Radio Redux: How to Embed a Radio in a Scarf




Introduction: Radio Redux: How to Embed a Radio in a Scarf

This Instructable is a guide for how to embed an average consumer radio in a scarf. I named it the Snugsounds radio and I developed the idea for a university project. There are things I would change about the radio now but here is how I went about its creation.

Materials you will need:
- average consumer radio (I used the Sony ICF-S22)
- 2m of felt (colour of your choice)
- 30cm square or felt (different colour to above)
- 2m polyester padding
- 9 red LEDs
- 2 small speakers
- wires
- solder
- 3 large buttons of your choice
- Araldite
- 2 snap fasteners

Tools you will need:
- pliers
- soldering iron
- sewing machine and dress pins
- scissors
- needle and thread

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Step 1: Dismantle a Radio and Extend Wires

I started by opening up my radio. Take care as you do this not to destroy any vital components inside that you will be using later on in the project.

Once I had come up with the design I began extending wires where needed. I took the existing speaker off and attached 2 slightly smaller speakers in parallel. This worked fine for me with out losing power in the speakers but if you are using a different radio or speakers I would check at this point to make sure they will work.

I connected 9 red LEDs in parallel and wired them into where the tuning indicator LED had been. I did this so the scarf would light up when it is in tune. Its not essential but does look great.

I wanted the radio to be turned on by an interaction with the scarf. I decided to put buttons running up the front and to turn the radio on you need to do up one of them. For this I extended the batteries so they would be on the opposite end of the scarf to the circuit board. One wire runs along the scarf to the battery cell and another goes to the button. A wire also comes from the battery cell to the associated button hole so that when this button is done up the circuit is completed. It sounds more complex than it is.

The other 2 buttons on the front of the scarf are for the volume and tuning. They don't need extending as the circuit board goes directly underneath the other buttons.

Step 2: Cut Out Material and Padding

I made the scarf 2m long so it would give enough room to get all the way around your neck and also have space for the speakers and buttons.

I made the scarf 25cm wide. This I regret with this specific material. The felt and padding combo makes it too stiff and chunky for how wide it is. I would have gone for 20cm maybe 15cm wide if I was to make another. If you are using a floppy material you should be ok.

Whatever width or length you go for make the paddy 1or2 cm less as when you are folding the felt over to make hems you don;t want them getting too chunky with padding inside them.

Step 3: Sew Poaches for Battery Cell and Circuit Board

With the second felt/fabric measure around both your battery cell and circuit board separately. Fold the fabric over so it covers the piece and sew the sides dodging any protruding wires. Once you've done this sew the snap fasteners into place in the middle of the front of the poach leaving a 2cm gap between the top and the fastener to allow for seams.

Step 4: Lay Out Wires on Material

Now you have your completed circuit lay all the components onto your material and padding in the position you want them in. I found some of the wires quite curly and they didn't want to sit right so I pinned them down temporarily.

Put a layer of padding over the wires and remove any pins that are still in place. Then you are ready to put your second/top layer of felt down. Pin around the edges, tucking the cut edge into the inside of the scarf. Leave ends open and battery wire exposed so you can find it later.

Step 5: Sew Scarf Edges

Set up your sewing machine and neatly sew the long edges of your scarf. Take care to catch the cut edges inside the hem so they are not uneven or messy.

Step 6: Cut and Sew Holes for LEDs and Speakers

This is a tricky stage. So tricky that whilst I was concentrating on doing it right I forgot to take adequate photos. For this I apologise and hope my description helps.

I located each LED by running my hand over the scarf to feel them underneath the felt. After locating the LED I took a small pair of scissors and cut a hole through both the felt and padding. CAREFUL not to cut any wires hidden inside! I poked the LED through the hole and used a needle and thread to tighten the hole around the LED. I made sure I went under the wires of the LED so I was effectively sewing the LED to the outside of the scarf. I also put stitches from one side of the LED under it to the other so the LED was forced against the outside layer of felt when the stitch was tightened.

