Repair Plastic Eyeglass Frame With Thread and Superglue




You've got a pair of eyeglasses, plastic frames, broken. You looked on the internet, found a couple places you can send them. Thirty bucks and two weeks later you'll get fixed glasses back in the mail. What if you don't have thirty bucks or two weeks? What if your kid's got class in two days?

Follow along below to see how you can fix the glasses with common household items and materials. The only special tool needed is a small gauge drill bit. I got mine for less than three bucks at a small town hardware store. If you're willing to take a risk and trust your skills with simple hand tools, you could have fixed glasses as soon as tomorrow!

Step 1: Things You'll Need

The next two pictures show the tools and supplies you'll be needing for the repair. Hover your mouse cursor over the yellow boxes to see descriptions of all the supplies.

Step 2: Lecture on Gluing Technique

The secret to a good gluing result are The Three 'C's':

Cleaning, Clamping and Curing.

Cleaning: you want the surfaces to be joined to be very clean and dry with a matte texture. The glue needs a solid, clean surface with a little "tooth" to bond to. Sanding lightly with fine sandpaper and washing with a household solvent should do the job. Let the parts dry thoroughly before gluing.

Clamping: You want the parts held steady relative to each other while the glue sets up. If the parts wiggle while they're bonding together, the bond is weakened.

Curing: This means giving the glue time to do its job - form a bond. If you strain the bond before it's fully set up, it will be weaker.

So, clean the joint well, clamp the parts together, let the glue cure and you'll have good results every time.

Step 3: Cleaning

Give the glue a good surface to bond to by lightly sanding, scraping and washing the break.

Step 4: Making the Clamp

Your clamp is a piece of stir stick cut down to fit between the two side pieces of your broken glasses. I had to try a couple of times to get the piece short enough.

The first photo shows what you want: The piece of stir stick fits between the two side pieces of your glasses with a little overlap at the break. This will let you clamp the break together firmly.

The third and fourth photos show the piece of stick being wrapped in some wax paper to protect the lenses from being scratched by the stick. You could use the soft cloth to wrap the stick instead. Just make sure you protect the lenses from the stick.

Step 5: Clamping the Glasses

Make sure your rubberbands are free of dirt or grit that might mar your lenses. I rinsed mine in water and let them dry.

This step can be quite fidgety:
Get both sides of the glasses held down to the stick with rubberbands. I doubled over a rubberband and slipped it over one end of the stick, then slid the end of the glasses under the rubberband. Repeat for the other side.

Now fiddle with the glasses and rubberbands until you have the ends of the break held firmly together. Scoot all the pieces around and together, being careful not to mar the lenses, until the pieces are lined up right and held snuggly together. Small voids between the two sides are okay as long as there are some firm points of contact and things are lined up well.

Step 6: Gluing the Core Joint

This glue joint is the core of the repair. If you don't make this one good and solid the entire repair is at risk.

The basic steps are as follows:
Photo 1:Apply glue to the break. Make sure there are no air bubbles or gaps in the joint.
Photo 2: Gently, lightly, quickly, roll the side of a cotton swab over the glue to absorb any excess.
Photo 3: Set the clamped and glued glasses somewhere safe to cure for and hour or so.

Step 7: Drill Holes for Tension Band.

After the core joint has been curing for at least an hour, you're going to be drilling two parallel holes in the frame on either side of the core joint. These holes will be used to wrap a band of thread around the core joint.

The first picture is a preview of two steps ahead showing the band of thread wrapped through the holes you're about to drill. This is to help you visualize the holes you're about to drill.

When drilling, lay the glasses on a soft cloth. Be careful not to scratch the lenses. Be careful not to stress the core joint. Be gentle with the drill and brace things carefully with your fingers. Be careful not to drill a hole in your fingers.

Drill the holes far enough apart that the repair has a pleasing elongated shape. I think the example below has the holes a little too close together and the final result is a little bulbous. Don't make the holes too far apart or the tension band will sag on the bottom.

