Most headphone wire management products are based on a concept of wrapping, a gesture ingrained into our wire filled lives. The problem with something that’s been wrapped though, is that it tends to have to be unwrapped before it can be used again. Podcap is a way to organize your headphone wires while keeping them readily accessible.

Step 1: Materials

1 chapstick/lip balm (preferably one that’s running low or empty)
1 pair of earphones

* the headphones used in this instructable are the most recent generation of Apple earphones

Step 2: Find Your Wrap

Podcap works best when both ends of your earphones are positioned opposite the portion that goes in the cap. Depending on the length of your earphones you will need to find the right way to gauge your wrap. This can be done rather simply through trial and error by adjusting the spacing between your pointer, middle, and ring fingers. It may take a few tries to find it, but in the future your fingers will do the remembering for you.

Step 3: Cap It

Once you’ve got your wrap, hold it tight at the closed end and slide your cap overtop, adding about a quarter turn to ensure a tight grip. The remaining bit of your chapstick/lip balm packaging is #5 polypropylene recyclable :).

Step 4: Live With Less Unwrapping!

You might be a little skeptical that your headphones will stay snug with such a small portion being held inside the cap. Well, I was too at first. So I gave it the shake test, then a violent shake test...and then a solid 8 hours in my pocket at work test. The waxy polypropylene plastic on the cap held onto my iPod touch earphones like a charm; the rubbery coating on the wire works well to its advantage. I cannot promise that all earphones will work. But given the amount effort and materials needed, don’t you want to try? Enjoy!



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    8 Discussions


    5 years ago

    For the life of me i could never get the cord stuck in the cap, I've tried different coils but to no avail any tips?


    I can imagine if you had the skills, to knit like little things like jellyfish bodies, or squid ones, to make them look like little squids and jellyfish


    7 years ago on Step 4


    I have my version of this with a piece of the tube from a fax paper roll. Check it out here:


    I'd remove the top of this chapstick cap, I think it'd be better.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I like your solution. A napkin ring was actually what first inspired this idea, which works precisely like your concept. There are several reasons though, why I ended with a cap rather than a ring.

    Ironically when I went looking for mockup materials to test the "ring" idea, I came across an empty chapstick container - it seemed like it would be just about the right size. Before going through the trouble of cutting out the top of the cap though, I decided I would see if the diameter was actually going to give me the correct fit. Upon stuffing my coiled headphones into the cap I found the fit to be much better than I had originally expected; and when I went to pull the coil back out, I realized the hold it had was actually quite good.

    In addition to a good grip, I found in comparison to an open ring, the closed cap provided a certain level of feedback once the coil reached the inside of the top surface; it was like it said, "Ok, I'm on." After that point I decided I would see how well the cap functioned after prolonged time inside a pocket and it actually did well, really well.

    What solidified the transition to a cap though, was material choice. Lip balm is a ubiquitous product. Not only is it ubiquitous, it's disposable, meaning a lot of chapstick packaging is ending up in landfills; yes it's recyclable, but being recyclable and actually being recycled are two very different things. Plastic is an amazing material. I find one of it's more amazing properties to be the ability to take on almost any color (Podcap colorways, yay!). But realistically, far too much of it goes to waste. So the idea that Podcap might keep a little bit of plastic away from the landfill, in addition to being a useful object, added mega bonus points to the design in my perspective.

    And not to upset DeadlyDad, but prior to the headphones I now have stuffed inside a Podcap, I had been stuffing an older generation of Apple earphones in between the clip of an iPod shuffle with an even smaller coil size for close to 4 years - not once did I have to replace them.

    Well, If you actually read this exceedingly longer than intentionally planned reply, I hope it gives you a little insight into my thought process. I enjoyed seeing your concept and the feedback. Thanks!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    :cringe: Just... no. (If you want to cut the end of it off and use it as a ring, that's fine.) Even if you don't want to follow a wiring code (which is in place for good reasons), it is simply common sense to not bend a wire too tightly; no tighter than six times its diameter is the standard because it works. (My kids go through earbuds every couple of months or sooner because they don't take care to wrap the cable carefully, while mine have lasted over three years because I do. 'Nuff said.)

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I guess. ...if 'fun' includes trying to get your dad to buy you new ear buds all the time. I just tell them the same thing: "You broke it; you buy it."