I've tried all sorts of cord managers. Most of them do the job, but they all seem to have a least one flaw, they're too heavy. Due to their weight, standard cord managers tend to tug on the ears, and swing like a pendulum as you walk. So I set out to come up with a better, lighter, cord manager. The result was a simple solution made with a readily available material.
1 Pair of Earbuds (of course)
1 Drinking Straw (larger than standard diameter if available)
A pair of scissors
Please use caution when following any of the steps in this instructable, as with any cord manager, bending, wrapping, looping, folding, or otherwise pulling too tightly on your earphone cords can damage them. Proceed at your own risk.
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Step 1: Select a Drinking Straw & Cut It to Length
Drinking Straw Diameter
For this instructable we'll use a drinking straw. A standard diameter straw works, and I've used one, but I find it a little bit snug for some earphone cords. You don't want to wrap your earphone cords any tighter than necessary. The one I use in this instructable, is ever so slightly larger in diameter than say those you might find at your local drive through. Without mentioning any particular names the drinking straw used in this instructable came from a local cafe with a mermaid logo, and can be found on just about every street corner.
You will be wrapping your earphone cord and slipping it through a cut length of straw. The amount of slack you take up from your earphone cord will be determined by the number of times you wrap your cord, and the cut length of straw you use. You may need to experiment a bit on both, but I don't recommend wrapping the cord more than twice with a straw this narrow. For this instructable, I double wrapped the cord, and used a 2" length of straw. This took up a considerable amount of slack in my cord. I suggest you start with a length of straw no less than 1 1/2" and no more than 2".
Step 2: Double Up Part of the Cord
Now you want to double up part of the cord as in the image above. You'll want to double up a length longer than your cut piece of drinking straw. Now this seems simple, and it is, but in fact, there is one trick you'll need to know. You want to end up with the the same number of loops top and bottom. "Fold", and "fold" back, repeat as desired. For the sake of clarity in this first example, I'll just do a single loop.
You'll know you've done it correctly if you end up with the earbud end of the cord going one direction and the audio plug end going the other direction, as in the photo above. You'll understand why this is important when you loop the ends through in the last step.
Step 3: Slide the Straw Up and Over the Loop
Slide the straw up and over the loop you just made, as demonstrated in the images above.
Step 4: Feed the Ends Back Through the Loops
Now feed the audio plug end back up and through the top loop, then feed the earbud end of the cord back through the lower loop.
Step 5: Adjust and Tighten the Loops
Now you will want to tighten up the loops by pulling on them alternately along with the cord ends. This takes a little trial and error. Don't pull on them to too tightly. You could damage your cables.
The next step is a series of pictures demonstrating the same instructable, but using a double wrap instead in order to take up even more cord slack.
Step 6: Double the Loop, Further Shorten the Cord
The pictures above demonstrate the previous instructable, but using a double wrap to further shorten the cord. Once again notice the equal number of loops top and bottom. Double back, and forth, back, and forth, with an equal number of loops top and bottom. When the ends are finally looped through, this essentially creates a knot along with the straw. With an unequal number of loops top and bottom, the loops will otherwise eventually pull through.