How to Make an MP3 Amplifier out of a Can

The MP3 player is great for personal music enjoyment but what about when you’d like to share the music around or spare yourself having to wear earphones? While you could buy or tote around some speakers, the nifty hack here shows you how to instantly create an amplifier for the MP3 that uses only an empty drink can, great for moments when a speaker isn’t an option. So, after you’ve downed the drink, start amplifying your music and sparing yourself having to wear the pesky earphones.


1. Assemble the needed items. Find a can (such as a Coca Cola can) and, of course, your MP3 player––keep the earphones plugged in. Rinse out the can and allow it to dry before use, as you don’t want sticky earphones. You’ll also need something to pierce the can base with, such as a nail. If you don’t have access to a nail, find something else that is sharp enough such as a nail file or a very strong pen.

2. Pierce several holes in the bottom of the can with the nail. Make the holes mostly near the center of the can’s base. Use a hammer to help make them if you don’t have the strength to pierce the can.

3. Feed the earphones in through the top of the can. Feed them through the hole where you drink from. If you want, they can be taped in place to prevent them from moving about but this is probably only needed if you’re moving, such as in a bike pannier or in the car, or if the can is in an awkward position. See how the earphones sit before taping.

4. Turn on the MP3 player at the other end of the earphones. Turn up the volume until it is loud enough to hear. It may take some volume adjusting to hear the sound well enough, but once you have the volume accurate, the sound should be clearly audible.


  • If taping the earphones, tape them with the part with the wire sticking up.
  • This is a great way for making a little bit of shared sound at a picnic for a small group, when snoozing on a hammock, relaxing in the back yard, sitting in a room with others, in a tent, etc.
  • A classier source for the can will obviously improve your standing with the company, though this is a useful party trick in any capacity. Use PBR for full hipster street cred.
  • Try a tall boy (16 or 24oz) can for more bass!


  • Obviously, piercing the can will create sharp edges. Be careful when making this part of the can amplifier.
  • Putting volume at full blast may damage the earphones and ruin their quality.
  • Make sure the can is completely empty. Liquids can irreparably damage the earphones.
  • Be careful not to damage your earphones by cutting them on any sharp edge.

Things You’ll Need

  • MP3 player
  • Headphones suited to speaker
  • Aluminum can (soft drink, beer, etc.), cleaned and dry
  • Tape (optional, if earphones are likely to move)
  • Nail (or similar object)
  • Hammer (optional)
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This entry was posted on Friday, January 6th, 2012 at 7:06 pm and is filed under Gadgets. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.