Introduction: Aglet / Shoelace Repair

Picture of Aglet / Shoelace Repair

Getting tired of your aglets (the plastic parts on the ends of your shoelaces) falling apart or becoming damaged, your shoelaces getting frayed and your style being cramped because of it? Look no further, here's an instructable on how to fix yourself a couple of new, and extremely durable, aglets.

Step 1: Starting Off

Picture of Starting Off

What you will need for this are basically just three things, aside from your shoelace.

First you should get hold of some extremely fine plastic line. Fishing line would probably work, as long as you can find one thin enough. I'm using a plastic line that's meant for sewing beads and such to clothes, it's about as fine as the hair on my scalp. This would probably also work with regular fabric thread, the key is to have it as fine as you possibly can get hold of. Even though thicker thread is stronger we're going to use it in a way that makes the thinner thread both strong and durable.

Second thing you're going to need superglue, the faster it dries the better. It's also easier if you can find a superglue with a brush already in the bottle as it will facilitate steps further down the road.

Third, and final, an X-Acto knife for all your cutting needs. Though, a scalpel or a really sharp knife, or even scissors, would work too.

Step 2: Wrapping the Shoelace

Picture of Wrapping the Shoelace

Instinct may tell us to cut away the worn down part where the aglet once was, but resist doing that for just a moment longer.

Take a length of the plastic line, as long or short as you deem necessary (at least 12 inches I'd say though). Since we're going to wrap this line over the shoelace to both crimp it and give it rigidity it helps if you can attach it first and just concentrate on wrapping. As you can see from the top illustration on the image below you could make a simple slipknot like this, thread it over the shoelace and tighten it. From there it's easy just to wrap, and gives a rather neat result as well.

The bottom illustration shows what we're after. A nice uniform wrap, though not necessarily as spaced out like that, all across the length of what will be your new aglet. Doing one lap is a bare minimum, but if you have enough plastic line and enough patience going back over it a second time is definitely recommentable. The more neat you are the better the end result will be. Though, if you're like me and care more about it working than looking extremely good then it will work just as well even if you wrap it chaotically. The aim is to get good coverage and good crimping.

As you can see I haven't wrapped all the way out to the end both because it's hard to wrap a shoelace that far out nearing the end and because of the damage the shoelace has received the new aglet will look better with the damaged parts removed. Basically, if you can sacrifice less than an inch overall on your shoelace then do it, the end result will be better.

Attach the plastic line after wrapping with a knot and move onto the next step.

Step 3: Glue

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Almost done now.

What you need to do after wrapping is to glue the plastic line in place. Here's why it helps to have a brush in your superglue bottle. Basically cover all the plastic line with glue uniformly, making sure that you missed no part and making sure you don't cover more than you have to. Though, a little spillover towards the frayed edges isn't exactly a problem.

Set this aside to dry, or gently roll it between your thumb and index finger to stimulate drying. A word of caution though, this will cause your fingers to be encrusted.

Step 4: Almost Done

Picture of Almost Done

Once the glue has dried there is only really one (or two) steps left to do. Take out your X-Acto knife, granted your parents or significant other has given you permission to play with sharp objects, and simply cut away the frayed edges of the shoelace. Add a drop of superglue to seal up the edge and cut away any possible stray parts of the plastic line sticking out.

Once dried, you're done. There you have an aglet that will last you a lifetime, though no guarantees for the rest of the shoelace.

There are methods here on Instructables.com that recommend using shrink tubing to make new aglets. It looks absolutely smashing, and works really well, but they're not durable at all as I've found out. These superglued aglets are...and there's still nothing stopping you from using shrink tubing over this to brighten up the color.

Step 5: Last (optional) Step

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Now this is the last and optional step. If you utilize it depends quite a bit on both your shoelaces and your needs.

The method I described can be utilized basically on any type of shoelace or cord, as long as it's suitably thin. If you use para-cord and don't want to burn the edges this is a good alternative.

If you have wider shoelaces, like the black one pictured below, it helps to fold it in half before you start wrapping with the plastic line. It gives a neater result. Also, if you use black shoelaces there's nothing stopping you from breaking out that Sharpie and color the new aglets to match the rest of the shoelace.

That's it for me, I hope someone had use for this.

Comments

Hoopajoo (author)2007-08-28

Pretty cool, but I just use clear heat-shrink tubing to replace mine.

JefferyT5 (author)Hoopajoo2016-08-26

Where do you get heat-shrink tubing?

