Introduction: 30 Second Zipper Repair

About: I like making things.

Here's a really quick and easy way to repair a zipper if the puller of the zip has broken off.

Some zips, such as the one on my wife's soft-shell jacket will not slide unless they have a puller - there's a small spring that pushes a piece of metal into the zipper and unless you're pulling on the puller to release the tension, the zipper won't move.

Most zips have the puller made of fairly soft and brittle die-cast metal, so they're fairly easy to break.

Here's how to quickly repair it with something that looks good enough for my wife to use - she wasn't going to put a paperclip through the zip and call it a day... or was she?

Step 1: What You Need

  • A broken zipper - the slider needs to be intact for this to work, just the puller needs to be broken off
  • A paperclip - not a huge one, just a regular sized one
  • Heat-shrink tubing - the magic ingredient
  • Needle-nose pliers - possibly not needed
  • Heat gun (or other source of heat) - be careful with your soft-shell and any heat source!

Step 2: Tweaking the Paperclip

I had to tweak the paperclip slightly and flatten it out at one end otherwise it wouldn't sit properly on the zip. Just smoosh it with the pliers and you're good to go.

Step 3: Attach It to the Puller

After it's been straightened out, this can be a bit tricky, but wiggle it around and it will get to where it needs to be

Step 4: Apply Heatshrink

Luckily the heat shrink tubing I had was exactly the right size for the paperclip I found. It doesn't matter if it's a little bit too big, this stuff shrinks pretty well.

Put it over the paperclip and trim to size.

Step 5: Apply Heat and BE CAREFUL

Now, be careful here. This soft-shell jacket is 100% synthetic and synthetic fabrics don't like heat.

I used a heat gun, I recommend this over an open flame, but in a pinch pretty much any heat source will do. Most heat shrink tubing needs a fair amount of heat, 90-100°C so you probably won't be able to shrink it with a regular hair dryer. If you're using an open flame (not recommended by me or the heat shrink manufacturers) then be extra careful.

I held the heat shrink vertically with the pliers and hit it with some heat from a heat gun on low (and I couldn't take a photo of all of this as I needed both hands to do it)

Shrink it evenly and you're done.

This whole procedure from start to finish will take you less time than reading this 'ible...