Picture of Knit replacement pads for your earbuds
There are a lot of bad earbuds out there, but it seems that even the ones that are halfway decent are covered in half a micron of cheap black foam that tears at the slightest provocation.

Why not replace the foam with a well-knit cover made from good yarn? Here's how.

NOTE: this Instructable assumes that you have a basic knowledge of knitting techniques: casting on, knit, purl, and increasing.  If you don't, I recommend you spend some time perusing the Yarn section of Instructables, check out some knitting books from your library, or find some like-minded folks to help you get started.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Besides your target earbuds, you need a few other items to make this project happen.

Yarn - the finest you can get.  I used some fingering lambswool I recycled from a thrift store sweater (Great info on recycling sweaters is available here).  It's okay to use pure wool, since this won't ever get washed.  Sock yarn would be great.
Knitting Needles - smaller is better! I used my finest double-pointed set from KnitPicks: 2mm in diameter. You'll need four needles.
Sewing Needle (pictured at Step 5). This project has to be stitched shut, so a good needle is essential.  Try to find a thin one with a blunt point and large eye, usually sold as "tapestry" needles.
Crochet Hook (optional, pictured at Step 3). With such small yarn and a tiny first loop, a good small hook can be helpful for casting on.
Boomfly5 years ago
Ah, I tried crocheting something like this, it came out horrible, but these seem like they'll work. I can't wait to give it a go, but the only fine yarn I have is wool sock yarn, and I'm a little uneasy about wool in my ears. The idea is even itchy, and much to warm.
yoyology (author)  Boomfly5 years ago
They don't itch, at least in my experience, and they soften with use as the wool absorbs oils and wax from your skin and becomes conditioned. As for excess warmth, they are no hotter than the synthetic foam.
Thankies, that's good to know.
Harvard825 years ago
Nice job...I wonder if you could make one for my gear shifter in my car? I have an aluminum shift knob that bakes in the sun and can barely shift without burning my hands in the summer.
yoyology (author)  Harvard825 years ago
I'm sure it could be done, but unless you live in Oklahoma, or want to pay my travel expenses from here, it doesn't make much sense for me to do it. I would need to be able to work right there and test-fit as I went. You'd be better off finding a local knitter to take the project on. Google the name of your city and "LYS" or "local yarn store" to find a place where knitters gather. Walk in with the photo above and ask politely if anyone wants to try something interesting. I'll bet you have volunteers within 10 minutes. Knitters love a challenge. :-)
So, wouldn't a tiny simple cotton doily work too (for the earbuds) or, just crochet a bigger one in Sugar&Cream cotton yarn and tie it around the gearshift. Wouldn't that work?
Take a brown paper lunch bag and throw it on the shift stick before you leave your car for a long period of time.lol or put a sock over it
As great of an idea as that is because it would actually work, I was hoping for something a little more fashionable.
yoyology (author)  Harvard825 years ago
If you want something that just fits loosely, and is removable, I could probably do that. PM me if you are interested.
I just finished a couple of these little jewels. Know what else they're good for?¿ My Bluetooth headset/earpiece. I produce a lot of earwax wax, especially on hot days, so these are perfect for preventing a gunky earpiece.

Thanks! &=)
earwax wax ??? autocorrect at it's finest!
manderw1 year ago

I love this. Sadly for me I have never learned to knit, but I'm thinking of trying to make a sewn version.

Do you have a pattern for the crocheted ones?
yoyology (author)  CakadaOokamiko3 years ago
There was no pattern, really. I basically made a teeny tiny granny square and worked my way around from there.
danielemur5 years ago
I have those same earphones and the foam piece came off on both sides! :) Great instructable.
yoyology (author)  danielemur5 years ago
Thanks! Good luck with your version. If you make a set, post a pic!
Are these not incredibly itchy? It's a funky idea, but the thought of putting wool (or yarn) in my ears is making me feel all itchy.
yoyology (author)  bad ass pope5 years ago
I've not had a problem with itchiness. Someone who has a wool allergy would obviously have trouble. To be frank, after a couple of uses, the natural oils and wax from your ear canals smooth down any protruding fibers in the yarn.
Just wondering, what on earth is your avatar a picture of?

It's the inside of my mouth. You can see the uvula hanging in the back there :-) And the teeth at the top and that big flat bit at the bottom's my tongue! Glaaaar!
jatoha5 years ago
Great idea! I want to try a crochet version!
yoyology (author)  jatoha5 years ago
Crochet is actually a bit easier to start, but it ends up bulkier because of the nature of the crochet stitch. Basically, you would use your smallest hook and make a teeny-tiny granny circle. :-)
amybmorris5 years ago
Would it be easier to not bind off and use a needle to thread the tail through the live stitches, place the cover on the ear bud, pull the tail to tighten and stitch to secure?
yoyology (author)  amybmorris5 years ago
It would certainly work. I don't know if it would be easier or harder. I'd find threading the tail through the stitches more fiddly than binding off, but that's a personal preference. I also like the way the crisscrossing stitches look on the back.