Play-Doh for Adults Makes Home Repairs Easy

SugruI’ve got a houseful of stuff that works okay, but used to work better. Sound familiar? These days, between our overflowing landfills and dwindling bank accounts, household items need to last a lot longer than they do -- and DIY has gone from hobby to necessity.

Let’s face it, though: We’re not all Martha Stewart, or even the Home Improvement guy. Just ask my guest bathroom, which still lacks a new toilet-seat cover (it’s a work in progress). Thank goodness there’s a fun new option, then: When hot-glue cracks and crazy-glue can’t get a grip, now there’s Sugru, a Play-Doh-like silicone that molds like putty and dries like plastic.

It made Time magazine's 50 Best Inventions of 2010” list. But does it work? I tried it, and I have to say -- I’m a fan. It might be a thrifty mom’s best friend, and it’s fun to use!


Sugru (Gaelic for "play") is the brainchild of a design student named Jane ni Dhulchaointigh (whoa!) who wanted a durable way to “hack” things that were falling apart. She hired some scientist friends to create a silicone rubber that could be molded by hand and would dry at room temperature. It comes in bright colors, sticks to most surfaces, and after it dries, it’s resistant to heat, cold, and water. It’s even dishwasher-safe.

As usual with things that are left to the imagination, I was totally stymied as to how to use Sugru myself. The examples on their website are super-duper-oomper-loomper cool, but I just lacked the inspiration when I looked around my house. Yeah, my iPhone can use a cover like that, but it already has a cover. What else could use Sugru’s help?

Well, first thing's first: Design geeks have a love-hate relationship with Apple products. As in, love their design, hate their cost. So I upgraded my iPhone plug, which had seen better days. Beautiful? No. But much safer to use, and more stable than electric tape.

Sugru Apple

My changing table’s drawers are roomy, but hard to keep organized. I had bought drawer dividers, and they came with nifty two-sided tape that seemed like an ideal way to keep the little walls in place – only they popped off almost immediately. Enter Sugru. Because of the way you can play with it, you aren’t left with super-glue disasters. You can try a few different placements before leaving it to dry in place.

Sugru Drawer Separator

I also fixed an uneven chair that a previous application of the hot glue gun had done nothing to remedy. (Couldn’t get enough in there, and when I thought I did, it just cracked.) Worked like a charm: No more tilting at the dinner table!

Sugru Kitchen Chair

My drab-to-fab upcycled dresser had a slammy drawer. Sugru fixed that right up easily. I was also able to fashion pegs to hang the middle shelf on.

Sugru Drawer Slam

Oh, and this poor, deceased duck (pigeon? partridge? whatevs) got a new (matching!) lease on life. In fact, my husband went buck-wild on a pile of the kids' crappy plastic where-did-they-come-from toys that had shattered in their overzealous fists. They're all back in circulation and so far, so good.

Sugru Duck

Now, I will say this: The stuff stinks until it dries. You should plan your Sugru projects for after the kids are in bed and open the window. Pyoo. But once it dries, it really is dishwasher-safe and sticks like a charm. And if you’ve got more imagination than me, you’ll be able to use the bright colors to create accents and fun patterns where there previously were none -- making things stronger and prettier, or at least more interesting.

Hang on, I've got that cracked refrigerator door that keeps dropping hot sauce on my foot. And that rack in the dishwasher that's rusted through. And wait, this could hold that blasted cup-holder onto the stroller. Hmm ...

Which of your broken home items could use a little Sugru?

Image (top) via

Read More >