I don”t know exactly why, but I’m fascinated by big zippers with metal teeth. Maybe it was growing up in the days right before plastic zippers. Maybe it’s the combination of soft fabric and hard metal. Maybe it’s their utterly simple and effective design.
The result, though, has been that I’ve used zippers as trim on shoes, as embellishments, and as the subject of a how-to tutorial. Lately I’ve taken to painting and/or glittering zippers and using them on shoes and bags. Here’s my first completed project like that.
This particular brainstorm started when I went on ebay to find old metal zippers. I ended up with a bunch of 7″ and 22″ vintage zippers with large teeth and big metal rings as zipper pulls.
Then I decided to see what would happen if I dabbed some of our Glitter It! Glaze onto the zipper tape.
I chose colors of Glitter It! that were similar to the color of the zipper tape so I wouldn’t have to paint the tape first. The results were great! (From left, the colors are Crushed Crystal, Dusty Lavender, Watermelon — to be added to our store in January — and Starlet.) Now all I needed was something to put them on.
I dug around in our stash of second-hand bags and shoes, and came up with this simple clutch. I played around with where to place the zippers and which of the Lumiere colors would work best together if I did some color blocking.
I chose Grape for the top panel, left the middle panel its original black, and painted the bottom part in Halo Pink Gold. (Of course, Grape and Halo Pink Gold are the colors that photograph the worst. The Grape is actually much less blue and the Halo Pink Gold is more orange. Oh well.) I also painted the back of the bag in solid Grape.
I had already played around with placing the zippers, and decided to open each of them a little to show some of the black area beneath. I wanted to make the middle zipper open farthest, which is why I painted that little black triangle in the center of the Halo Pink Gold area, as you saw in the color-blocking photo.
Once I had the placement right, I marked it with tailor’s chalk, then cut the zippers’ top edges and glued them down with the Ultimate, which is what I prefer for gluing fabric to painted leather. I didn’t need to worry about the cut edges ravelling because the Glitter It! Glaze I’d applied acted like glue in keeping the zipper tape from fraying.
I did the same thing at the bottom, though I needed really strong shears (I used Fiskars Ultimate Titanium Craft Scissors) for cutting through the teeth. (Before cutting, I applied E6000 glue to the teeth all around the point where I would cut so the zipper wouldn’t accidentally open while I was working on it. That has happened before and it’s a b**** to get it back together!)
Then I sat back and admired my work! Sad thing is, I don’t carry clutches! I keep putting them down and leaving them behind. But I still love my new Triple Zipper bag. I think of it as my Christmas present to myself, and gifts don’t have to be practical!