Ah, the zipper pull, an age old ally. Sometimes hideous, bulky or ill-suited, but always useful… until it falls off. Whether to banish a bad one, or replace one that went MIA, this intractable is for making a new zipper pull. Its fast, nearly free, and another way to show solidarity for your favorite bottled beverage.
Step 1: Materials
1 bottle cap, 2 if you want a practice run. Not a bad idea to practice once if the cap you want to use is hard to get, or has any sentimental value.
2 small metal rings: I used small snap washers, which can be found in just about any craft or hardware store for less than a dollar for a pack of 1 hundred. Jewelry ‘finding’ rings would work just as well I’m sure.
One pair of pliers
One pair of cutters, something with a blunt nose or fine tip is best
A thin piece of wood, sturdy cardboard, or plastic to bear the brunt of the damage from the pliers. This layer can be anything so long as its about the size of your bottle cap, thin and sturdy enough to act as a scratch barrier and keep your bottle cap from losing its markings.
Estimated Cost: Less than $1… unless you count the beverage the cap came from… personally I was going to drink it anyway.
Step 2: Cutting
The Cutting of the ridge on the bottle cap really defines the shape you will end up with. The more cuts, the more rounded. However, if you would like a diamond shape, very little cutting is required.
Note: Gloves are not a bad idea for this step if you don’t want a few nicks and cuts.
For a Round shape: Cut the ridge or ‘skirt’ of the cap in slits nearly to the flat surface, once every 1/8 inch or so.
For a Diamond or square shape, Cut four slits, equally spaced. This isn’t strictly necessary, the shape will happen, but the slits will help you keep the sides even and straight.
After deciding where you want “up” to be on your cap, trim one of the slit sections to about ¾ of the width of your ring/washer/metal loop. Trim off a bit of the sections to each side to make room for the ring.
Now for the bending!
Step 3: Add the ring/loop/washer
Pull the section you’ve selected as the “top” in the cutting step back a bit, and hang your loop over it. If you used a split washer like I did, you will want to close it with pliers first.
Take a hold of the top section, with the loop resting at its base and pull it towards center, keeping the loop as close to flat in relation to the cap as possible. A bit crooked is fine, and probably won’t show, but if it stands up away from the cap your zipper pull won’t lay flat. Once you have the loop secured, use the blunt end of you cutters, or the nose of your pliers to press the top section as close to flat as you can. You’ll be able to really tighten it later; this is just to make sure it doesn’t move too much while you finish folding.
Step 4: Folding
And now for the sort-of-tricky-part!
Using the pliers, pull the pre-cut seconds towards the middle. This is just a pre fold that helps get the shape you want. This may take a minute if you’re going for a round shape since you will get a better result from pulling the sections one by one, being careful not to warp the top. For a diamond shape, only a bit of pre-folding pulling is necessary, grab each of your four sections in middle of where you want your straight edge, and tug until you get a light crease where you want it.
Now, with the wood/thick cardboard/plastic pad held to the face of your bottle cap, use the pliers to bend down the sections, pressing them flat to the underside. Be carefully to really press down any sharp edges so they don’t catch skin or fabric later!
Step 5: Attaching and Done!
And Finally it’s time for the second loop! Pulling it apart, Hook brand new zipper pull into the now opened loop. Hook the open loop through the opening in the sliding portion of the zipper. Close the opened loop with pliers. I used the cutters as a vice grip to help close the loop, but if you have another pair of pliers, a small vice, or just a super ninja grip, that will work too.
I liked this zipper pull so well that I’ve also added it to another bag.
For a more personal touch, a photo or picture could be glued to the inside prior to the folding step, and the folded sections would act as a rough frame.
Thanks for Reading!