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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

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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

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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. ;-)

Step 3: Prep headphones

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Cut headphone wires at the base of each headphone (L & R). You'll only need one of the two lines so pick the one you want to use and cut the other where they converge mid-way down the length of the chord.

Next, strip the wires. You may notice some fiber-like material interlaced with the leads themselves. Strip this stuff out with your utility knife or you will not be able to get a solid connection from your headphones to the speaker (thanks to Richard at my local Radio Shack on that one). Alternatively, you can use a soldering iron to burn this stuff away. I found this method much easier and a bit more effective.

Step 4: Connect

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Connect headphone wires to speaker wires. I'm not sure if it matters which ends you connect, but make sure you're getting sound before you seal the deal, so to speak.

Once you've connected your leads (again, soldering here is a good idea, but not necessary) insulate and tidy up the exposed connections with some electrical tape.

Step 5: Prep cereal box

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You'll want to cut a whole slightly smaller than the full diameter of the speaker. Remember the nice beveled edge Hallmark utilized to fix it to the card with double sided tape? We'll want to do the same thing here. A 1.25" diameter hole should be perfect. There's a dashed line that runs through the middle of the box that will help center you up before you cut.

You'll also want to cut a small hole towards the bottom rear of the box to feed the headphone jack through. Feeding the wire through the back/bottom of the box not only makes it look nice, but also weights the box so that it doesn't fall forward on its face when you stand it up on end.

Step 6: Secure speaker, seal box and rock

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Run a small amount of glue along the beveled edge of the speaker and quickly attach it inside the box. Hold it to give the glue a chance to dry. Secure it by adding some spots of glue along the top and bottom edges of the speaker where it meets the box. Try not to glob it on so that you don't add more weight. I ended up using way more than I should have, but it didn't make the box unstable.

Finally, glue back together the top and bottom of the box as it was originally sealed, connect an iPod and kick out the jams.
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ewilhelm6 years ago
This project was mentioned on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday!
coolsid71 made it!2 months ago

I just finished a test version for summer camp for kids at
our Computer Clubhouse at the Boys & Girls Club. It is a cool
project. I made some adjustments. Speaker on top and bottom, speaker
wire and mini jack and rubber feet. Kids will solder connections when
they create their own. The headphone wire I tried to use was causing
too many problems so we decided to go with speaker wire. We also
decided to try a design where it lays flat. It plays pretty loud from a
computer (mac) but from a cell phone and one of our PCs the volume only gets to an average sound
level. But still cool!!!!

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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.
Yep.
Cool it works!!
mg99903 years ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0v-JZLp06Y

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
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
LOL xD
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
i have one
Foaly7 Foaly76 years ago
Actually strike that second sentence. DUCT TAPE PWNS!
covey12 Foaly76 years ago
ductape is a rednecks best friend example: "Bubba the radiators shot, go get some ducktape (not duct for rednecks)"
Duct Tape will work instead for pretty much anything! lol
tru dat!
i want to know how to actualy AMPLIFY it. thats what i'm looking for!
Zackly! I saw another instructable that mentions an amplifier, but not much about it... frustrating. I made one with a cardboard cornmeal can... also no amp, but it's almost loud enough, with the musical card speakers. Good luck with your search. If you find something, post here, I'll do the same, okay?
Thanks Caleb.

Doug
lwatson516 years ago
Or for stereo, just get another Hallmark card for a second speaker, keep both wires from the headphones and get another cereal box or maybe a small milk carton to complement the cereal box!
Hallmark makes a small line of three part, two speaker, STEREO cards for about $6.

The giant $10 cards (like the one that plays "Chicken Dance") use a totally different type of speaker. It is a small cylinder about the size of a die (half a pair of dice) that when held by the leads in free air is silent, but can turn any object into a speaker. I put it against my head and had a bone conduction speaker. It is marked 32ohms 1 Watt.
 
(Any one want to try to make a headset from these or give your deaf dalmation a taste of sound?)

Sound cards are a great idea for anyone who has a blind friend.
Cor822 Johenix3 years ago
Could you post a picture of the type of speaker that you used to get the bone speaker effect and a picture of the card? i got 1 of the "chicken dance" cards you talked about and heres the picture. if this is the type of card you got could you reply? thanks!
the bone speaker is hilarious and raally cool
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