Winter has fully arrived in Massachusetts. While digging through our “Hats” box today, I happened upon a flappy number from last year. Santa recently brought me some cheap headphones, and a few amplified speakers too (but those are for another project). Tonight turned out to be the time to merge the two into a Headphone Hat. I’ve been thinking of the Rock Star MP3 Headphones project in Fashioning Technology as an inspiration for a way to take music on the go. There is a similar project in Diana Eng’s Fashion Geek.
First thing was to gather all of what I would need. Recently, I’ve put together a couple of sewing kits that are ready to travel or stay at home for traditional sewing and soft circuit projects. Inside this particular kit was a bit too much of each thing I might need in a clear pencil case: Too many kinds of thread, too many pins and needles, too many LEDs, and it didn’t need two pincushions. When I opened the top, I noticed that the inside of the top would be a handy storage area. It would be nice if there were a way to hold supplies into the lid. The sewing kit modification will have to wait for another day. A nice sharp pair of shears, a seam ripper, some thread, and a needle were all this project called for.
Looking at the flaps on the hat, I saw that they have a seam on the outside edge. I opened it up with the seam ripper, popped the medium-sized headphones into the holes, and then reinforced each side of the openings to keep the seam from unraveling. The headphone jack fit into my phone, though an iPod or MP3 player would work well. If the headphones had a microphone, this would integrate nicely with a cellphone for hands-free use.
This was a very easy, yet functional project, a nice combination. It’s easy to do a basic version with other options to add as time, materials, and desires warrant. This project could be done pretty much anywhere. It transforms a hat into something that does what most hat’s can’t do. The headphones can come out so the hat can be washed. The time stamps on the pictures I took indicate that it was only a half hour to complete, including watching some TV, and taking photos of the process. It was an inexpensive project, these are cheapo headphones (the kit of three was $12), and the hat was one I had in my hat box already. All of these aspects of the Headphone Hat project make me want to try it again.
There are certainly some ways that this project could be improved with other features. Quality headphones would be an obvious upgrade. A power circuit and some LEDs would add some fun visuals. For the truly adventurous, adding a Brain Machine kit would be festive. If I were to go this route, it’d make sense to sew the LEDs that would normally go in the glasses on the Brain Machine to a removable fabric strip which could be folded down over the wearer’s eyes.
As I wear the Headphone Hat this evening, it appears that it would be nice to have a guide inside each of the flaps to keep the speakers positioned consistently at ear level. This could be achieved with a bit of hook and loop material inside the flap and on each speaker of the headphones, or there could be some guides sewn or pinned into the flap.
How have you integrated your electronics into your winter wear?