or you have a means of matching it. For speakers, amplifiers generally do the trick. Most speakers are 8 ohm although I've seen 4 ohm speakers. The typical impedance of earbud style phones is 32 ohms. Just another 2 cents... hey, this is adding up!
You can also put speakers (or other coils) in series and the impedance is additive (4 X 8ohm series=32ohm) but the sound will be quiet b/c of the high impedance so an amp would again be good.
A cheap (about 60 cents US) amp is a LM386. You can wire according to page 5 of the datasheet (
6 battery +
4 battery -
3 ipod out jack tip
2 ipod out jack collar
5 small capacitor and speaker in series (other end of speaker is
ground or neg on bat)

It runs on 4-12 volts and puts out ~0.3 watts.
BBFNN Laminarin3 years ago
um i know in way late but Total Resistance is R1+R2 not R1 X R2
Nirgal38 BBFNN3 years ago
BBFNN, if you look at what he's written there, his math is sound. It works out as:

8 ohms + 8 ohms + 8 ohms + 8 ohms = 4 x 8 ohms = 32 ohms.
wotot2 Nirgal386 years ago
what will happen to an ipod if i do this??? i would like the truth however harsh.
wotot2 wotot26 years ago
*damage wise
can u plz direct me to such a amp?
I have a monophonic version of an amp at

If you use two of them, you could make a stereo amp.
i,personaly, think there are NO POINT to these cards. why do they make them anyways?
My 4-year-old thinks these musical cards are the shizzle. I just wish they made them with a battery that doesn't last so long...because enough is enough already...
lol i have a lil bro and sis who are exactly like u described- i got a musical card for my bday and they abused it to the point where my mom threw it out. ah, wish i knew about this project then... :( haha
um.... does it need batteries?
dg33 clydicus5 years ago
just tape the electronics to someones door or wardrobe... descreat so they cant find it...

the worse the song the more annoying it is...
To irritate people to the point where they disassemble them and make them into ipod speakers.
so people can make these :D
packerfan126 years ago
would duct tape work instead of electrical?
duct tape??? what is it with instructables and duct tape??? yes it would work.
Foaly7 jotism6 years ago
Duct Tape is The Universal Medium, and it fixes everything. Duct Tape Owns. That's what's up.
duct tape is like the force. it has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together
U stole that! From my Pa! Good on ya.
jotism Foaly76 years ago
Yep, duct tape wallets are good too.
i made a duct tape tie once
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