Step 8: Sew the Break Shut/Wrap the Tension Band

The tension band is just a bunch of thread wound through the holes you just drilled and around the core joint. The purpose of this band is to give strength under tension to the repair.

Thread a fine needle with a long enough length of thread. About 4 to 6 feet doubled over to 2 to 3 feet should do it. It doesn't hurt to have a little too much thread on your needle when you're done.

Take care while wrapping the tension band to make sure each wrap of thread is snug, but be gentle and don't stress the core joint.

Wrap as many turns of thread through the holes as you can. When the needle won't fit through the hole, then you're done wrapping.

Step 9: Glue the Tension Band

Filling the drilled holes with glue is good. Soaking the thread with glue is good. Keeping glue off the rest of the frames is good.

Make sure there are no air bubbles in the thread or holes. Make sure there is no air between the tension band and the core joint -- glue the two layers together.

Get everything soaked and then lightly blot by rolling a swab across the joint.

Let it cure for fifteen minutes, and then trim the threads with a hobby knife.

Step 10: First Radial Wrap and Glue

After the tension band has cured for fifteen minutes, and you've trimmed the ends, you can begin this step.

Take a length of thread and tape one end to the top of the frame over one lens. Wrap the thread careful and completely across the bridge of the glasses.

Once the first radial wrap is complete, tape the far end down on the frames but DO NOT TRIM.

Soak the wrap in glue.

Blot lightly and let cure for a couple of minutes until no longer tacky.

Step 11: Reverse Radial Wrap, Final Glue and Trim.

After a few minutes cure when the glue is no longer tacky, un-tape the far end and start the reverse radial wrap IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. The point is to make the two wraps' threads cross over each other and not line up parallel to each other. The crossing gives the repair stiffness and strength.

Having said that, smooth and tidy is still the order of the day. This is the final wrap of the repair, so make it look nice. This is the most boring part of the repair, but paying attention to detail here will give you a strong and attractive repair.

Soak the final wrap in glue.

Let it cure for a couple of minutes. Trim the ends.

Set the glasses somewhere safe to cure for 24 HOURS. Skimping on cure time can weaken the repair.

Step 12: Enjoy Your Bahn-d'Aje (Bandage.)

You've let the glue cure for 24 hours. The glasses are ready to wear. Enjoy!



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    73 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Thanks for these tips. Used a splint from a plastic spoon, bound it up with dental floss and finished it off with heatshrink to repair a broken temple hinge. Worked great!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    i found that dental floss is very strong and not so overly large and is available everywhere. i don't know is takes color very well.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Dental Floss is my 'go to' thread for all sorts of repairs. It's just about impossible to break with just bare hands. I must confess, this particular trick is new to me.


    3 years ago

    Thank you so much for this. I'm on vacation in a pretty secluded place and my glasses snapped in half right after I got off the plane . This post was a lifesaver. I had to modify a few things and substitute where necessary, but all in all, I would have had the rest of the week in straining, squinting, and wearing around crappily duct taped glasses

    spark master

    4 years ago on Introduction

    If you are doing the nose bridge thing try unwaxed dental floss as thread., it works nicely in other places as well (projects I mean). nice instructable.


    4 years ago

    Hey, I understand that this page is old, and if anyone can help I'll appreciate it! I recently broke my glasses the part that goes behind your ears, and I tried superglue but it didn't hold on.. if anyone has any suggestions for me I'll appreciate it VERY much. the part that broke is made from metal if that helps..

    1 reply

    The part that goes from the hinge near the lenses to your ear is called the temple piece. I recently made a temporary fix to the temple piece on my glasses using "heat shrink tubing" - search that term and you'll find lots of suppliers - and a splint made from a plastic fork. Your local electronic parts supplier should have some heat shrink tubing for sale at an affordable price. The plastic fork I picked up at my favorite burrito place while getting lunch!

    My temple piece had broken right where the plastic part that curves over my ear joined with the metal bar that goes to the hinge.

