Make This: A little glue gives old zippers new life for the holidays
by Deirdre Long
Nov 23, 2013 | 6609 views |  0 comments | 56 56 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Photos: Deirdre Long/The Anniston Star
Photos: Deirdre Long/The Anniston Star
I’ve written about my zipper collection in passing before, but it’s only recently come to light just how many I have tucked away on shelves, in baskets and generally scattered across every surface of my sewing room. Making its local debut at Winter Market, my zipper collection included pendants and rings made from metal zipper teeth and vintage buttons, earrings made from zipper pulls, bracelets that unzip, laptop sleeves cleverly decorated with zippers and my newest creation, zipper-and-button Christmas tree ornaments.

I got quite a few inquiries as to how I came up with all those ideas, and it really comes down to one thing: Google. While sitting in my room one day, trying to think of things to make and sell at the market, I Googled “things to make from zippers.”

Between my massive purchase at Downing’s zipper clearance last year and the many zippers that have been donated to me (in boxes filled with other sewing notions), I probably had 500-600 in my stash. And that’s nothing compared to my button collection…

But thanks to Google, I was able to make a pretty good dent in that collection — though it still numbers in the hundreds. There’s no way I could ever make enough clothes to use all those zippers, so it’s better they are reborn as something completely different anyway.

The zipper ornaments were so easy to make. Just split a zipper open (hold on to that pull, as it makes a super cute earring!), grab some buttons or other decoration, a glue gun and start sculpting. I made snowmen, Christmas trees, holly, poinsettias and a snowflake — if you need some more inspiration, just Google “zipper Christmas ornaments.”

Just as easy to make as the ornaments are the zipper bracelets, but you’ll need some jewelry supplies: needle-nose pliers, end crimps, jump rings, a clasp and a little bit of E6000, an industrial strength glue commonly used in jewelry making.

First, cut the edges off the zipper, as close to the teeth as possible. Next, cut your zipper to the appropriate length, if necessary — I found 7 inches to be comfortable for one wrap around the average wrist. Longer zippers can be used to make a bracelet that wraps around several times. If you do cut the zipper, be sure to not pull it off the cut end — it’s very difficult to get that pull threaded back on the teeth of the zipper.

There are several different methods for stopping the edges along the teeth of the zipper from fraying. If the fabric that’s fraying is made of nylon or a synthetic like it, which many are, you can singe the edges with the flame from a lighter and they’ll melt together. You can also pick out all the remaining threads, though this can take awhile. I simply used Fray Check, a liquid that seals the raw edge as it dries.

Once the zipper dries, use a toothpick to dab a little E6000 on one end, and use the pliers to attach the end crimp. Repeat on the other end. Use jump rings to connect the clasp to the end crimp. E6000 takes 24-72 hours to cure, so try and hold off wearing the bracelet as long as you can.

Features Editor Deirdre Long: 256-294-4152. On Twitter @star_features.

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