When a zipper breaks on a coat or sleeping bag, what do you do? If you don’t sew, many people will toss the item. But it seems so sad to throw away something you enjoy due to a tiny mechanical issue! Here are suggestions for how to recycle a broken zipper:
Step 1: Try to fix the zipper.
If this video doesn’t describe your issue, there are MANY videos on Youtube with suggestions.
Step 2: Salvage the zipper.
You can use your seam ripper to remove the zipper if you want to retain as much of the fabric tape as possible. If you want to make an item that only requires the zipper teeth and a little bit of fabric, you can cut it out.
Step 3: Get inspired by the many projects made from recycled broken zippers.
Artists Who Incorporate Zippers in their Work
- Odile Gova – wraps metallic zippers around wool to make flowers, leaves and other shapes.
- Aleksandra Janik – combines zippers with lace, beads and other materials for ornate jewelry
- Janet Petrell – makes zipper “paintings” by wrapping zippers into shapes
- Susan Moore – makes bridal bouquets from zippers
- Kate Cusack – makes sculptural asymmetrical necklaces from zippers
- Hirotoshi Ito – makes sculptures of rocks with zippers that open, revealing surprises inside
- Elizabeth Morisette – sews zippers into basket-like shapes
Zipper Craft Project Ideas
- Script for this podcast episode about creative reuse of broken zippers (not a transcript but gives the main ideas)
- The Trashmagination podcast theme music is Kitchen from the Marian Circle Drum Brigade.