Upon reading the title of this, you might be thinking “What on earth is Sugru?” Well, we like to think of it as adult silly putty for DIYers. We wrote about Sugru a year ago, and are still totally swooning over everything it can do. It’s a tiny piece of rubber that starts as a soft, malleable dough and then turns to hard silicone overnight. You can use it to repair a distressed electrical cord, mend a cracked dishwasher, or even kid-proof a camera.
Now, we’re happy to bring you an article straight from the founder of Sugru, Jane ni Dhulchaointigh, on 10 ways you can use sugru to breathe new life into vintage treasures. We’ll let Jane take it from here!
The things you discover in charity shops, thrift stores and car boot sales tend to feel special because they combine two seemingly contradictory qualities – they’re both junk and treasure at the same time. I invented sugru to help people keep and love the stuff they have instead of buying new things all the time, and rummaging in flea markets is something I love to do… so it’s no surprise that my home is full of lovingly sugru-ed items like the ones I’m sharing here!
Sugru can be used to repurpose old-fashioned things, add brightly colored repairs, and rescue unused or unloved objects. Because it’s waterproof, heatproof, and able to form a strong bond with almost any other material, you can have fun proudly sorting out your whole vintage collection.
Now, without further ado, here are 10 ways you can use sugru to breathe new life into vintage treasures from my home and the sugru community.
1. Create Colorful Designs to Fix Chipped Plates: I have a whole collection of these pastel plates from the famous Sunday flea market in Brussels. I love the 1950s style, but they were often chipped, with sharp edges. I mixed blue and green sugru together in different amounts to get different shades of green, and now I love the bright accents!
2. Upcycle Jam Jars into Cute Mugs: Indeed of recycling empty jam jars, give them a new job to do – make them into cups for hot drinks by adding a non-heat transferring handle. Designer Alexis used forks for this beautiful set of office mugs.
3. Patch Vintage Leather Items: This project was shared with us by sugru user Mark from Amsterdam – he created a flexible color-blended sugru patch for a hole in this leather pouch. A few moments taken to restore it makes it ready to use for years to come!
4. Create Window Box for Family Treasures: Collect together little treasures into a display like this one made from old fishing equipment. sugru is especially good for this because it forms a 3D bond with whatever shape you’re sticking (it’s also removable). Just select a frame, dig out your collection and start arranging!
5. Fix Up Vintage Bags: This clutch bag was perfect except part of the metalwork attaching the wrist loop had come apart. A little sugru patched it back together again, and the blue matches the print!
6. Recreate Missing Sewing Machine Parts: Costume designer Jane told us about making a vintage sewing machine work for her: ‘we found a bargain – a classic Bernina machine, serviced and ready to go for £69 ($110).’ But a broken dial meant that the needle position couldn’t be adjusted. She recreated the missing part with sugru, saying ‘I find it more pleasing than the original – I love a repair, not to mention it saving us about £130 ($200) in the process.’
7. Add Heat Insulation to a Retro Milk Pan: This project came from sugru user Roxi, she says ‘I use this pan to cook wheat paste, which requires constant stirring. The handle gets hot as I hold it, so I used sugru to heatproof it.’
8. Make Stylish Rustic Hooks with Twigs: Some of the best finds don’t cost a penny – collect driftwood or woodland sticks and make DIY hooks! Great for hanging up kitchenware, coats, or even jewelry.
9. Heatproof the Base of a Teapot: Prevent hot teapots and cups from marking furniture by fashioning a built-in coaster! sugru bonds to metals and ceramics, is fully waterproof and dishwasher proof, and makes a very satisfying quiet sound when you set it down too :)
10. Replace a Chair Footpad: Tom’s comfy Eames-style office chair had lost a footpad. As his friend explains ‘At first it seems prosaic. Boring almost. And then you realise how annoying it is to have an entire chair rendered useless by a single missing part, and how liberating it is to simply make another one. The whole chair comes back to life.’
Feeling inspired? Grab your own dysfunctional pre-loved pieces and give your collection a new lease of life with sugru :)