Friday, July 4, 2014

Best Knee Pad Covers Ever - Tutorial

Skating on a gym floor? Odds are you've been asked to cover your knee pad caps so as not to scratch the floor. You've tried cut off tights, bandanas, shirt sleeves, and everything quick and easy you can think of. These work in a pinch, if practice is NOW and your pads aren't covered. But investing a little bit of time in a longer term solution is completely worth it. No more holes the first time you fall, no more shirt sleeves dropping down onto your foot, no more hot & sweaty knees from the extra layer. And no more replacing your covers every week. I used this method on my first pair of knee pads, and the pads wore out before the covers did. I replaced my knee pads and therefore had to cover the new ones, so I thought I'd share what I did with you.

I actually didn't like the first set of new pads I bought (187 Pro, too bulky for my short legs), so I ended up getting some new new pads, so you'll see two different sets being covered here. One set had removable caps, and the other did not. Covering the removable caps is somewhat easier, but it still was not very hard on the187 Fly pads with the riveted caps. 

Here's what you need:
  • Blue masking tape
  • Fabric- Canvas, denim, duck, twill or other mostly cotton, fairly heavy fabric. I used a black denim with a little sparkle and some stretch I had laying around. Old jeans would work great. If you're buying it, 1/4 yard will be plenty.
  • Chalk, soap sliver, or white crayon or colored pencil for marking. A regular pencil will often work as well, depending on the color of your fabric. 
  • Spray adhesive
  • Newspaper
  • Scissors
  • X-Acto knife (optional)
  • Clear nail polish (optional)

First, you want to cover your caps with the blue tape. You want it as flat as possible, but it doesn't have to be perfect. Tear your pieces of tape longer than the cap and then trim them off and tuck them under as shown.If your caps are removable you can use an X-acto knife to trim tape off the Velcro so it doesn't interfere with the cap's ability to attach.

Next, you want to trace the rough outline of your cap. If your caps are removable, you can place them upside down on your fabric and trace around them; if they're not, then put the fabric over top and feel along the edge and mark it. Now cut the pieces out about an inch or even more outside the line you drew. Too big is better than too small. Make one piece for each cap.

If your caps are attached, tuck the fabric in around the caps to make sure it fits. Trim if necessary, but you want at least a half inch to tuck in all around the edges or it'll come undone. It'll still work, it just won't be as pretty and you might have to tape it.

Now lay out your newspaper and shake your spray adhesive according to the instructions, probably for at least a minute. I like doing this outside, because the spray adhesive oversprays and leaves a sticky film everywhere. And you have to do this part somewhat quickly, so make sure you won't be interrupted. Lay one piece of fabric down, right side down, on the newspaper, and spray it with adhesive according to the instructions. You want a generous coat, but you don't want it to saturate the fabric anywhere. You want to completely coat the fabric all the way to the edges, so spray back and forth past the edges. Make sure you're spraying the recommended distance- usually 8-10 inches- away. That's how you get a nice even coat. Mine wasn't perfect the first time, but by the time I did my 3rd pair I was a pro.

Now quickly pick up the fabric, center it sticky side down over your cap, and starting in the middle, smooth it down and toward the edges. Now the cap is rounded, and you will end up with some sort of pleat, that's OK. Try to make it so you only have two folds on the upper corners. I start in the middle and smooth to each side and down and then do the top, but leave the fold loose for the next step. As you do this, you can usually lift it up and move it if it's not exactly where you want it, but work pretty quickly too so the glue doesn't dry.

Take your scissors and cut the pleat as shown. Overlap the edges and smooth them down. Once you have done this, tuck the edges of the fabric under the cap in the middle of each edge, and then along the edge from the middle towards the corners, sticking the fabric to the back edge of the cap. It will make little folds but it doesn't matter just so long as it sticks.

On my most recent pair, I painted the raw edges where I made the cut with clear nail polish, and it seems to help reduce the fraying. My old ones frayed a bit there.

And there you are! I helped a less-crafty friend do hers and she agreed that it's not that hard, and they hold up beautifully. One of my old ones got a hole, so I peeled it off, stuck a small patch where the hole was, resprayed it and stuck it back on. It worked great! Here are my old pads after several months (a year?) of being covered using this method.

2N1 Skate Shoppe has started carrying the Teflon tape for knee covering. I haven't tried it, but it seems like a good idea.


  1. GREAT idea, even for the protection of it (for a few times ^^) thanks!

  2. GREAT idea, even for the protection of it (for a few times ^^) thanks!

  3. I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post.
    Best Basketball Knee Pads


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.