Vinyl covered headsets tend to deteriorate over time. I decided to try to recover the ear piece pads to prevent black flakes from sticking to my face every time I used them. This tutorial is using a Sennheiser PC350 headset that is almost 10 years old. I imagine you can use similar principles to recover your own.
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Step 1: Disassembly
These ear piece pads can be popped out just using your hands since they are held on by the plastic ring (fig.1) that clip into small tabs on the headset. There is a harder inner ring that can be squeezed out from under the top one (fig. 2&3). The material that holds the foam was glued to the top ring, and needs to be peeled off (fig. 4&5). Then the fabric can be taken apart. These were deteriorating so badly that the seams came apart with almost no effort. You may need to use a seam ripper if yours is not (fig. 6). Take the foam out and set all pieces aside for the next step (fig. 7).
Step 2: Make and Use Your Templates
Using the pieces you disassembled, use paper or cardboard to make some templates since you will have to make 2 of each piece (fig. 1&2). Decide what fabric you want to recover them in, I had some leftover stretchy material from another project that will hopefully not deteriorate as quickly because it's meant to withstand sweat. Use your templates to cut out the fabric portions (fig. 3&4). I used foam cushioning from Walmart which is 3/4" thick and claims to be hypoallergenic and odourless (fig. 5) for the pads. From this cut out a oval using your foam template and trim it to the desired poofiness. It does not have to be perfectly round since the fabric will round it for you. Also keep in mind that it will likely compress over time (fig. 6&7).
Step 3: Sew Your Fabric
Turn the two fabric pieces right side in and sew along the middle seam. I used a sewing machine but you could definitely hand sew this. Just make sure the seam is tight since there will be some force on it.
Step 4: Glue Your Fabric to Your Outer Ring
Use a hot glue gun to run a small bead of glue along the outer most part of the wrong of the top ring (got that?)(fig. 1). In other words, if you remember where the previous fabric was attached to: glue your fabric there. The piece that you'll glue down first is the smaller oval and the right side of the fabric gets glued to the wrong side of the ring. It's easiest to do if you pull the larger oval through the smaller oval's hole (fig. 2).
Step 5: Place Your Foam
Your piece should look taut on the edges and a wrinkled mess in the center (fig. 1). Put your foam piece with the bottom to the hard ring and pull the larger oval fabric through the hole (fig. 2). Then carefully wrap the larger oval fabric to cover the foam and attach at the same point you did with the smaller oval with hot glue (fig. 3). You'll be attaching the right side of the large oval to the wrong side of the small oval. You'll end up with an entirely wrapped piece of foam on a hard ring (fig. 4).
Step 6: Reassembly
When you disassembled, there was a second inner ring that you took out. Put it back in, you'll likely have to squeeze it and you may pop some of your seams. Just glue them back together and clip those pads back in the headset, you're done!
Things I learned while doing this:
1. Thicker foam is probably better, even though it may be uncomfortable at first it will fill out the fabric and allow you to create a smoother finish.
2. Stretchy fabric is a good idea if you are able to pull it taut, otherwise it just looks like a wrinkly mess.
3. Hot glue doesn't always stick to plastic. Make sure you glue gun is HIGH heat or use super glue.
4. Keep your templates. You may want to recover your ear pieces again in the future. Remember to label them.