Hoopajoo (author)JefferyT52016-08-26

Amazon, Ebay or any local electronics or hardware store.

musicbymark (author)2014-03-23

I've done two other methods that work well on synthetic/non-cotton laces, but are less attractive:

1.) singe end with match, & if you have tough skin like me, blow out if flaming, and immediately pinch & twist/shape the melted ends, until desired shape is achieved. Cut or file end sqare.

2.) Tightly wrap Scotch / cellophane tape around the end. Bleed/squirt drop of superglue (cyanoacrylate glue) into the new tightly wrapped end. Trim or file end square (singe any fibrous protrusions, but don't allow to flame).

MaryEllenJ (author)musicbymark2016-02-26

I have to do this so often (because I'm the one with the PUPPY WHO EATS AGLETS) that I've started using your quick Scotch tape method. Maybe not so pretty as the twisted fine line, but much faster when I gotta git 'er done and out the door.

MaryEllenJ (author)2016-02-26

My PUPPY has an inexplicable appetite for removing aglets from my shoelaces! This technique has saved me from having to buy fancy laces by the box load for my sport shoes!

Jayefuu (author)2012-07-06

Brilliant Instructable. Saved me having to buy a new pair of laces. Thanks!

eleraama (author)2007-08-28

Be careful-- cyanoacrylate (superglue and the like) literally melt cotton! I tried to just drop superglue on my laces, and they got really hot and sort of shrivelled up. According to wikipedia, it's a strong exothermic reaction between the two that causes it. So if you have cotton shoelaces, drop it on and keep your fingers away! (I burnt myself in this way twice.)

kenbrbkr (author)eleraama2012-05-03

Sporting Goods store, Fly Tying section, "Head Cement". For fixing a built up winding of thread into a fly's head.

Whoa, I had no idea of that perticular reaction. Though, I have to say that both of the laces shown in the instructable are made from cotton (one with a syntethic core and one from a black denim fabric) and I did not observe any reaction such as this...all I got was glued fingers :P Though, it's worth waiting at least a while for the viscosity of the glue to be more gel like before you rub your fingers against it, far less glue will end up on your fingers. Or if you want a high gloss finish just let it air dry completely, only downside to that is that it takes longer.

hirod3 (author)2012-01-21

Clever idea!! Thanks

EToft (author)2010-07-01

If you are not too concerned with the look of the aglet, you can skip wrapping the lace with string/line. Just give the shoelace a good tight twist, and spread on the super-glue (do beware of the cotton = heat issue...it can actually ignite). Keep it twisted tight, and let it cure for a few minutes, then wipe off any excess with a paper towel or TP. VIOLA...Instant aglet.

GEEK1 (author)2009-04-20

great idea

Father Christmas (author)2009-03-15

i just put shrink tubing over the end. works good :)

Lesenthe (author)2008-12-18

Brilliant! For some reason my laces keep getting frayed, and melting the tips of synthetic laces really doesn't do the trick for more than a few weeks. Thankfully, we have some beading thread in the house, and loads of superglue. The upside to being crafty, I guess.

duck-lemon (author)2008-04-24

i use little bits of metal

bruc33ef (author)2008-01-17

I replace all my shoelaces with 550lb paracord. You never have to worry about breakage. You burn the ends so the cord doesn't unravel. But more importantly, you have super-strong laces that can be used as cord in an emergency. Paracord has seven internal strands, at 18lb test each, that can be tied together as fishing line or for other purposes.

rerat (author)2008-01-17

I just melt the tips, then twist them before they harden..obviously for synthetic laces only.

poptop94 (author)2007-09-02

A much easier method I use, although it doesn't look quite as nice as yours, is just put a couple pieces of heat shrink on the ends.

Yeah...you know, I actually acknowledged that in the text. You might want to read what's written :P There are, as far as I've seen, two instructables here already dealing with the heat shrink tubing.

killerjackalope (author)2007-08-31

or duct tape yourself new aglets then cover in masking tape if you want to design them like my old ones that looked like bendy cigarettes as I permanent markered on ash with grey and black the coloured the lace orange at the length it come out of the knot (mine are the very same as I tie weird from breaking my arms at different points ( tying one handed)

snipegoat (author)2007-08-30

what about flat shoe laces

If you look at the last (and optional) step flat shoelaces are adressed there. Granted the kind of lace in the last step is a rather butch one, but the method of folding in half before wrapping could just as well be applied there.

ll0ll (author)2007-08-29

i like it. I'm quite tempted to fray a shoelace just to try it :)

lemonie (author)2007-08-28

That's useful. But I'm thinking of molten-plastic istead of superglue. Something like polythene, which you could burn & drip into a tin (not much good for white laces I suppose) L

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