Introduction: Make a Spray Can Nozzle Holster Using Sugru

Spray can nozzles are usually taped to the side of a spray can when purchased. Once you remove the nozzle from the side of the can, you either have find a way to re-attach it to the can or somehow try to keep the nozzle and can together so you do not lose the nozzle. Invariably, I lose the nozzle or end up with a pile of nozzles and then have to try to match a nozzle to a spray can.

In this instrructable I will show you how to make a spray can nozzle holster with a cocktail straw and Sugru that will keep your spray nozzle paired with the spray can that it belongs to.

Sugru is " ... an air-curing rubber that can be formed by hand. It bonds to most materials and turns into a strong, flexible silicone rubber overnight." I was first made aware of this amazing product from Adafruit Industries during one of their Saturday night "ask-an-engineer" webcasts.

Less successful attempts to re-attach the nozzle to the side of the can include:
  1. Use the original tape on the side of the can. This usually doesn't work very well and you either rip the tape or can't get the nozzle back int he little channel in the tape.
  2. Use a new piece off tape. If you do this then you will end up with the same problem as #1.
  3. Use a rubber band. OK but, now you have to find the right size - or - use two rubber bands else the nozzle will get out of alignment with the can then catch on something when you try to store the can. (FYI - The rubber band in the picture is from grocery store produce.)

Step 1: Items You Will Need

Items you will need for this project include:
  1. A spray can with loose nozzle
  2. One (1) mini pack (0.17 oz) of Sugru. I purchased mine from Adafruit Industries
  3. Garden hose rubber washer. (optional)
  4. Cocktail straws
  5. Goo Gone (or other solvent to remove residue left from adhesive tape)
  6. Glasses lens cleaning tissue. (optional)
  7. Scissors (not shown)
  8. Small Ziplock bag (not shown)
  9. Adhesive tape (not shown)
  10. Soapy water (not shown)
  11. Paper towels (not shown)

Step 2: Clean the Attachment Area on the Spray Can

The best location to put the spray can nozzle holster is on the seam of the spray can where it will not cover the instructions or warnings. Sometimes, manufactures tape the nozzle in the same location so I use Goo Gone to remove the adhesive tape residue then wipe with a piece of paper towel. To make sure that this location was a clean as possible, I followed up with cleaning the same area with a glasses lens cleaning tissue. These are alcohol soaked tissues that dry quickly after application. Again, I rubbed down the area with a clean paper towel after cleaning.    

Step 3: Cut the Straw Holster

Cut a cocktail straw about 2/3 the length of the nozzle. This will allow enough room to grasp the nozzle with your fingers when you want to use it.

Separate one (1) new garden hose washer (if they are attached in a group). Make sure that it is clean. The washer will be used to create a uniform and consistent sized pad of Sugru to attach the straw to the side of the spray can.

If you don't use a garden hose washer to size the Sugru pad, make sure that you have a piece of Sugru large enough to attach the straw to the can.

Step 4: Set Up Your Work Area

Sugru has a workable 'pot-life' of about 30 minutes so it is prudent to have your work area set up with all the items that you need for the project.  Sugru can be removed from things (and your hands) with a dry paper towel.

I made an assumption that I would have enough Sugru to use on two (2) spray cans so I had two (2) sets of cleaned spray cans and cut straws. The soapy water is useful to put on things you do not want Sugru to stick to during prep and assembly.

My prep surface was the backside of a cutting board with a piece of Ziplock bag taped on the corners. I thought that this would be the best non-stick surface however, a small amount of Sugru did stick to this material. An option would be to use clear plastic wrap such as Saran Wrap.

Step 5: Make the Sugru Pads

Make sure that your hands are washed and the work surface is clean. Open the Sugru packet, mix the Sugru thoroughly with your fingers, then roll the Sugru into a ball. You are now ready to make the Sugru pads.

Dip a finger into the soapy water and rub the inside of the hole in the garden hose washer. Wipe off any excess or drips. Place the washer on the piece of Ziplock bag material. Pull off a small piece of the Sugru ball into the hole of the washer. You may have to try this a few times in order to get the right size of piece that will fill up the hole in the washer.

Gently lift the washer from the Sugru pad. Make the rest of the pads in a similar manner in different location on the Ziplock material. Take the remaining Sugru and roll it into a stick. Once all the pads are made, lift one of the taped sides of the Ziplock material and fold under the pads to help release the Sugru as you remove them. This will help keep them uniform.

Step 6: Attach the Straws to the Spray Cans

To attach a straw to a spray can, place one of the Sugru pads at the bottom of the straw - covering the end of the straw. Place the straw and Sugru pad near the bottom of the spray can in the clean mounting area. Once positioned, place another Sugru pad near the top of the straw - but not covering the end of the straw!

Take the remaining Sugru stick, separate it into pieces and make small buttons. Place a button in-line and near the top of the straw. Make sure that the button is placed in such a way that it is above the end of the holstered nozzle. The button will prevent the nozzle from falling out of the holster during storage or transport.

Let the Sugru cure for 24 hours before using the spray can. To remove the nozzle from the holster, grab the exposed end of the nozzle with your fingers, and pull it out lightly to clear the Sugru button. Additional benefits of the holster are that it will keep a horizontal can from rolling on a flat surface and the holster will also catch that last little micro-drop of whatever and keep it from ending up on your bench.  

One (1) small 0.17 oz packet of Sugru was enough to make two holster attachments and four buttons.