"This handy little device can take the most boring and dull locale and turn it into whatever sort of emotive resonance you prefer! You simply load it with "Wave Files" or their less complicated cousins the "Musical Programme Type Threes (or "MP3" for those who enjoy abbreviations) and then activate the device to change the ambience around you! Astounding!"

The Ambience Enhancer project that I am going to share with you is a basic but beautiful looking retro-futuristic style cover for anything you'd like it be, although I built mine as an MP3 Player Cover, you could build a watch, a cellphone cover, or even a PDA into it. Its totally up to you! Use your imagination...

This device was blogged by Wired, Boing Boing (thanks Cory!), Tekzilla, Make, Gizmodo, Engadget, and some others, and now you will be able to see how exactly how its made!

My goal here is to inspire people by showing them just how easy it can be to make something unique and wonderful to use in their daily lives. I take this everywhere I go, and find its a great conversation starter! I will give ideas for different ways to make this project your own, and I plan on eventually taking this design a lot further, so I'd love to others run with it as well!

The headphones shown in the picture are another project all together, and I will be sharing it on a Jake VonSlatt's website The Steampunk Workshop in early January, so please visit his site and check it out, his stuff puts mine to shame!

My name is Molly, and I'm a 32 year old self employed artist. I mostly make things like this for fun, but I also sell things. If you'd like to see what I have been up to, come on by and check out my Deviant Art page:


I have more strange fashion and jewelry than you can shake two or three sticks at (warning: your stick mileage may vary). Have a great holiday season with your most treasured loved ones, and take care all!

Step 1: The Plan

So, you'll need to gather your materials and decide what you are going to make the cover for. I used faux leather due to our household's view on using products from an animal, but you could make this out of just about anything. Thick and durable materials will be better suited to this particular project, like canvas for a more military look, or thicker vinyl if you want a more industrial look. For my MP3 player cover, I used 2 different colors of faux leather because I wanted to match it to my dieselpunk leather aviator's cap that is brown and black, but there's no reason to follow that exactly, choose your color to make it look however you want!

Here's what I used in my project:

Brown Faux Leather - I bought half a yard of it, but this project uses much less than that
Black Faux Leather - Same here, half a yard is more than enough!
1 Brass D Ring
1 Brass Rectangular 'Ring'
2 Brass Lynch Pins
1 Large Brass Grommet
1 Small Brass Grommet
1 Inch Wide Elastic Band - about 8 inches is good.
Threads - I used upholstery thread because its strong, although quilting thread is fine as well. I used black for most of the construction of the cover, and white thread for the pictures on the buttons.

and of course, the MP3 player... mine is a Sansa and has a distinctive shape, I will be showing you the patterns I made, but remember that you'll want to adjust your design to fit whatever it is you're building a cover for. I will try to explain it in a way that will help you do that.

When I was coming up with ideas for this project, I found it amazingly inspiring to look at the work of other people who build retrofuture devices. My favorite gallery is here:


If that fantastic stuff doesn't give you ideas, nothing will!

