The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
April 25, 2011

Crochet Your Own Plastic-Free Headphone Ear Pads

Back in January, I posted on my Facebook profile:

The foam pads (read: plastic) on my headphones are wearing out. Motivation to learn to crochet because I hate round knitting.

Well, this weekend, April 23, I finally summoned up the motivation to learn enough crochet basics to fix my headphones.

See, even though I use my wooden thinksound ear buds for most electronic listening, I also have a pair of big cordless headphones for watching TV late at night and another scrappy pair of regular headphones that probably came with an old Walkman or something. The foam pads on both pairs were just in shreds. And while it’s possible to buy replacements, I didn’t want any new plastic.

worn out headphones

So, after Googling for a while (my favorite thing) I found some instructions for crocheting my own.

Crochet Headphone Covers from Craftbits.com

Crochet: Headphone Covers, Revisited from Sewhooked.org.

Great! Except I didn’t know how to crochet. My grandmother taught me to make Granny Squares when I was little, but that knowledge has gone the way of the monster under my bed waiting to grab my feet. Fortunately, being a knitter, I knew I could learn easily and already had the yarn and even a few crochet hooks. So, I consulted Youtube to learn to do the things I needed to do:

1) Make a Magic Circle. There are several videos explaining this procedure, but this one was the easiest for me to follow at midnight when I started my project.

2) Single Crochet.

3) Double Crochet.

Since my headphones were different sizes and shapes, I had to play with the instructions to make them fit. The first pair were fairly round, and I just followed the instructions from Craftbits.com, adding a couple more rows to make them bigger.

crocheted headphone ear pads

When the ear pads were the right size, I put them on the headphones and used a needle to weave the tail of the yarn in and out along the edge and then pulled it taught to make a tight fit. Then, I tied the end into a bow so that I can easily get the ear pads off again if I need to clean or repair them.

crocheted headphone ear pads

Making the ear pads for my cordless headphones was a little trickier because the headphones are kind of egg-shaped. I used the double crochet for the longer part and kept that section narrower than the rest by making 1 double crochet in each of those stitches while I was making 2 single crochets in every other stitch of the wider rounder part. If these instructions are not terribly helpful, it’s because I don’t really know the language of crocheting, and I’m not even sure I did it properly. But my creation works. Here are the cordless headphones:

crocheted headphone ear pads

So, how does the sound through the wool yarn compare to the sound through plastic foam? I don’t hear much difference. These are not the headphones I wear for serious music listening, so it doesn’t really matter anyway. For listening to TV or computer at night, they sound just fine to me.

Now don’t get the wrong idea.  I’m not making you a pair, so don’t ask. The point of this post is that there’s usually a DIY way to avoid buying new plastic, that fixing things should be the first strategy before replacing them when they break, and that Google is our friend. Usually. (I think I might have found these instructions via Bing back in January when Google refused to cooperate. Supposedly Google has gotten better.)

If your headphone ear pads go bad and you can’t crochet, don’t want to learn, don’t know anyone else who does, and can’t think of any other way to fix them, why not put in a request on Etsy.com?  Many Etsy craftspeople are happy to do custom orders. Just find someone with the type of skill you need and contact them.

Here are a few more relevant links:

Knit cute little replacement pads for your earbuds.

Make ear phone padding from old socks.

18 comments
RachaelWitchyClark
RachaelWitchyClark

Just pinned this on my Pinterest. I've done this for at least 3 sets of headphones, preparing to do another. Very glad I came across this tut. Thank you for posting it :)

RachaelWitchyClark
RachaelWitchyClark

Just pinned this on my Pinterest. I've done this for at least 3 sets of headphones, preparing to do another. Very glad I came across this tut. Thank you for posting it :)

Mary Canadagirl
Mary Canadagirl

Thank you soooooooooo much for the how to's on this.  I am always trying to protect the earphone pads and now I have a solution if ( or when) they tear. Thank you again!

 

-Mary

Mary Canadagirl
Mary Canadagirl

Thank you soooooooooo much for the how to's on this.  I am always trying to protect the earphone pads and now I have a solution if ( or when) they tear. Thank you again!

 

-Mary

susan
susan

omg....i did the same thing, using yarn. i thought i was the only 1 that clever

Betsy (Eco-novice)
Betsy (Eco-novice)

Brilliant! Personally, I'd rather buy some of these on Etsy than figure out how to do it myself. I never learned to crochet, and don't really have the patience for that at the moment. Maybe I KNOW someone who can crochet and can bribe? Anyway, would love to have some of these for my preschooler watching DVDs on car trips.

Amy
Amy

GENIUS!!!! I kinda like the yarn ear pads better than the original. They look so cozy. And if you should ever leave your headphones behind, you won't have any trouble finding your pair in the pile of lost and found black headphones.

Shannon
Shannon

I have those very same Sony headphones, with the very same problem, so a few months ago I sewed little flannel covers for them. Each has a ribbon running through the channel made by the seam around the edge; just pull the ribbon tight and tie it in a cute little bow to keep them snug. I left the falling-apart foam in place for padding. They are comfy and crafty :)

Eve Stavros
Eve Stavros

Love this! I know what I'm going to crochet next!!! Also wanted to share with you that I've crocheted what I'll call "Tiffin warmers" to fit over my tiffin containers, since they're sometimes too hot to handle when I get my to-go food - especially when I just use one of them, like for hot-and-sour soup. I can't wait to see the funny looks I'm sure I'll get at the Chinese take-away next time, when I come in with my cute little striped tiffin warmers snugged on the pots!

Tracey
Tracey

In my laziness, I have used a pair of baby socks tied on. Looks waaaay less cool crafty than yours. Yay, Beth!

Laura Bullinger
Laura Bullinger

Well, the yarn makes them look like winter ear muffs. I think that a substitution of a knit fabric, or sock, would be better. Then just trim around the sock circle to gather it up snug using a delicate crochet cord of cotton yarn instead of this heavier acrylic yarn.

Blessed
Blessed

These are fantastic! So cute and comfy looking too. Thanks for sharing the process to inspire the rest of us. (And I completely encourage the whole etsy thing--let the rest of us lazy and/or un-crafty people support American artists in our green urges. : )

Rebecca
Rebecca

Awesome! My headphones are still pretty new, but if (or I guess, when) they wear out, I will definitely try to fix them this way! And since my brother complained he was afraid my earbuds would fall apart in his ears when he borrowed them a few days ago, I'll definitely look into that knitting project!

Dmarie
Dmarie

what a great way to "make over" the headset rather than tossing & buying new. well done!

EcoCatLady
EcoCatLady

I'm so impressed! Unfortunately what's broken on mine (which is actually a telephone headset not headphones) is the plastic band that goes around your head... Anybody got any brilliant ideas for fixing that in a non-plastic way?

Tara
Tara

"Now don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not making you a pair, so don’t ask." Love it!

Anna@GreenTalk
Anna@GreenTalk

Okay. Can you make some for a friend?? So clever. Now I want to learn how to make the ear phone pads form old socks!