This is an instructable about how to use super glue to fix shoe string ends (aglets). It contains some tricks that I found especially valuable.
I suggest using latex gloves, and reading the instructions carefully.
Step 1: What You Need
- Ruined shoe string end, the result will be prettier if the original plastic aglet is still present. Repair as soon as possible!
- Super glue, liquid is better than gel. You want it to absorb easily into the fabric.
- Thin clear plastic, I like to use a small plastic bag. Use a new, clean piece of plastic for each end of the shoestring.
- Latex or plastic gloves to avoid getting glue on fingers
- Scissors or a sharp knife
Step 2: Repair As Soon As Possible for Best Result
The best thing is to repair the aglet as soon as it begins to break. Just let the shoe string end absorb a small drop of super glue. It will get stiff and durable within seconds, no matter what material the shoe string is made of.
Step 3: Don't Add Too Much Glue
Use the plastic film as a barrier between your hands and the shoe string. Twist the frased end as tight as possible, and add a small drop to the twisted tip - and twist it again as soon and as tight as possible. Works best if you get someone to help you add the glue.
The end will become stiff within seconds. If you did it right, the stiff part is too small yet, and probably too fussy. But the stiff end will allow you to twist the fibres to a tighter roll. Twist them hard, and add glue slowly in small drops and let it absorb into the twisted fibres. Be careful not to add too much, or it will be absorbed into the part of the string that you want to stay soft.
It is a good idea to add glue in steps: One drop on a tightly twisted tip, wait 5 seconds to let it harden. Then if more glue is needed, add another drop. This will also keep temperature low.
Step 4: Added Too Much Glue?
There are two possibilities, either cut off the stiff part of the string and start over, or use a pair of pliers to "break" the glue bond between the fibres where you don't want it to be stiff. This can often make the string soft enough.
The best is to be very careful so that not too much glue is added - and this will keep temperature low, too. Too much glue at once can become quite hot and you might burn your fingertips.
Step 5: Trim the Tip
Use a sharp pair of scissors or a knife to trim the tip.
That's it! The new tips will last longer than the shoestring. There are some variants of this method:
- Using scotch tape to make a roll. I think twisting the fibers works much better, but maybe electrical tape works ok since it is elastic. The idea is not to mimic the original plastic sylinder aglet, but to keep the fibers as tight together as possible, while they absorb the glue - this is what creates a firm, durable tip. If tape is used, it should be removed or it will fall off pretty quick.
- The end can be held together with a tiny thread, tightly applied to make a roll of the fibres. This is not a bad solution but it takes more skill and more work and is not worth it in my opinion. Instead, do it before it is needed, the result will be best and look best if the glue is applied when the original aglet is still in place, and this will be much easier, too.