Grab a paper and pen, lets get working on step 2!
I have a Sansa m240 (mp3 player used) however the head phone jack is broken and I'm not sure is this abled to be modified to work with another?
I have a Sansa m240 (mp3 player used) however the head phone jack is broken and I'm not sure is this abled to be modified to work with another?
epic pro job
The term MP3 is actually a reference shortened from the official M(oving) P(icture) E(xperts) G(roup) -1 Audio Layer 3 nomenclature for this lossy digital audio encoding format.
maybe in your world... lol I still like my definition better XD
Hey, Porkshanks. Sweet &quot;Ambience Enhancer&quot; I'm turning my IPod Nano(old one) into one<br><br><br>Long may Steampunk Live:)
This is a great project. I'll be modifying it a bit for a Evo 4G phone for a steampunk wrist computer, and I'll see if I can figure out how to add a steampunk bluetooth headset into it so when someone calls I can separate the headset and answer the calls. Again, excellent work!
you should try selling this on ebay title it as "Ambience Enhancer'
Selling this item under that title could lead to trading standards troubles... after all, it doesn't enhance anything - it's just an MP3 player covered in brass and junk.
Hey its not brass and junk! <strong>ITS STEAMPUNK!<br /> </strong>
if you put up a picture, everyone would know what you mean
Why not title it as Steampunk Style Mp3 Player Armband! The more keywords the more chance of your search showing up. Plus theres a high demand for steampunk lately, more than ever as the fashions growing. In the last month ive seen at least two people wearing FULL steampunk at my local shopping centre. And not the same person either! Steampunk is awesome!
No way, two whole people? Watch out everyone, it's an epidemic!
hahahahaha! yes, its clearly taking over...
I love you! *hug*
LOVED&nbsp;THIS&nbsp;THING...<br /><br />Hmm, I'd ask you to sell it, but I wanna make, dunno when that will happen.<br />
That is awesome!
This is wonderful. Not only is the instructable highly detailed and comprehensible, but it makes a great finished product as well. Five stars! We need more of this brand of awesomeness.
Quote: &quot;Wave Files&quot; or their less complicated cousins the &quot;Musical Programme Type Threes (or &quot;MP3&quot; for those who enjoy abbreviations)<br/><br/>Wave files are far less &quot;complicated&quot; than MP3s. They contain nothing more than a stream of samples. MP3s are a compressed version of the same data, and therefore more complicated (albeit smaller) by most standards.<br/><br/>MP3 = MPEG Layer 3. MPEG itself stands for Motion Picture Experts Group, and therefore the MP in MP3 stands for Motion Picture.<br/>
I really liked your project. If I may, the use of an elastic band is quite fine if you are making it for yourself, but if you want to give it to someone it might be too tight or too loose, no? Maybe you could use a wristband like those found at sports stores. It would make the base design a bit more complicated though...
That is so cool! I'm gonna make that for mine, just as soon as i finish those headsets of yours that i saw on steampunk workshop! all i need is the leather, metal... well, everything but the sansa :)
in your opinion does the screen really add anything to the looks of this item
I'm going to be steampunk this Halloween and this makes me wish I had some money to buy supplies. Heehee... being a poor college kid sucks. Anyway, I love this idea. I really want to make one and put it over my heart to make it seem like a "power source", that would be pretty awesome... but I really do hate how the iPod looks on the screen... maybe I could make a gif and turn it into a movie and repeat it over and over with my music playing in the background. Hohohohohooo!! I'm definitely at least going to design something... Things like this inspire me so much.
This tutorial is made of win and awesome. :D I'd really love to try this out, but my mp3 player is, alas, in ipod, with one of thsoe lovely twirly wheels that's very neat but can't exactly be covered. Does anyone have any thoughts on working around that without leaving the bright white wheel exposed and sort of destroying the brown and brass ambiance?
The wheel will still work if you just put a thin piece of material over it. Even a material as thick as a t-shirt will work
there are a couple ideas... one might be to make a flip open top for the device out of brass or leather. another might be to leave a hole for the wheel, but cover the wheel with a sticker or paint? and thanks, glad you liked the tutorial!
Ah, I like the sound of the flip-top idea! Thanks. :)
anyone else think it has an almost steampunk look to it?
that's what they called it on gizmodo
Screw Ipods now THAT'S an MP3 player I want to have
Wow, a lot of work went into this. I just can't help but ask how much time it took to make and is it worth it? No insult intended, but it kinda looks like a jock strap. How much does it way?
There is only one appropriate word for this Instructable, and that is "wow". The same goes for the things on your deviantart page. Totally awesome.
Forty-Six steps! WOW!
:P I used the design thingy for a walkie takie. It looks really cool.
kickass! I'd love to see it.
Sure! If only my damn camera would work. (It doesn't like me anymore. >.<) I'll try to get it in.
Awsome project thanks for the plans because i made one its not as good or as cool looking as yours but it works ok.
that makes me happy :) I'd love to see what you did... were the instructions pretty easy to follow?
I'd like to show you what I did but my web cam has broke so unfortunately I can't show you sorry. But when I get my new one I will send you a few pictures or maybe a video if possible. The instructions were very easy to follow you planned them out well. Awsome project though I can't say that enough!!
Cool and fun, you sir or ma'am are full of win.
OK will u post an Instructable with those cans in the first pic i presume u made they look ausum
Yep, I have an ever better design now, and I will be sharing how to do it on Jake VonSlatt's website The Steampunk Workshop in a week or two : )
Loved your reference to 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books in step 30!
Awesome Awesome Porkshanks
nice project, I like the craftsmanship and documentation.+
Porkshanks, I just wanted to comment how peaceful and positive your reply to SPGWhistler was. He didn't quite understand your humor (I loved that your prose was actually steampunk in itself, BTW) but you were really nice about it--unlike the discussion about your Ambience Enhancer going on over at BoingBoing.
Thanks, I just saw that myself. I don't get why people seem to get so worked up about this kind of stuff. I am not perfect (never was, never will be), and I get angry too... even at times on the internet... but I try to make it about things that are important; politics, the environment, or my atheism. As for the whole "this isn't steampunk" thing... its an opinion... so they are right! If its not steampunk to them who cares? I made this to enjoy life a little, it makes me happy to use it. It seems like something other people enjoy as well, so why not share the instructions? If you don't like it, what do you get out of complaining? Just ignore it. I personally hate the way Ipods look, but I'd feel rather silly posting a complaint on their site telling them how to do it better. If I think I can do something better (in my own opinion, obviously) I just do it and move on. We don't all have to like the same things!
WOW! that's really tight! 'specially them headphones... that's so awesome!

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