Make a black iPhone/iPod headset

I like the stock iPhone headset. They sound okay as headphones, their mic is pretty good, and setup is much easier than with a Bluetooth headset. Plus they’re pretty cheap at $29. I also liked the stock iPod headphones, for similar reasons. I’m clumsy with headphones and tend to break or lose them. But these stock headsets stand out. The white headphone cables has become part of the Apple marketing message that I’d rather not take part of. So all I want is a black version of the Apple headsets. Since no one sells that, guess I’ll have to make my own. After trying many different substances (PlastiDip, black shoe polish, vinyl dye, & regular MarksALot), the best solution appears to be Sharpie Magnums.

To make your own, just put painters’ tape over the delicate parts of the headphones, and then start painting the cable with the Sharpie Magnum.

Be sure to do it over a piece of scratch paper or other surface you don’t care about. Don’t try to do it all in one go: do a bit, let it dry, continue. Once you’re done, let it dry for a day or so. Then peel off the painters’ tape and enjoy.

17 Replies to “Make a black iPhone/iPod headset”

  1. Thanks for the positive comments, rabidpuppy. And I’m glad I saved you from suicide by not giving you the headset. The ear pieces aren’t tintable because of the type of plastic it is, and I didn’t want aftermarket dye on my skin. In the article I state that I tried vinyl dye and it didn’t work.

  2. That looks terrible! I would jump off a bridge if I had to use those. The ends are still white.

    What about a vinyl dye?

    For shame.

  3. Apple may have changed the formulation of the plastic on the headphone leads. The plastic on the plug and the headphones was different enough to not take a dye. Or the huge 1″-wide Sharpie I used is different than normal Sharpies (it certainly smells a bit different). I do know that the Marks-A-Lot marker I have didn’t work nearly as well as the big Sharpie.

  4. Just go a buy some good back headphones and an multi button adaptor. Beat the hell out looking like on of the sheep at the bus stop.

  5. Tested a sharpie on my iphone headphones and left it for a minute then I rubbed it and it completely came off. Nice try but no one wants black stains all over their clothes unless of course you are “Hardcore”.

  6. Doh, that’s a bummer.
    It’s been several months after I’ve used the just big Sharpie on my headphone cables and they still look good and hasn’t worn off.

  7. Be forewarned the clear coat will ruin the headphones. The stuff I applied made them tacky and rubbed off even more than the plain Sharpie dye. Lesson learned.

  8. Who cares if it rubs off, it’ll make you more hardcore. I’d carry a Sharpie at all times for emergency touch-ups.

  9. @Jimbo: Well if you put Sharpie ink on a flat surface like metal or plastics it WILL flake off over time. I have painted several things with Sharpies and it doesn’t work. If you let the ink dry thoroughly before applying the clear coat there is no running whatsoever and a “stiffening” of the chord is a relative expression. Some people might notice, some won’t.

  10. Sharpie marker will NOT “dry up and flake off” as a previous comment referred to. Actually, putting clear coat paint or shellac on them will result in running of the marker and stiffening of the cords and subsequent flaking of the clear coat.

    Sharpie marker will fade and rub off and if it’s touching your skin it will rub off onto your neck, especially if you’re sweating.

    Ghetto idea.

  11. Great idea, r0ck, about the clear coat.
    I stayed away from normal paint and went for something more like dye (which is what the Sharpie ink appears to be doing in this case) because when I’ve tried to paint flexible objects in the past, the paint doesn’t flex as well and flakes off.

  12. I would suggest spraying on a couple layers of clear coat after you’re done drying the ink. Sharpie ink usually gets really dry after a while, loses it’s adhesion and flakes off. Since most people will be wearing this under their clothes there’s also a good chance of rubbing the ink of with zippers, hard-ish plastic parts or abrasive fabrics. The color will wear pretty quickly at least in some places. Then you’ll end up with a flaky ugly set of wires. A couple layers of clear coat (2-3 let dry between each) should at least make this a little more durable.

    Maybe if you use sandpaper to roughen the surface and then put on some black metal paint and a single clear coat you should get a much sturdier result.

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