How to Fix a Broken Zipper Pull (Replace a Zipper Pull Tips)

The history of the zipper can be traced back to 1851 when Elias Howe Jr. received a patent for an “automatic, continuous clothing closure.” It has pretty much remained the same over the last hundred years. Since zippers haven't changed much since they were first invented, their issues have also remained the same. Sometimes the zippers get stuck and sometimes the zipper teeth don’t clinch.

One of the most annoying problems with zippers is the zipper pull coming off. Imagine you are putting on your favorite outfit and while zipping it up, the pull comes right off. Isn’t that just frustrating?

If you are familiar with such a situation, read on to know how you can easily replace a zipper.

What is a Zipper Pull?


A zipper pull is a piece of metal, fabric, or plastic attached through a zipper slider's hole in a garment. It gives you more leverage to grasp onto as you move the slider up and down the zipper teeth.

What To do When a Zipper Pull Breaks Off

Have you ever tried to move a zipper slider which does not have a pull tab? Very difficult, isn’t it? So what do you do when a zipper pull breaks off? No, you do not need to discard your garment. In fact, it is very easy to replace a zipper pull. If you cannot buy a zipper pull, you can always make one at home.

Can a Broken Zipper Pull be Replaced?


Zippers tend to be very sturdy and long-lasting but they are not without their share of problems. If your zipper pull comes off while you were getting ready, it can be frustrating. Are you wondering if you can replace your zipper pull so that you don’t ruin your garment? The answer is Yes. It is very easy to replace a broken zipper pull. (fix a zipper stuck on fabric)

How To Fix a Broken Zipper Pull

When a zipper pull breaks off, it can be incredibly hard to pull your zipper up. However, it is extremely easy to fix.

If you are in a hurry, you can simply slide a paperclip through the tab on the slider and you have yourself a zipper pull in no time. If you don’t have a paperclip, a keyring, a thin rubber band, or even a telephone wire connector will do the job. It may not be the perfect solution, but when you are pressed for time, these will get the job done.

How To Replace a Zipper Pull


Replacing a zipper pull is pretty simple. No, it is not costly and you easily do it yourself at home.

Follow these simple steps to replace a zipper pull:

  1. Get a replacement zipper pull tab - Zipper pull tabs are available almost everywhere. You can find them at fabric stores or you can buy them online. You can also find zipper pull tabs in some craft stores. They are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. You have to pick one that is proportionate to the size of your zipper slider. For a large zipper, pick a large pull tab. For a dainty outfit with a smaller zipper, pick a smaller pull tab. If buying a replacement zipper pull tab is not an option, you can salvage one from another zipper on an old dress.

  1. Pry off the loop on top of the zipper slider - You will need to pry it off if the loop is closed end-to-end. Use pliers to grab the base of the loop and pull it off. Be careful or you may damage the zipper slider. If the loop is open like a hoop, you can skip this step. See if you can fit the zipper pull under the tab.

  1. You may remove the old zipper pull tab if needed - Sometimes the zipper pull tab breaks in half or the top part of the slider comes off. If the top part of the slider comes off there is nothing to hold the pull tab in place. In that case, lift it off the zipper. You can wriggle your old pull tab out of your slider has a hook-type loop instead. If you still can’t get it out of the hook-type loop, use a flat-head screwdriver to pry the hook open. Grab a pair of pliers to pull off any broken bits of zipper pull tabs.

  1. Insert the replacement pull tab - You will notice 2 small stubs when you remove the loop of the zipper slider. These stubs are where the loop is attached to the slider. Place your replacement pull tab such that one of the stubs is inside the loop at the top of the pull tab. For hook-type loops, slide the replacement pull tab under the slit. You may use a flat-head screwdriver if the slit is too small.

  1. Snap it shut after you have replaced the loop - Put the loop back on top of the zipper slider ensuring that the teeth fit into the grooves. Press down on it firmly. For a hook-type loop, your job is done. However, if you feel that the pull tab may fall off, just use pliers to clamp the loop shut.

How To Insert a Zipper Pull


Inserting a replacement zipper pull is quite simple. Lift the zipper slider that holds the pull tab in place. Be careful not to damage the slider or the piece that holds the tab in place. If you apply too much force it may break off entirely. Work slowly and with care to avoid this mishap.

Use pliers to remove any remaining pieces of the old pull tab, if necessary.

Now slide the new zipper pull in to place underneath the lifted piece of metal. Secure it so that it does not slide out. Bend the slider that secures the pull tab back into position. Once again, be careful so that you don't accidentally break the slider.

Does Michaels Sell Zipper Pulls?

