Introduction: Sockphones

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of t…

After making a few Telephone Handset Microphones I came to realize that all of these handsets had perfectly good speakers that were not being put to good use.

I set out to correct this problem.

This is the natural solution.

Sockphones are socks that are headphones. The sound quality isn't the best, but they are very comfortable.

Sockphones can be made with all variations of socks and can also be made of every material, in every assortment of colors and in all sizes. They can use any form of two-speaker headphone solution.

The combinations are out of this world!

Step 1: Go Get Stuff.

What you will need:

2 - Telephone handsets (old-style with the round covers)
1 - Metal coat hanger
1 - Pair of tube-type shoe laces
1 - Pair of socks (new or otherwise)
1 - PC Board Grid-Style (Radioshack 276-150)
1 - 9V Battery holder
1 - Tiny DPDT slide switch ( - Part #G1827)
1 - LM386 audio amp
2 - 10uF electrolytic capacitors
1 - 0.022 ceramic disk capacitor
1 - 0.1 polyester film capacitor
1 - 1K ohm resistor
1 - Mono plug
1 - 7" zipper (color to match sock)
1 - Grommet (large enough to pass through two wires and a pair of shoe laces)
1 - plastic ring (larger than grommet opening)
1 - a whole bunch of pillow stuffing
1 - Spool of thread (to match sock)

- Soldering iron
- Hot glue gun
- Pliers
- Scissors
- Black marker
- Heavy duty wire cutter (for coat hanger)
- Flat head screwdriver
- Grommet tool
- Sewing needle
- Sewing machine (optional)
- Safety pins

Step 2: Collect the Speakers.

Grab a phone handset and open up the earpiece. Find the terminal that the green wire is connected to. Mark it with your marker. This will be ground.

Once marked, disconnect the speaker.

Repeat with the other handset.

Step 3: Snake the Wire. Hiss.

Take your shoe laces and cut off the ends. There should be stuffing inside helping it keep its tube-like shape. Remove the stuffing.

Now see if you can pass two wires into the opening. If the two wires slide in without trouble, you will only need one shoe lace. If they don't, you are going to need to use both.

Get a red and a black wire a couple of inches longer than your shoe laces and snake them through the laces.

If you end up using both laces wrap them around each other so that they look braided.

Step 4: Connect the Plug.

Unscrew the casing from the plug and then solder the red and black wires to the mono plug. The red wire should go to the small tab (audio). The black wire should go the larger tab (ground).

Pull the shoe lace as close to the plug as possible and then slide the cover back up towards the plug.

Make sure none of the connections are touching. Pull the cover up right to the base of the plug where the shoelace meets the wire connections. Fill the cover with hot glue and screw it on as quickly as possible. You may need to use your pliers to make the last few turns.

Let it dry. It should now be permanently closed.

Step 5: Straighten the Coat Hanger.

Untwist the coat hanger and straighten it into one long rod.

Step 6: Make Your Headbands.

Take your long straightened hanger and trim it down to 34" or, if you have a big head, 36". Then trim this in half so that you have two pieces of roughly 17".

Carefully bend these into horseshoe shapes. Bend the ends outwards so that when you put it on your head the sharp edges will be pointing away from you.

Put it on your head and see if it fits. Adjust to fit. One will sit roughly in front of the ear and the other behind it.

Step 7: Wrap the Headbands.

Wrap the headbands with red and black wire so that the wire won't shift and you have 4" to 6" extra on each end.

One of these will be the power cable and the other will be a speaker connection.

Step 8: Start the Power Cap.

The water bottle cap is going to be where the 9V battery plugs into. There will be a microswitch in the top.

Towards the top edge, cut a small rectangle for the switch to be able to fit within and slide back and forth. On the wall of the same edge, make a hole large enough for two wires to pass through.

Step 9: Finish the Power Connection.

With your hot glue gun carefully place a dab of glue on your switch so that it is glued in position. Make sure that the switch can move back and forth after it has dried.

Trim the red wire running off of your 9V battery connector so that when it is placed in the center of the cap, it is just long enough to reach the end leg of the switch. Solder the red wire to the end leg of the switch. Solder the red wire that you have just cut off to the middle leg of the switch. Pass this wire through the hole. Next pass the black wire through the hole.

Center the 9V clip in the cap. Make sure no wires are being crossed and fill the bottom of the cap with hot glue so that everything is glued in place. Make sure that you don't put too much glue. You should be able to still attach a 9V battery when this is done.

Be careful not to burn yourself. The glue will be very hot and will take a few minutes to solidify.

Step 10: Cut the PCB to Size.

Cut the PCB to suit your needs. Mine is 8 registers long and has more than enough room.

I cut mine by carefully breaking it with a pair of needle-nose pliers.

