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Saturday, 29 August 2015

Zippier Zipper Pulls!

Beaded Bracelet Kit
This kit afforded me a lot of options!
It's been over a year since I posted about my enthusiasm for zipper pulls (!) and I have finally gotten around to making some.

I showed a picture of the simple little one I created out of my lighthouse charm a couple of weeks ago; now I can describe how it came to be made out of the supplies found in this kit shown at right.

This was discount store purchase ($3), consisting of 199 pieces meant to be made into four different bracelets. As you can see, there are a multitude of amusing little charms included, as well as some basic beads. Since two of the intended bracelet projects are charm bracelets, a couple of chains are also included, along with the required jump rings and small lobster clasps to finish them off.

In my previous post about zipper pulls, I mentioned that I needed to get myself some head pins before I could start making my own. Hard to believe, but I still have not found the proper size head pins yet! (I'd like them to be longer than 2.5"/50mm and those seem to be the longest ones that I've encountered.)

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As usual, however, I tend to "make do" with what I have on hand. For example, the thin wire removed from the ribbons that I used to make my origami ribbon coin purses actually came in quite handy as a pin substitute when doubled and then redoubled. And in fact, the wire is a better solution if you want to attach a charm at the end of the zipper pull. But before I describe how I used the wire, let me show you the results.

Here are my supplies dumped out on a paper plate...

Beaded bracelet supplies
Ready to create!

And here is what I made with them...

Handmade zipper pulls by eSheep Designs
Six different zipper pulls so far (including my lighthouse charm at the top)...

Here is what some of them look like hanging from an early project of mine. This first one is on a chain...

Handmade zipper pulls by eSheep Designs
Blue seashell zipper pull with lobster clasp...

And here is one of the "wired" zipper pulls...

Handmade zipper pulls by eSheep Designs
Butterfly zipper pull with a clip from my own collection...

The interesting thing about a wired zipper pull is that you can manipulate it...

Handmade zipper pulls by eSheep Designs
A curvy zipper pull!

Wanna make one? Here is my simple "how to"... you'll need some thin wire, some beads, a clip fastener of some sort (or just a split or jump ring) and a small pair of pliers.

Take a good length of the wire — about 12" or 30cm — and thread it through whatever charm you have to work with. (Alternatively, take a look at this project from Sew4Home that features a tassel at the end of its zipper pull.)

How to make your own zipper pull by eSheep Designs
1) Thread wire through the charm...

Pull the ends of the wire even and twist it all the way to the ends.

How to make your own zipper pull by eSheep Designs
2) Twist the ends of the wire together all the way...

Create your zipper pull by threading on your beads of choice.

How to make your own zipper pull by eSheep Designs
3) Thread on your desired beads...

Next, take whatever "clipping thing" (lobster clasp, split ring, jump ring) you are going to use to attach to a zipper and thread it through the wire. (Yes, this next picture is of a different project; I didn't attach a ring to the other one until the end.)

How to make your own zipper pull by eSheep Designs
4) Attach a lobster clasp or split ring...

Now thread the wire back down through the beads to the end. Stop when you have just a small loop at the top.

How to make your own zipper pull by eSheep Designs
5) Thread the wire back down, leaving just a small loop at the top...

Pull as tight as possible — being careful not to lose your loop at the top — and then twist the end of the wire around itself right above the charm.

How to make your own zipper pull by eSheep Designs
6) Twist the end of the wire around itself at the bottom...

At some point, cut off the excess and use a pair of pliers to crimp where the wire is wrapped around itself.

How to make your own zipper pull by eSheep Designs
7) Clip off excess wire and crimp...

And there you have it — simple as simple can be and you can be as creative as you want at whatever budget level you have!

How to make your own zipper pull by eSheep Designs
8) Attach to a zipper and enjoy your bag bling!

Here are my finished zipper pulls hanging from my Hot Hues Convertible Crossbody Fooler Bag.

I'll be back to this topic soon with some of the zippiest (and quite possibly cheapest!) zipper pulls ever... stay tuned!


  1. I know of one place that sells the eye pins 3" long. New Mexico Bead and Fetish: http://www.nmbeadandfetish.com/Silver-Plate-Eye-Pins/productinfo/F38/
    I bought some there years ago. They sell silver plate and silver too. The silver is more costly and I don't need all silver for a zipper pull.

    I love to make zipper pulls for all my bags. I do mine a bit differently than you and I make mine shorter too. But that's the beauty of making your own is you can do your own thing and get just what you want!

    1. Thanks for the lead, Daryl. I don't make enough projects requiring zipper pulls to merit putting more effort into this right now, but good to know other sources of material.

      Oh, and I'm publishing this comment of my own just to let readers know that if they want to get some inspiration from the "Queen of Zipper Pulls", they should visit your blog!

  2. I have only ever made zipper pulls with charms and ribbons. Thanks, Rochelle, for a fab tutorial on how I can add a little more bling to zippered pouches. It won't happen anytime soon, as my To Do list is a mile long, but I'm Pinning for future reference.

  3. Now this is truly a tutorial that I can and will use! I've seen so many zipper pulls on sewing projects, but I have yet to find a tute on how to make them! I've actually bought the tools, some beads and charms and the wires, but couldn't figure out how to pull it all together. It's not rocket science, but it does help to have great photos like yours. Thank you!


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