Introduction: How to Repair Holes in Your Dashboard With Sugru + Other Car Hacks
This is a friends 1987 2.5L Porsche 944 Turbo. A beautiful car, however, the previous owner had mounted a mobile phone holder to the dash and when he removed it, left a series of very nasty holes in the leather trim.
Always up for a challenge, I offered to repair the holes using sugru.
You will need:
1) A car
2) Soap and water
3? And obviously some sugru.
If you don't have any sugru you can buy it from us at www.sugru.com, or a bunch of other websites including Sparkfun, Thinkgeek and Holstee, and hopefully lots more stores very soon.
Step 1: Texture Stamp
My challenge was to repair the holes so they were as invisible as possible.
I decided that to make the repair blend in with the textured leather, I would create a mould of the texture so that I could match it on my repair.
This meant that I needed to create a texture stamp before I filled the holes.
TIP: Make the texture stamp a day before you repair the holes.
TOP TIP: To make a stamp you need about half a mini pack of sugru, line up another hack before you start so you don't waste any (see Step 8).
To make the stamp, start by covering the area you want to take an impression with soapy water. This acts as a release agent so you can get the texture off the surface without sugru sticking to it.
Form the surgu into a small cone and hold the thinner end with your thumb and index finger while pressing it into the surface. This will give enough pressure to get the impression and create a handle for your stamp. Once you have an adequate impression then leave your stamp overnight to cure. Make sure you leave the stamp on a surface covered with soapy water to stop it sticking as it cures.
Step 2: Colour Mixing to Match Leather
Often the best hack is the one which you can't notice at all. So to make your car seem as good as new then you will need to match the colours so that no one will notice your repair.
7 Steps To Becoming A Sugru Guru
Some time ago we made a booklet full of sugru tips that we pop into every pack. Step 6 in the booklet is a colour mixing guide and this proved invaluable for colour matching the leather.
TOP TIP: To match the leather in the Porsche, we used 4 mini packs of sugru (1 x Orange + 1 x Green + 1 x Black + 1 x White) However, you really only need a very small amount of each. We suggest that you line up a few other hacks so no sugru goes to waste (see Step 8).
TIP: If your dash is black you will need just one mini pack :)
Step 3: The Art of Mixing
When mixing sugru start by mixing the colours in the ratios specified by the guide. Simply knead the two colors together until there is a constant color throughout. This mixing takes roughly 1 to 2 minutes.
TIP: While colour mixing and working sugru in your fingers, sugru will get warm and this makes it more sticky. The sugru will bond to your fingers much more than normal. Simply use dry tissue paper to remove sugru from your fingers. I suggest that you do this from time to time during the mixing process.
Step 4: Getting the Right Shade
Once the color has been reached use very small amounts of black and white to achieve the shade that you desire. Use the black and white sparingly. It is best to add too little and have to add more than to add too much and have to make more color. Remember use tissue paper to help keep your fingers clean.
Step 5: Fill the Holes
Now we are ready to fill the holes.
Start by creating a very small sausage, roughly 0.25cm in diameter and 1cm in length.
Insert the sausage into the hole and then press the top of the sausage flat on the surface.
If there is an excess of sugru around the hole then remove what is not needed. Gently smooth the rest into the surface and repeat for each hole.
Step 6: Add Texture
After filling in the holes it is time to add texture using your sugru stamp created earlier.
Ensure that you have left sufficient time for the stamp to cure, at least 12 hours is recommended.
Before applying the stamp, first dab the end with soapy water. This will ensure that an impression can be left without the stamp sticking to the sugru. Gently roll the stamp on the filled in holes, applying gentle pressure, enough to make an impression without squashing the sugru out of place.
Step 7: Before and After
This was a pretty complex repair job because of the colour mixing so we used 4 mini packs to do it. On a regular black dash a single mini pack will do the job easily with sugru to spare.
We always suggest having a few ideas lined up so you don't waste any sugru.
Step 8: Other Car Hacks With Left Over Sugru
While fixing the dash, we used the left over sugru to sort out a few other common car problems.
We find that if you set yourself the challenge to not waste any sugru that you will think of all kinds of great solutions to your everyday problems, Here are a few of ours.
To make the most of your sugru during this hack why don't you see if you can do one of these quick hacks at the same time.
The Key Fob Hack - Often key fobs break, which is annoying and expensive to replace, but you can repair it very easily with just a little piece of sugru.
Aerial Mount - Rubber seals on cars can rot after many years exposed to extreme weather conditions and as sugru is heat resistant to 180ºC (356ºF) and cold resistant to -60ºC (-76ºF) it will weather well for years.
We have seen people use sugru to remount their aerials also, this is Rennie's Honda aerial and Carsten in Germany hacked an aerial from a wlan antenna, very smart. There are more car hacks to see on our gallery.
Scratch Protection from a bike rack - apply sugru to the metal clips of your bike rack to avoid scratching the paintwork on your car.
I will do some step by step instructions on each of these when I get a chance and pop a link to them here.