Vintage Headphones Leather Cushions





Introduction: Vintage Headphones Leather Cushions

About: I'm passionate about making things and prototypes in variety of techniques from fabric sewing to 3D printing to metal casting.


This is my first instructable, the way I restored my old headphones after original leather-imitation peeled off some years ago, and my attempt to leather contest. So prepare your tools, make and vote (or just enjoy)!

Step 1: What Do You Need

1. Full size headphones

They doesn't have to be vintage, they can be even brand-new but make sure if their ear-cushioning is detachable. It saves your time and nerves.

2. Piece of leather

I used a little stiff leather for bag making. I think it was about 1mm thick. The softer the better and easier. You can also use soft suede leather.

3. Tools

  • calipers
  • sharp scissors
  • strong synthetic thread
  • tailor meter (optional)
  • straight and upholstery needle
  • thimble (believe me it's impossible to sew leather without it)
  • some cardboard for templates

Step 2: Measure

Carefully examine your headphones how they are made. Try to follow existing solutions. Find material to sew to (don't try to sew to foam, if you really don't have any point you could catch try to wrap whole cushion with leather and sew it to itself).

Measure distances. Most of them are bend so use tailor meter or thread and compare its length with ruler. You need outside circumference, inside circumference and length between them. Very important is circumference of plastic part used for attaching pads. Measure bail lengths (along sewing line) and its width at several points.

Prepare cardboard templates. Compare them with headphones. The more subdivided they are the easier they "flow" with the design. Remember leather is flexible but its flexibility is limited. I made ear cushion from 6 radial pieces and bail from 2, but they are a little edgy, consider more.

TIP: I found unwrapping tools in 3D software handy for speeding up the process. Just measure the pod, model it, unwrap and use printed templates.

Step 3: Cut & Sew

Use your templates to outline all pieces on the back of leather sheet. Offset outlines by 2-3 mm where they will be sewed. You wand all seams to be hidden, so start from sewing inside out and do it as tight as possible. I did it with spiral seam but I figured out back and forth seam should work better because it is stronger.

Make outside ring. It will be used for creating "pocket" for plastic piece what allows to mount ear-pad. Try its fitting.

When you've got all ear-pad pieces sewed together put them inside pad and sew with upholstery needle to its inner circumference. Than turn it right and sew together with reversed outside ring to outer circumference.

Turn outer ring right and finish the "pocket" by adding top circle.

Sew all bail pieces together and inside-out to bail from one side. Ok, here comes the most difficult part for me: sew other side the way the seam is inside. You will definitely need upholstery needle, some upholstery skills and a lot of patience.

Attach ear-pads to their places.

Step 4: Give It a Try

...And relax with your favorite record and luxury leather touch!

The cushioning will soften with time.

Thanks for reading. If you like my instructable vote for it!



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    14 Discussions


    Thank you!

    I see more great instructables here in the contest so competition is strong;)


    2 years ago

    You got my vote. However, I had hoped you were going to build new ear cushions, but you did an excellent job in designing and fabricating the covers.

    1 reply


    I used original pads, but if I had had them destroyed I would have used any foam in shape of torus. What come to my mind right now is something what girls use for making tight bun. I would have consider also foam stick bent 360 degrees.


    2 years ago

    Man that's just sweeeet ... cool idea and effect ... worth a vote ... ;) ...

    Really awesome job for your first instructable! Good luck for future projects

    I have a set of Bose noise-cancelling headphones - and I've replaced the earpieces twice. Thanks to you, I'll be doing it myself - and for the last time. Thanks!

    These look fantastic man!
    As a headphone reviewer these look like some of the comfiest pads I've come across!

    You could totally sell these on Etsy or something :)

    Dang, those look pretty comfortable!

    What a fantastic upgrade! My brother has the old school headphones like these. Thanks for sharing!


    2 years ago

    Thank you for kind words!

    Most of headphones use synthetic leather which degrade in contact with wet hair (and who doesn't love to listening to music in bath?).

    This restoration made cushions more long-life than its plastics! In fact the phones you see on main picture is done 5 years ago!

    Fantastic! I have a pair of cans I love but the pads are awful pleather.

    These turned out looking great! I love how the new look with the leather!