Step 11: Build the Amplifier (with Exceptions).

Build the circuit.

For the time being, do not add these key components:

1 - the audio input
2 - the speakers
3 - the power supply

All of these will be added later after further modifications are made.

Step 12: Sew the Zipper Into the Sock.

Take the sock intended for your left ear. Fold the toe to the heel. It should be folded so that the sock's heel will point to the back side of your head and the folded part will be on the outside.

Lay the zipper out across the face of the folded sock. Lay this out as close to the heel as possible. An inch over where the zipper extends past the edge of the sock, cut the zipper (see secondary picture).

Cut a hole in the sock 2/3 the size of the zipper. Place the zipper inside the sock and fold the cut end of the zipper over upon itself about half an inch. Pin this fold to your sock with safety pins.

Open the zipper and then hand sew it to your sock.

If you are skilled with a sewing machine, then by all means use one. I am not, so I didn't.

Step 13: Add a Grommet.

Take the sock intended for your right ear. Fold the toe to the heel. It should be folded so that the sock's heel will point to the back side of your head and the folded part will be on the outside.

On the inside of the folded over flap, close to the heel and as close to the crease as possible, make a black dot (see secondary picture).

Where the black dot is, add a grommet by following the instructions on the packaging.

Cut away any fabric left inside the center of the grommet.

Step 14: Attach the Audio Cable.

Pass the audio cable through the grommet and out the top of the sock.

You're going to want to tie the audio cable to a plastic ring on the inside of the sock so that the audio cable can't be ripped out through the grommet. Take your plastic ring and pass the cable through about 4" and then loop it through again. It should now be tied in place. You can add a small drop of hot glue to the cable wrapped around the ring for extra strength.

Step 15: Complete the Circuit.

Now it is time to finish off the circuit by adding the remaining components.

First attach the audio cable.

Only one speaker is connected directly to the board. The other speaker and the power source are connected at the other end of the headbands.

As such, both headbands are connected directly to the board. On the other side of one headband should be a speaker. And on the other side of the second headband should be your power cap. These will go to the left ear. Make sure you got your wiring right.

Once this is done, plug it in and see if it works.

If it does not work:
- check your wiring
- see if the chip is still working
- check your soldering
- make sure no connections are bridged
- make sure the wiring is right

Step 16: Stuff the Sock.

The circuit board and the speaker are going to be stuffed in the sock with the grommet.

The other speaker and the power supply will be stuffed in the other with the zipper.

Take about a fistful of stuffing. Position the speaker and the circuit board so that when stuffed the circuit board will be closer to the toe and the speaker closer to the middle of the sock.

When the sock is folded over, the stuffing should all be in the folded over part. Also, the speaker should be at the bottom of the fold and facing inward towards the ear.

With the other sock you should only insert the headbands, wiring and stuffing. You can attach the speaker and plug in the battery later after you shove in the stuffing through the zipper.

Step 17: Pin the Sock in Place.

Make sure that the speakers are pointed inwards towards the ear. Also ensure that the zipper is accessible on the outside of the fold. Lastly, double check that the battery and circuit board are inside the stuffing and won't be felt when you are wearing the headphones.

Push the headbands down into the crease of the fold on both socks.

With that done, get your safety pins. Pin the folded sock and one of the headbands to the back side of the headphones that are quickly taking shape. Then pin the folded sock and the other headband to the other side.

Step 18: Sew It Together.

Once pinned in place you are going to want to sew the stuffed and folded part to the sock.

But first, make sure that the headbands don't cross on the part of your socks that will be directly above the top of your head. The headbands should be along the edges of the socks.

Start on the bottom of one side and sew up along the edge. Do this in a way that the needle is always entering up through the sock in the same direction as you move along the edge. Make certain that a few of the stitches are around the headband so that it is held in place.

Once you have sewn all the way around in a half circle and reached the bottom of the other side of the fold, change the direction of your stitching and sew back. In other words, if you were always stitching up before, now you should always be stitching down. When you reach the end, tie a knot or two with the remaining thread.

Do the same for the other sock.

You can sew the headbands to the sock at the part that will lay directly on the top of the head. This is best done by sewing down from the top of on one side of the headband and sewing up on the other. Do this for two or three inches on each headband and then reverse directions. Make a knot or two with the last stitch.

Step 19: Add a Tag.

It is important to let everyone know that I made this, especially if it was assembled by you.

As such, on a piece of scrap fabric about 1.5" x 1.5" write:

"Made in Euphoria by Randy Sarafan"

Sew this to the inside of the overlapping sock so that it is hanging out (see picture).

Step 20: Rock Out (optional).

I know rocking out isn't for everyone. However, it is for some people. And if you are one of those people that enjoy being rocked from time to time, this would be a good time to do it.

Put your headphones on and chill.

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