DIY handbag repair
September 14, 2012 7:00 AM   Subscribe

The strap of my handbag broke and I'm looking to repair it but how? As you can see by this photo, the short metal bit fits into the metal cap. The metal cap holds the end of the braided strap but the strap does not fill the cap entirely; the end where the opening is is hollow. Would filling it with some kind of glue or epoxy work? But which kind?

It's very annoying as this handbag is barely a month old and has not received much use. When the strap came off, I thought a flange (?) had broken off the metal bit but there is nothing rattling around inside the cap.

So I have no idea how it held together in the first place but I am wondering if I fill the hollow part of the cap with some kind of glue and stab the metal bit back in, that it will hold. The glue would need to work with metal. I'm not sure how flexible it would need to be. I'd also need to get it into the hole. Any ideas?
posted by TWinbrook8 to Grab Bag (13 answers total)
The epoxy idea might work; I don't think Krazy-Glue is strong enough but it does have a needle tip that would make it easy to get the glue inside the metal cap hole. I would never trust it to hold any weight in the bag, though. There's just not much surface area on that short metal bit for glue to grip.

You might be able to make your own flange somehow (is that short metal bit hollow, maybe?), with some wire or a paper clip.

I think your best bet might be to just go with the fact that the entire strap is so easily removable (with the latches on each side), and replace the whole thing with whatever you want. Which is a shame, since the braided strap looks very pretty. Maybe try replacing the end cap/latch on both sides of the strap -- scout around a craft store and see if they have anything that looks promising.
posted by asperity at 7:13 AM on September 14, 2012

I don't know how to repair the metal bit, but if both ends of the strap are connected to a metal loop on the bag itself, throw out the strap and replace it with a belt or scarf or similar. I did this recently. Here is the final result: Pic
posted by Michele in California at 7:14 AM on September 14, 2012

It's hard to glue metal to metal.
If it's only a month old, I'd just take it back to the store and exchange it.
Even if you don't have a receipt, they should do it.
Especially if you bought it on a credit card, because they can just look that up in their systems.

Bags should not fall apart in a month.
posted by rmless at 7:20 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Look into Sugru, that stuff is amazing.
posted by saffronwoman at 7:23 AM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

You might try taking it to a shoe repair place, they might be able to figure out a fix for it, they're used to working with metals and leather/fabric.
posted by HuronBob at 7:25 AM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

Just take it back to the store and return/exchange it. A purse shouldn't break after only a month.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:48 AM on September 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

There is no glue strong enough to do what you're envisioning, in my opinion.

You were right about the flange, but you don't hear any parts rattling around because the flange was very narrow.

You need to get the strap out of the cap (that's where you'll need the glue when you put it back in) insert the little metal stud back into the cap, then tap the end of the stud with a hammer and small punch until the end spreads so much it won't come back out of the hole, then glue the strap back into the cap-- probably with epoxy.
posted by jamjam at 8:00 AM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

Glueing it is not a bad idea and you are right about epoxy; thatt's the best stuff to use. The problem is going to be getting the exposed peg clean enough for the glue to stick though.

If you wanted to try it you could try sanding the exposed peg down to bare metal. Dont touch it with anything once it's clean then stick it into the Epoxy filled hole. It probably wouldnt do any harm to have given the end of the brass cap a clean so any glue on the outside will help stick it together.

However, IMHO a better option is to take it back to the shop and complain vociferously, in the first case, and in the second case replace it with a better quality strap if complaining fails. If one end has failed, the other may not last long either?
posted by BadMiker at 8:12 AM on September 14, 2012

Best answer: It's not clear from the pic, but if the end of that little metal pin is at all rough, then it was probably cast in one piece with flange (or soldered onto it), and just snapped off. If that's the case, it's hard to see how you'd be able to repair it effectively. Besides the problems with metal-on-metal gluing, as described above, there was a reason the pin wasn't solidly joined to the cap before-- because that's a stress point for the strap, and it was useful to have it be able to rotate and flex as the purse moved. Epoxying the whole thing will substitute a rigid joint that'll be much likelier to fail (or to cause failure somewhere else) under stress. With that said, Gorilla Glue is a kind of adhesive that foams and expands a bit as it dries, so as a last-ditch effort you could probably try piping the cap half-full of GG (through the bottom hole), inserting the pin, and seeing whether that dries firm enough to hold.

Failing that, I'd either take the whole purse back to the store, as recommended above, or contact the purse manufacturer to see if they can send you a substitute strap. I've done the latter with camera bags in the past, and had some success.
posted by Bardolph at 8:12 AM on September 14, 2012

I think epoxy putty like this would do it - after you knead the two components together it's a play-doh consistency for about 10 minutes then hardens like a rock. If you can manage to drill a little hole in the sticking out part (the part attached to the clip, not the strap) then that would probably give it more stability. This stuff can be used to mend pipes so it's pretty strong, and you can find it in the plumbing section of any hardware store.
posted by selfmedicating at 9:49 AM on September 14, 2012

Response by poster: Wow, so many ideas, I love it. First, I neglected to mention that I bought the handbag out-of-state so returning is not an option but, thanks to Bardolph, I emailed the manufacturer. Also, no shoe repair shops in my vicinity which is a disgrace. Michele in Calif, I love your idea! and can't wait to try it sometime. Saffronwoman, I've been dying to try Sugru so that and the Loctite Epoxy that selfmedicating recommends will be my next step if the manufacturer--Big Buddha--doesn't respond.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:25 PM on September 14, 2012

Sugru will not be strong enough (I have used sugru for things before, and it is awesome--but not for this).

I think your best bet is probably to entirely replace the fittings on the strap (probably have to do both sides, as it will be hard to match the exact fittings). A craft store might have to special order it, they don't always carry fittings that are that large, or you can buy online--what you want is a lobster hook end cap.
posted by anaelith at 2:09 PM on September 14, 2012

Response by poster: After several emails, I managed to persuade the company to send me a new handle. They were initially reluctant because I hadn't purchased the bag directly from their website. They sent two straps though, so when the next one breaks, I'll be ready for it!
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:07 PM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

« Older My new roommate just declared: no dates can ever...   |   Lost iPad. Erased from iCloud. Now what? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.