Step right up, ladies and gentleman, and witness a true miracle. Tangle-free headphone cords! A feat of modern engineering and… well, macrame.
If you’ve ever made a friendship bracelet before, then this will be easy peasy. If not, it’ll still be easy peasy, as long as tying a knot is something you consider easy peasy.
I’m using earbuds, but you can use this technique for the big over-the-head style headphones, too. For that matter, you can use this technique to cover any kind of cord, either for the no-tangle benefits or just to make it more aesthetically pleasing.
Check out the video or follow along with the text/photo instructions below.
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Grab your headphones, and some embroidery floss. You can get this stuff in a bajillion different colors, and it’s cheap as heck. Don’t shy away from going multicolor, but you could do it all in one solid color, too. I’m going candy-colored rainbow.
One skein should be more than enough to cover one set of cords, but this does depend on the length of your cord. If you go with a single color, you might want to buy two skeins, just in case. If you’re doing more than one color, you’ll have more than enough to cover a single cord with your 2+ skeins.
You can do color changes randomly, or you can eyeball it. Or you can get kinda anal about it and measure it all out. I’m going to measure mine. Every two inches I want to change colors, so I’m going to mark every two inches with a piece of masking tape.
Once you’ve got it all marked, we shall commence with the knotting. Cut yourself a length of the embroidery thread. We’ll start with a simple double knot.
After you’ve tied the first knot, you really want to make sure you’ve got it snugged up to the edge of the cord.
Now we’ll take the short end of the tail and hold it against the cord, so that when we start wrapping the cord, we’ll also be wrapping the thread tail.
If you’re familiar at all with making friendship bracelets, you probably know this knot. It’s called a spiral knot, and it’s really just a plain old single knot that happens to form a spiral as it winds down the cord.
So that’s what we do. Knot, knot, knot. All the way down.
Once you hit your first mark, it’s time to stop and grab your next thread color.
Tie the new thread on.
Then loop the new thread around both the cord, the old thread, and the new thread tail.
If you wind up with a little gap between the two colors, you can pull on the thread tails and snug everything up.
Knot, knot knot, until you get maybe 1/2” or so, and then you can trim the thread tails. They’re kind of a pain if you don’t trim them.
Don’t mind the fact that my threads are magically a different color now.
Onward! After a few more rounds of knotting, you’ll barely even be able to tell where you trimmed the threads.
Alright back to work! Knot knot knot, until you get to the next color change, and you repeat this forever and ever until you get to the other end of the cord.
For this spot where the right and left sides meet, I’m just going to hop over to the other cord and knot all the way back up to the top.
You can skip the masking tape marks on this side. Just switch colors to match the other side.
Here’s another little tip. If you have a cord keeper around or even just a rubberband or maybe a clothespin, you can wrap up the ends you’re not currently working on, which keeps the extra cord stuff out of your face while you’re knotting.
OK, so now we’re at the end of the line. What to do with this last thread tail?
(I’m showing the jack end, but this is the same method I used to finish the earbud end.)
I’ve tried to keep most of my knots pretty tight throughout this process. But for the last maybe 5-10 knots, I’ve left them a little looser. Not TOO loose, but a wee bit.
I’m going to use a big jumbo upholstery needle (the same one I use to tuck my serger tails) to thread it up through the last few stitches.
Pull the last thread tail through.
Now I pull tight and trim.
That’s pretty much it. Start knotting at one end, and when you get to the other end, tuck that last tail in.
I told you it was easy peasy!