    I cut a tine off the plastic fork and whittled it down so it was thin enough to fit under the tubing next to the two broken pieces of my temple piece. It was quite fiddly getting the bits all together and lined up nicely. Once it was all together, a little heat and the tubing snugged up, holding it all tight.

    I ordered new frames right away, this is only a temporary fix, but it held for a week or so while I was waiting for the new frames.

    Good luck!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This is a nice and simple . Thanks for sharing....


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Dmitri,

    I'm going to give this a try today. Wish me luck.

    Love the thoroughness of the instructions. After discussing it with you in person, and not having looked at the site, I can see there are a couple of very useful ideas that are super-useful. Namely, multiple wraps of thread and the holes being drilled vertically.

    I will be doing an earpiece repair, so the holes will be lateral/horizontal. Also, I will have to create a different kind of clamping template than you illustrated here, one with a right-angle to it, perhaps.

    your friend Matty


    6 years ago on Introduction

    YOU don't even have to read this post just wanted to mainly say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

    My broken glasses are almost like new I couldn't be happier I almost wish i didn't purchase new glasses before i did the repair!!! (RX changed though so its a good good situation) This has helped me Much I had used tape for almost five days before i got the balls to try this.

    My glasses are old and they broke almost spontaneously. I went to the Doctor to get new ones and they said they broke from deterioration of the plastic from things such as UV rays. Thus so i was afraid that if i did drill into them they would crack but luckily in my favor they did not. As i am waiting for my new glasses to be made It might be up to seven more days and it has been six already 4 of them using tape which drooped and constantly fell apart when cleaning them.

    I was ecstatic when i found your `able. I am only going to be using them for 2 weeks at most and my new RX is different so i will keep these but only in case i lose my new ones as if they break i will use this technique again.

    Although i did it differently one reason was i could not get my Krazy Glue to adhere to the plastic at all. (although i do know using things like thread can be glued sort of like a poor mans fiberglass). I also, Due to the fear of cracking as i stated before. i did not drill them the way you did I just drilled from front to back with the smallest drill bit i had. Luckily they did not crack then i alternated from wrapping each way always going through the holes when changing directions of wind and always with the tension wind. I then did a radial wind until both holes were covered and then i glued the thread once i felt it was already more stable than the tape. I only glued the front of the threads as i did not want the rough texture to rub my face. i know my fix it not as all as durable as your method but with the brittle glasses i have and since i am only waiting for a replacement its the best thing EVER!!!


    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Some things that might improve your 'ible.
    1. I'd put some blue painters tape over the lenses on both sides. It wont leave any sticky behind and will protect them.
    2. I have a dremel tool with a really small bit, you could use that instead.
    3. Use a needle threader to pull the thread thru the holes, I think you could get more thread thru a smaller hole that way.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructions my daughter too broke glass of course on Friday afternoon no time to even get to opto to order new ones. Used your method and has so far worked. One note my kids frames where dark brown almost black and I used brownish gold thread to make the repair ( what my wife gave me) when I soaked the thread it became darker and nearly matched the frame. brown frame brown thread red frame red thread. My 2 cents. thanks again big help

    1 reply

    Dylan - Sorrry to hear the technique did not work for you. Do you have any particular feedback on what went wrong? Is there a step you think could have been simplified or clarified?


    10 years ago on Step 1

    Nail polish remover usually has even more oil in it than hardware-store acetone. Always wipe solvents off to remove oil; never let them dry. Ignoring that advice has caused aircraft crashes.

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I agree bobstuart, BUT... if one is very careful to read the label, it is possible to get nail polish remover WITHOUT oil. Of course, the oils are added to replenish the oil in one's skin that is removed by the grease cutting effect of the Acetone in nail polish removers.

    I suggest instead of all the work to find an "oil less" nail polish remover that one simply goes to their local hardware, home improvement center, or paint store and buy pure Acetone.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Hardware stores don't sell pure Acetone, despite the label. It is mostly recycled, and not fully purified. As I said, aircraft have probably crashed because of this before the FAA changed their recommended procedures.