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Ms Fix-It

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: glue is a great gift to budget fashionistas! Why give money to professional shoe and jewellery repairers when you can fix it at home yourself at little or no cost?

Case 1: A pair of plaited leather gladiator sandals

After only a few wears, the outer sole had became detached from the leather upper.

Granted, these sandals were very inexpensive ($22 on sale) purchases online, but still, one does not expect a pair of leather shoes to split in half so quickly. I was very cross. The sandals were punished and cast into the outer darkness (the back of my closet) while I contemplated their fate.

I refused to throw good money after bad by taking them to the shoe repairer, as the upper sole around the toes was also worn – the sandals are so soft and flexible the sole tended to fold back on itself as I walked, so the edges had become quite frayed. This was the first time I had experienced this phenomenon, and I wondered at first if I was dragging my feet – and then I observed (while pounding the pavement and stalking others’ feet) it happened to other women as well. It’s just poor shoe design or manufacture.

I wondered at first if I was dragging my feet …

I had been tempted to throw the sandals straight into the bin to teach them a lesson, but as this would further annoy no one but myself, I decided to attempt a roughshod repair so that at least I could get a few more wears out of them. I smeared on some Araldite (a two-part epoxy glue) between the layers, applied pressure for a few minutes, and that was enough to make them wearable again. Hurrah!

Case 2: A striped Indian brass bangle

The inlaid resin or plastic squares had lost their adherence to the brass base.

I could easily have thrown out this $5 bangle that I bought in an Indian boutique years ago, but I decided to attempt a repair. I love stripes, and it has a matching bangle in red and white, so I thought it was worth a shot. Possibly the original glue had become petrified with age, but it was a very easy fix. Good as new!

Case 3: Amazonite stone set in sterling silver

The stone broke in half and fell out of the setting.

This earring was a casualty of my evil ceramic tiles that are laid throughout my apartment. I had dropped it on the bathroom floor, and the green rectangular stone had actually snapped in half! This was a disastrous break, and not as simple a matter as for a jeweller to apply some solder and repair metal.

I decided I had nothing to lose by attempting to glue the stone back together, and then gluing it within the silver setting. Originally there would have been no glue – the jeweller would have manually set the stone by pressing the metal inwards to fit its shape. However, I painstakingly applied the same glue the stone, and then waited for that to set before I glued it into its frame. Then I removed all the glue from my fingers.

After curing, the joint is supposed to be impervious to boiling water …

The glue has held it all together successfully, even after, to my horror, it fell again on the bathroom floor just the other day!

Araldite, a synthetic resin, was first invented in 1945, in Switzerland. I use a version that comes in a double syringe, with the resin and hardener kept apart until equal parts of each are mixed together. After curing, the joint is supposed to be impervious to boiling water and all common organic solvents, although I have not tested this theory.

However, let us all raise a glass to the Swiss – first they give us chocolate, and now glue … what’s next?

Photos: March 2016

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