Repair Plastic Bins. "Box Stitching"




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Have you ever had a broken/ cracked recycling bin or other large palatic storage bin? Of course you have! SO pay attention to learn how to get more use out of your stuff and keep it out of the LANDFILL. (ewww)

This instructible will show you how to "stitch" a broken plastic box back together!

Tools Required:

1. something to drill with i.e. Dremel tool or electric drill

2. zip ties, any size or color

3. diagnal pliers or scissors


useful Black felt tip marker

Thick glue, such as silicone or hot glue

an ink pen, just the plastic tube part

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Step 1: Step 1 Drilling

First look at your box. If it is completely obliterated and wont even stand up on its own, then i hate to say it but you should probably get rid of it. BUT if the crack hasnt ripped it in half or crushed it you will be able to fix it!

1. its useful to know what you will be storing in the box before you continue. Just note that if you are storing bowling balls then you should probably use more stitches than if you were just storing blankets.

2. start by using your handy-dandy MARKER to place two dots on either side of the crack, between 1/4" to 3/4" away from the crack. Now do it again about two inches or so up along the crack, and continue marking it along the entire crack length.

3. Now prepare your drilling tool and choose a drill bit size that is similiar to the width of your zip ties.

4. Drill a hole in every place you marked with the marker.

Step 2: Step 2 Stitches

Now that you have all of the holes drilled out you can pull out your zip ties and 'weave' them through the holes.

Make sure that the zip tie head will end up on the inside of the box, because they can be potentially sharp.
1. Use one zip tie to connect two holes across the crack.

2.Now pull it tight, (pliers are helpful

3. Cut off the excess and squeeze the little bit of sharp plastic, on the zip tie, with pliers to dull it.

4. repeat until completely stiched

5. if your crack runs through the rim of the box refer to the next page.

Step 3: Step 3 Rim Support

This step adress the likely event that your box has a rip that runs into the lip of the box. (Like mine did) The crack along the rim area can be potientially sharp and lies in an area where human hands are likely to grab the box. To sole this problem follow these steps.

1. Pull out your plastic ink pen tube (or other plastic tube of similiar size)

2. Use the same procedure as in steps 2 and 3 to attach the plastic pen under the lip of the box rim . This will help support the box and cover up jaged edges.

3. use the thick glue as a protective finisher to cover any places along the box where the edges protrude enough to hurt a person.

Congradulations, you have just reclcyed your box and saved it from a life of Not-biodegrading in a landfill.

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    12 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I have successfully repaired the plastic cover under the engine bay in my car this way, but I used regular coated wire, I think it was 20 gauge. It is still working after 5 years on the roads in New England. Welding plastic is very difficult to do and usually ends up thinner than it started out, so it is more lible to break in the future. this isn't too good looking (sorta like Frankenstine) but it works on most stiff plastic.

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    I have used "Artificial Sinew" (think of the webbing in a dreamcatcher) to do this to trash cans. I drilled a series of 1/8 inch holes along both sides of the tear, and used an upholstry needle to stitch it up. Repaired over 6 years ago, outside in the elements every day, still works great.


    10 years ago on Step 3

    Brilliant! Snowplow attacked my recycling bin...The duct tape just wasn't holding up.... this should fix it!


    Is there something you could use for the stitches other than zip ties? Because here in Arizona, zip ties do not last too long in the sun.

    2 replies

    If the zip ties don't last long, I'm guessing the bin itself will degrade pretty fast. But you could probably substitute some thick copper wire. Or maybe fishing line?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    In lieu of the Dremel tool for making the holes, a hot coat hanger wire will also do the job. Heat wire to red with a propane torch.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I recommend drilling a hole at the end of the crack so that the crack does not continue through the material. Another repair option would be trying to weld the crack with a soldering iron (or heat gun) and some compatible filler material.

    1 reply