Introduction: Apple Style Earbud Holder

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first to…
I wanted a way to keep my Apple earbuds from tangling when I want to store them, whether in my pocket or on my nightstand. There are a number of recent Instructables that show how to wind the cord on one's fingers and bind the earbuds without a separate fixture. I want to avoid any sharp bends or twists that may cause the wire to break down with use over time. 

The photo shows my version ready to use. 

  • White pine
  • Saw
  • Rule
  • Square
  • Jack plane
  • Drill press and bit
  • Belt or drum sander
  • Sandpaper

Step 1: My Inspiration

I began thinking more seriously about this project after I saw one of these in a store. This set of earbuds and holder can be purchased at Amazon. I took the image from the display at Amazon. 

As neat as this earbud holder is, it does force the cords to make 90 degree bends as the cord makes the corner to wrap around the outer edge of the holder.

Step 2: Beginning

I wanted my earbud holder to be about the thickness of my fingers. I used them to determine the dimensions I should use. The primary concern was to have the little rectangular microphone section fall on the flat front surface of the holder, and not over the end where it cannot bend and fit the holder.

I determined to cut a piece 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches from stock I had planed by hand down to 9/16 inch in thickness. For those who use metric measurements, that is 20mm x 63mm x 63mm.

Step 3: Mark and Saw

I marked my stock for a square 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches (63mm x 63mm) and cut it with a saw.

Step 4: Round the Ends

I chose to have the grain in the wood run perpendicular to the rounded ends, that is parallel to the straight sides. By hand and with only my eyes as a guide I used a drum sander to round the ends evenly. Although it is not crucial, I checked my work to be certain the ends were still square when they were rounded to the contour I wanted. The radius of the curve is large enough to prevent the cord from making sharp bends and should help to preserve its life. 

Step 5: Check the Earbud Position

Although the holes for the earbuds are already drilled in the photo, I held them loose and wound the cord around the wooden form to see where the rectangular microphone would come. Then I marked the center of the earbud position with a small pencil mark.

On my earbud holder I placed the centers of the holes for the earbuds one inch (25mm) from one end.

Step 6: Drill for the Earbuds

I do have a 5/8 inch twist drill (16mm) and it makes a hole just the right size for the earbuds. I clamped an impromptu fence to my drill press' table to assure uniformity in the location of the holes. I measured the distance between the edge of the hole and the edge of the form to be certain it would be identical on both sides. I was careful to make the depth of the holes equal.

I used a little sandpaper to remove wood burrs so the edges of the holes would be smooth.

Step 7: Wrap It Up and Secure the End

I simply slide the end of the cord under one or two turns of the cord to secure the end. The wrapped earbuds and their holder fit neatly in my shirt pocket. (Notice the two pens that indicate the edges of the pocket.)

I am not sure if I will add a finish to the wood or not.