Yes, you can buy quite a variety of zipper pulls from Michaels. They also sell zipper repair kits.

Does Walmart Sell Zipper Pulls?

Yes, Walmart sells zipper pulls. They are available in packages of multiple zipper pulls. There is also quite a considerable variety available at Walmart’s.

What Can I use as a Zipper Pull?

Several things can be used as a zipper pull tab. You can use whatever is handy at the moment as a temporary solution. A keyring, a sturdy piece of yarn, a rubber band, a thin piece of wire- all of these things can double up as a zipper pull in emergency times. You can also use a piece of fabric sewed up like a zipper pull. The possibilities are endless.

If you want fancy zipper pulls for your bags, pouches, or dresses you can make some at home too. Since you can use any material, the more creative you are, the more options you have.

DIY Zipper Pull Ideas


If your zipper pull tab has come off you may need to get a replacement zipper pull tab. You may need to pry the zipper slide first to remove any bits of the tab.

Some zippers come with a locking mechanism. You can see it if you look closely at the zipper from the side while moving it up and down. You should be able to see a lock moving up and down inside the loop where the zipper pull tab was attached. You will need to get the locking mechanism out of the loop. Move the slider slowly till the loop is clear.

If you need a zipper pull tab quickly, here are some easy DIY ideas for you:

  • Paperclip - A paperclip is the easiest option for a zipper pull tab and is very easily available. Use the end on the paperclip outside to feed it through the loop on the zipper slider. You will need to rotate the paperclip so that both the U-shaped loops are facing in the opposite direction of the zipper. You can use any paperclip that is available- a metal one or a plastic one. If you want the paperclip to match your zipper slider, look for a colored paperclip in the same shade as your slider.
  • Keyring - If you want a sturdier option for a zipper pull tab, use a keyring. We recommend using a small ring, about an inch in diameter. Larger keyrings can be visibly noticeable and clunky.

    Use your fingernails to pry open the end. If it is difficult to do it with your fingernails, use a knife or a flat-head screwdriver.

    You need to now slide the end of the keyring into the loop. Keep going till the keyring is completely attached to the loop and closes by itself.

    Using a keyring can also be a great idea if your jeans zipper does not stay shut. Zip up your jeans, slide the keyring over the button, and then close the button. Your jeans zipper will stay in place.

    • Thin plastic cord - Another quick and easy way to make a DIY zipper pull tab is to use a thin plastic cord. Find a plastic cord that is thin enough to pass through the loop on the zipper slider.

    Cut a small piece, push it through the loop, and then tie the end in an overhand knot. The knot should be half an inch or an inch away from the loop. If there is any excess cord left, cut it off.

    If you are using a nylon cord, you can use a candle to melt the end together for a more smoothened look. If possible, look for a plastic cord that matches the color of your zipper. Alternatively, you may also use zip ties if they are thin enough to pass through your zipper loop.

    • Ribbon - If you want a slightly fancier look, you may use a thin ribbon as a zipper pull tab. Pick a satin or a grosgrain ribbon thin enough to pass through the loop on your zipper slider. Cut out a 2 or 3-inch piece and feed it through the loop.

    For the end of the ribbon, you may do one of the following:

    • Tie the end together in an overhand knot to form a loop.
    • Use a needle and thread to sew across the end to create a loop. You will need to sew at least 2 to 3 times using a zigzag stitch.
    • Use fabric glue or hot glue to stick both ribbon halves together so that it looks like a single strip.
    • Metal wire - Using a metal wire is a good option if you are looking for something sturdy as a zipper pull tab. You will need a short piece of wire, thin enough to go through the loop on the zipper slider.

    Feed the wire through the loop and then twist the ends together to form a stem. Be careful to leave some space between the stem and the loop so that you can easily move the pull tab up and down. Use a wire cutter to cut the excess wire.

    • Heavy-duty jump rings - If you are in the mood of something very fancy, you can use heavy-duty jump rings to attach charms to your zipper pull tab.

    Use pliers to open a jump ring and slide one end of it through the loop on the slider. Close the jump ring using pliers.

    We recommend using a jump ring that is a quarter of an inch or half an inch thick. When putting charms on the jump ring, choose those that you can hold between your thumb and index finger.

    Other items that you can use to make a zipper pull tab are pipe cleaners, twist ties, and even unfolded paper clips.

    Different people have different choices in garments. Their choices vary not just in the way the garments look like but also in the way they are secured. The humble zipper remains the most preferred method of securing a garment. If you are facing any issue with your zipper pull tab, you can use the handy tips given above to find a solution.

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