For the speakers. Locate the speaker and cut a hole for it to fit through. This should be accurately sized and circular. Cover the speaker with a square of your second colour of felt. I sewed it in similarly to the LED. This is very fiddly. Try to keep your stitches tight so the speaker doesn't wriggle out.

Step 7: Cut Holes for Buttons and Glue/wire Them On

This is also a very tricky stage. Unfortunately I had to do this a couple of times for the Araldite to hold and I'm wanting to develop another way of connecting the buttons.

Firstly, locate your tuner and volume control on your circuit board through the felt. Once you've found them, cut holes to expose them through the felt and padding. This hole doesn't have to be tiny, as long as your button is a bit larger than the hole it should be fine.

Now, I came across a problem at this stage. The padding and felt was too thick for my buttons to be glued on to the circuit board directly so... I used 2 smaller buttons glued one on top of each other as extenders. This does actually work well but if I had known before I would maybe have used a small piece of wood or similar. Prepare your Araldite carefully following its instructions. Apply to all 3 buttons and leave for... a while until it has set a bit. It doesn't have to be completely set for the next stage just don't do this next bit when the joins are still super fresh.

Apply a small drop of Araldite on to the component, be careful to only touch the part of the component that moves. Put a small drop of Araldite on the back of the button construction and press down on to component. Hold in place for up to ten minutes to make sure its held. Repeat for other component.

Cut a hole at an even space to the other buttons and tease the wire out. Get some spare wire and take off the plastic exterior and weave it through the 3rd button. Twist this into the exposed wire and Araldite the button in place or sew it into the hole so it doesn't come out.

Step 8: Create Button Holes

These are just done like any normal button hole. Follow sewing machine instructions. Hopefully your machine has a button-hole setting. After the three holes have been made and cut, expose the battery wire by making a small cut at the end of the third hole and pull the wire through. Wind the end of the wire in to a circle of exposed wire so that it is fairly chunky and stiff. Sew the circle of wire on to the button hole using as few stitches as possible so the conductive area isn't decreased. Also sew up the little hole where the wire is coming from so it looks neat.

Step 9: Sew the Ends of the Scarf

Fold in the ends of the scarf and sew them down. I hand sewed the areas around the pouches as they are too small to put near a machine. Also double fold the outer felt into the pouches so you don't see any cut edges on the inside. Neaten your scarf up by cutting off any loose threads and bits of fluff.

Step 10: WELL DONE! You Have Finished

So that is how I embedded a radio into a scarf. It was very fiddly and frustrating at times but it worked out in the end. Pop in some batteries and snuggle in for some quality listening time. Take it for a walk in the park or just wear it around the flat if, like me, you are a student and can't afford heating!

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.


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    5 Discussions


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    This reminds me of the BoneFone from when I was a kid in the late 70's early 80's. I actually had one. They looked funny but they sounded outstanding. The speakers actually sat right on your collarbones and faced outward.

    People around me would "think" they heard music but just barely. Meanwhile I am cranking it up. I would love to see the look on their faces when I would flip it off my shoulders and onto theirs.

    It really was amazing how quiet these little speakers were to someone nearby, yet, to the wearer it was like having headphones on but still be able to hear everything around you. I'd say that the speakers were around 2" in diameter. Not the tiny little jobbies that are in earbuds today. You didn't actually "hear" the music with your ears. It vibrated thru your collarbones and skull. seriously. It was Nothing like headphones.

    (I know I just contradicted myself but that's about it) I read somewhere that after Beethoven went deaf he would place a brass rod between his teeth and touch the other end to the piano and he could hear what he was playing.

    Great Idea!! Great 'ible!!


    8 years ago on Step 10

    So when you sew these peices are any of the peices using conductive thread because if sew (pun intended) Then its a no go for the project because i dont have any conductive thread


    8 years ago on Introduction

    As someone who hates earphones i like the wrap around sound!