If you're thinking about trying some repairs, you'll need glue. 2 basic types:
White water-based craft glue (may smell of ammonia) UK Brand 'Copydex'
Creamy solvent-based rubber cement (will smell of solvent) UK Brand 'Bostik'
Different brand names are available in different markets. Do some online research.
Water-based craft glue should be applied thinly end evenly to both cleaned surfaces and left to dry.
Press gently together, make sure properly aligned and no air bubbles, then press really hard. Leave overnight to harden.
Excess water-based glue can be wiped away with a damp cloth before the glue has dried. After it has dried, refer to the manufacturers instructions for glue removal products.
Solvent-based cement is waterproof and some say stronger, but cannot be posted as it is flammable.
It is similar to the glue used in tyre repair kits - a small tube might be all you need. These glues generally make latex curl, so use masking tape/painters tape on the reverse of the latex to stop it curling till the glue is dry. Stick together as above.
Excess solvent-based glue can be removed when wet, or with patience when dry, using a solvent such as cellulose thinners, white spirit, nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol etc. If in doubt, test a patch unseen first.
Many minor tears or holes can be repaired at home. With practice, you can become quite competent.
Here's a short tutorial to repair a 1" or 25mm tear in the edge of a CLEAN garment.
Tools and materials
Something to cut a latex patch - ideally a rotary cutter (ebay) or very sharp scissors.
Something to roughen the latex surface to provide a 'key' for the glue which could be fine sandpaper
Something to stop the latex stretching, masking tape/painters tape
Some latex to make a patch - from scrap, old garment or trim a slice off the hem
Something to glue it which could be the cement from a cycle puncture repair outfit (other types of glue available locally)
Something to de-grease like lighter fluid or some spirit
1. Cut a patch 1.5" long x 0.5"wide. Yes, it's small. Trim one end to a semi-circle. Fix the shiny side of the patch to a bit of masking tape.
2. On the outside/shiny side of the garment, close the rip and hold it with masking tape applied to the outside. Make sure the rip is completely closed, no gaps, no overlaps - else re-do till prefect.
3. Use abrasive to roughen the latex to provide a key for the glue to grip to. Any chlorinated latex - do it twice!
4. Wipe clean/degrease the areas with a spirit like rubbing alcohol, white spirit, meths, lighter fluid and leave to dry.
5. With the masking tape still in place, apply glue to the patch and to the tear area the same size as the patch (or slightly bigger)
6. Leave to dry. Really dry. Like an hour.
7. Remove masking tape from back of patch and carefully, lightly place the curved end over the top of the rip. If not aligned well, you should be able to lift the patch off and re-align (that's one reason for letting the glue dry first). Press the patch lightly down the length of the rip, ensuring no air bubbles get trapped. Press again a bit harder. Then press really hard all the way along to make the bond nice and strong. If you have a small wooden decorators roller - that's even better.
8. Leave overnight to dry thoroughly, then carefully remove the masking tape from the back of the rip. Trim any excess patch overlapping the hem. Clean any marks from the masking tape using whatever solvent cleaner you used before.
9. Gently tug the latex repair by the amount that bit of garment would normally get stretched in use.(consider re-wording this!)
(eg a skirt hem - hardly any stretch, the neck of a tee - a bit more) If the rip starts to open again under strain, you will need to consider repeating the process with a second patch on the outside of the garment. You need to balance the visual impact against the usage. Your call.
After you've done this two or three times you'll be confident to tackle bigger repairs, alterations etc. Possibly.
Testing 6 adhesives on 5 materials (photos soon!)
|To bond a selection of materials used in making latex clothing with various adhesives.|
|To test the bond strength by stretching until failure or maximum elongation reached|
|To record the result of each test as a multiplier of elongation.|
|To note trends and exceptions for posible further tests|
|10cm x 3cm strips of new 0.4mm thick black Radical Rubber latex, sovent-wiped for glue|
|Similar strips of chlorinated latex. Black cotton twill tape and nylon zip cloth|
|6 adhesives as listed below|
|Adhesives were applied to materials using plastic spreader, and left to dry as recommended|
|Materials were pressed together with a 1cm overlap, then pressed firmly with a roller|
|Bonds were left for one hour, then tested by stretching against a ruler to determine|
|amount of stretch before bond failure - i.e. which bonds were stronger|
|Scoring - number indicates number of times stretch before bond failed|
|NOTE: A score of 5 = 5x elongation - the maximum stretch in the latex and no bond failures|
|1st||Bostik - best in all classes except latex to industrial rubber where it was 2nd equal|
|2nd||Black Witch poor on latex but great on others! Drawback being its colour|
|3rd||Copydex is good at fabric bonds, less so with latex to latex, though still a good all-rounder|
|4th||Scotch weld produced a surprising set of results, though as a spray, it's difficult to use|
|5th||Evostik - middle-of-the-road general purpose adhesive. Not recommended|
|6th||Truflex - remarkably good on latex; even more remarkably poor on all else!|
|Conclusion||These proving tests indicate some strengths & weaknesses and could be used for guidance|
|in planning any future, detailed tests.|
|I wanted to see if Copydex would out-perform Bostik on cloth elements. It didn't|
|I was surprised how well the chlorinated latex generally held up, with no special prep|
|Need to find a way to test bonds beyond the 5x stretch of the latex|