More attractive alternative to zip ties?
January 13, 2014 11:48 AM   Subscribe

Is there a better looking alternative to zip ties? We have something that we would like to secure in place, and zip ties would work nicely. However, we would like a better looking option, if possible. Is there anything that is functionally equivalent, looks not-too-bad, and can ideally be bought at Home Depot?
posted by SpacemanStix to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Home Depot sells Velcro Zip Ties.
posted by LightMayo at 11:51 AM on January 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

A hose clamp might fit some definitions of more attractive.
posted by that's candlepin at 11:51 AM on January 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

The velcro ones also come in colors. Can you talk more about what your needs are? Other options might be clear monofilament, colored zip ties, handsome cable clips or something else depending on what needs to be done.
posted by jessamyn at 11:54 AM on January 13, 2014

Strip the core strands out of some paracord, run the zip ties down the middle, and then melt the ends of the paracord to cover the zip ties' joints. Viola!

You can do the same with the wire from inside scrap 12 ga. romex!
posted by wenestvedt at 11:57 AM on January 13, 2014

What do you find unsightly about them? My biggest zip tie peeve is when people use it and don't do anything about the dangly bits. They should be snipped close to the catch after they have been cinched in which really visually cleans them up.
posted by like_neon at 12:05 PM on January 13, 2014 [6 favorites]

Heatshrink could work for cable or wire-like things. Your local electrical supply house will probably have a variety of cable ties. Depending on your application, some other kind of fastener might also work.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 12:08 PM on January 13, 2014

If you are ok with stainless steel, there are stainless steel cable ties, which work just like the plastic ones.

you can also get the plastic ones in pretty much any color you want, to match whatever you are attaching to. one thing when using zip ties is to put the buckle on the back (if possible) so that it is hidden.

another option is cable lacing, where you use a running stitch of twine to accomplish the same thing as evenly spaced zip ties along a bundle. this is what was used before zip ties were available.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 12:10 PM on January 13, 2014

Decorated binder clips? Comb binding? Pipe cleaners? (Knowing what you're attempting would be a big help here..)
posted by sageleaf at 12:11 PM on January 13, 2014

There's RABALDER cable conduit from IKEA, or plenty of knockoffs from online stores.

Or did I read wrong and you're trying to secure something like a power cord to something non-cordy like a table leg?
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:11 PM on January 13, 2014

Bondage tape. No, really. It's pretty useful stuff. Sticks to itself but to nothing else. It can also be purchased in not-sex-toy packaging, but it's a lot easier to find marketed as bondage tape.

Silicone tape is similar and much more durable, but a bit harder to apply tidily.

Carefully-applied electrical tape can also work, though it leaves residue if that's a concern.
posted by ook at 12:15 PM on January 13, 2014

Great ideas, these are very helpful. It's being used to temporarily hold together a component on a piece of furniture until a more permanent fix can be made. So functional and able to support some weight (not a ton, but a bit), and ideally not ugly.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:15 PM on January 13, 2014

Yeah, it would be helpful to know a little more about the specific application and what's making the zip ties stand out as ugly (too plasticky/cheap? wrong color? the lines break up what should be a smooth surface? or what?). Most things that are functionally similar to zip ties are going to also possess many of the visual features of zip ties, so they wouldn't be an improvement. Personally, I'd just try to camouflage the zip ties after the fact-- depending on the situation, you could hide each tie under a:
fabric strip
folded wrapping paper
slim strip of leather
bunch of strings of seed beads
braid of raffia, etc., etc.

Or get some friendly plastic (available at most craft stores) and mold yourself a custom cover to snap over the zip tie once it's attached.
posted by Bardolph at 12:17 PM on January 13, 2014

Home depot also sells these great big Gear Ties. Big rubberized twist tie like things that are pretty sturdy.
posted by sanka at 12:26 PM on January 13, 2014

Seconding Sanka, I'm a big fan of Gear Ties.
posted by alms at 12:34 PM on January 13, 2014

I once did an ornamental knot called a French whipping to help support/repair a snapped supportive board in a futon frame.

It was a very strong repair, because I used wood glue to both repair the snap and to help secure the whipping when I was done tying it. The whipping and repair held for years of regular use.

Also the nature of the French whipping knot is that the knot of each half hitch buts up against the previous one forming a nice spiral around the knot the longer you tie the whipping.
posted by kalessin at 12:44 PM on January 13, 2014

Hitch knots? It depends on the shape of things a little, but that's a decent approximation of a zip tie.

It's good enough for NASA!
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:14 PM on January 13, 2014

Note: The white/transparent zip ties are the strongest. Colored ones are made of a different material and can break easily.
posted by luckynerd at 1:22 PM on January 13, 2014

Maybe a ClampTite?
posted by pont at 1:37 PM on January 13, 2014

My suggestion was a Clamptite too. It at least lacks the raised bit inherent in zip tie use.

like_neon: "They should be snipped close to the catch after they have been cinched in which really visually cleans them up."

Zip ties should either be installed with a tensioning tool which cuts the excess off below the level of lock or they should be twisted off with a pair of pliers. Either method prevents the extremely sharp edge that usually results when the tails are just snipped off.
posted by Mitheral at 8:02 PM on January 13, 2014

Arrange the zip tie so the closure is in the least obvious place. Cut the end off the zip tie.

Go to a fabric store and buy some trim that will look nice with the furniture. You could get wide trim and wrap it around once, or a narrower trim and wrap it several times. You might want to get extra to make matching wraps around some other part of the furniture so it looks symmetrical/matching/whatever. If you really want it to look symmetrical, put a zip tie on the part that isn't broken before you cover it up.

Build up the area around the zip tie with some tape to make it more even. Wrap the trim around and glue or tape it in place.
posted by yohko at 10:46 PM on January 13, 2014

« Older Am I making a mistake by going down this freelance...   |   What wine is the same as "Mommy Juice" white? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.