Introduction: Headphone Holders - a Fun and Creative Parent/child Project

About: I build, I write, I film... Mostly a woodworker.

This is a father+son project that I worked on with my son. This is a fairly quick and straightforward project which works great as a parent/child project. My son had the idea that he'd like to build a pair of headphone holders. Like almost all kids (and adults!) these days, he has some portable technology. (phone, iPod, mp3 player, or whatever it is you have in your family!)

He wanted a way to hang up his nice headphones, rather than just dump them on his nightstand. He asked me if we could build something like this, and gave me a few design suggestions. When we did a search for "headphone holders" or "headphone stands" we tended to find two styles of holders. There were a lot of minimalist stick-like or hook-like designs, as well as a bunch of curved head-shaped objects.

The more we looked at it, the more we thought that if it was going to be head shaped, why not make it look more like an actual head? So I designed in some eye holes. Then we added a mouth, so we would have a place to wrap up the cord.Shown here is my prototype. It came out sort of "Frankenstein-like", I think, which was pretty cool.

We next set out to make a couple more, but we're going o ramp up the design with some paint and creativity!

Step 1: Option: Video Build

If you would prefer, you can watch a video build. Otherwise, read on!

Step 2: Preparing Stock

I glued up some random short pieces of hardwood that I had in my shop.

I used elm, but you could use anything. Even some 2x6 construction lumber would be a fine idea if you're going to paint it anyway.

The finished piece is going to be 4" wide, 2" thick, and 13" tall. As well there is a 4"x7" base to go underneath it.

We took the blanks and jointed one edge and then planed them down to thickness before cutting them to final size on the tablesaw

Step 3: Layout the Design

We used Justin's headphones on the prototype to arrive at a good curve for the top of the head. Then we used the highly scientific "tracing a yogurt tub" method to duplicate this curve onto our workpieces.

This was followed by measuring and marking for where the "ear notches" go and the mouth opening.

Step 4: Cutting and Drilling and Sanding

Over on the bandsaw we took turns cutting out the curves and the ear notches. (You could use a jigsaw here.)

We drilled half-inch diameter holes with a Forstner bit for the eyes -- but only on one of the headphone holders. Our designs were diverging.

My homemade disc sander was used to smooth out the top curve, and did a great job.

The Oscillating spindle sander is also a help, and then a bit with the Random Orbit Sander, and then a bit of hand sanding.

(I use these tools because I have them. But you don't NEED them. This is not a big project, so you can even hand-sand the whole thing and it will not take that long.)

Step 5: Simple Base Plate

Then we cut out more pieces from my short/scrap pile to make the bases. We cut the base 4" by 7", and it is around 3/4" thick.

The size and thickness is not crucial, just as long as it looks proportional, and the whole thing doesn't tip over!!

We used a cove bit on the router table to add a decorative detail around the top edge of the base.

Step 6: Painting and Finishing

Here's where your imagination can take off...

Next it was on to the painting station. By this point we were actually working on three headphone stands and not just two. (Don't ask, sometimes things just happen.)

After the base colour coat, some painter's tape was used to mask off areas for for adding other detail colours.

We used some spray adhesive to attach some "goggle eyes" to our minions which I had printed out... oh yeah, in case you haven't figured it out yet, we went with a "minion" theme for two of the headphone holders. If you do an internet image search for "minion goggles" you should find some options to cut out and glue onto your own projects.

Here is one link: one (hopefully these links stick around! -- I used to have two links, but one of them disappeared. I suggest doing a Google image search.)

After this I sprayed on several coats of rattle-can spray lacquer to seal over the paper eyes as well as give a protective coating to the whole piece.

The other holder was going with a more natural appearance with a light stain.

Step 7: Attach the Base, and That's All

To attach the base we first positioned it carefully and then popped in a couple 23-gauge brads. This helped to hold it firmly while we drilled and screwed in some wood screws. A bit of paste wax really helps with this process, even after pre-drilling.

And thanks for coming along on this trip. Here is where we ended the project for now.

You might notice that the one holder has no base. That was on purpose as my son plans to mount that one to the wall, rather than have it freestanding on a desk or table.

Step 8: Photo Gallery

Finally, here is a small photo album of our headphone stands. You might notice that we made a couple more... Like I said at the beginning, this is a quick and fun project! Use your imagination and you can make other styles of heads, from Frankenstein monsters to Iron man to Hobbits -- whatever you can think of.