Glue / Nail Polish Aglet

Soaking the shoelace end either with general purpose glue or with several coats of nail polish produces a more durable aglet.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Glue / Nail Polish Aglet picture 1

Squeeze a small amount of either glue or nail polish onto the end of the shoelace. While this is drying, squeeze and twist the end to both reduce the thickness of the tip and to aid glue penetration.

Step 2

Glue / Nail Polish Aglet picture 2

When completely dry, trim any rough ends, then add another coating of either glue or nail polish for a smoother, longer lasting finish.

WARNING: As pointed out by visitor Karni P, don't try this with an "instant" cyanoacrylate glue, such as "Super Glue" or "Krazy Glue". These will bond skin and other surfaces on contact, making it nearly impossible to manipulate the glue-soaked end to form the aglet.

Technical Information

What Sort of Glue?

Preferably choose a glue with an acetone-based solvent, such as "Tarzan's Grip", "Elmer's Clear Household Cement" or "Britfix Balsa Cement", just to name a few. These will dry clear, hard and waterproof, as opposed to the PVA based glues such as "Aquadhere" or "Elmer's Glue-All", which are not as hard and are only water resistant. You can tell the difference by their look and smell – acetone based glues are clear and have a strong petro-chemical smell, whereas PVA glues are milky white and smell mildly acetic.

NOTE: Glue manufacturers have health warnings against "prolonged skin exposure" to the above acetone-based glues, so wear gloves if this is of concern (or if you hate sticky fingers). Use acetone, thinners or nail polish remover to clean up afterwards.

Nail Polish

Clear nail polish is a perfect substitute for glue, while colored nail polish can be used to add either a complementary or contrasting color. Nail polish with glitter can be used to add some sparkle.

Liquid Electrical Tape

It has also been suggested by several visitors to use "Liquid Electrical Tape" instead of glue, though I haven't tried this myself. Liquid Electrical Tape comes in either a tube or a tin with an applicator brush. It forms a smooth, opaque, slightly flexible aglet.

Visitor Feedback

If using Krazy Glue or Super Glue to repair an aglet according to your directions, isn’t there a concern about getting that type of glue on one’s fingers and having one’s fingers get stuck to each other or something else? I know I’ve read that warning on those glue packages. I’m thinking maybe your instructions should take that into account so someone who’s naïve to that possibility who tries your method of “massaging” the glue into the shoelace end would know to avoid that problem.

– Karni P., Dec-2010

Superglue will easily make an aglet if applied to a twisted section of shoelace or string or twine or small ropes and then cut at the twisted or shrunk or stretched or thread bound section. Used cotton shoelaces may cure the glue so quickly that they might begin to smoke or catch fire.

– Rob B., Nov-2009

I live on a horse farm, and as such, I have access to either new, or used syringes and hypodermic needles. When I have a breaking, or broken aglet, I take some "gorilla glue", which is a multipurpose glue that reacts to water and expands as it cures, and use the syringe/needle combo to inject a small amount in the remaining aglet, or a mold created with tape. When it cures, it cures inside the lace, and except for a small amount that may expand out of the tip, it looks completely normal. Even after the aglet breaks off, the lace remains in the exact shape it was in before, and does not fray. It's almost an internal aglet.

– John M., Nov-2007

When my kids tips fall off, I trim the end and dip it into clear fingernail polish for a couple of centimeters. I let it partially dry (until a dry tacky stage - takes practice) and then roll the tip between my thumb and finger "squeezing" together to shrink the tip and compress the end. I then redip in the polish and let set at least 15 minutes to dry. This usually holds well and the kids outgrow the shoes before I have to do it again.

– Melody H., USA, Mar-2006

I repair aglets much like the thread & glue method. I stretch about an inch of the end of a shoelace between two locking pliers (or a vise and plier). Soak the end lace with epoxy, twist to make it thinner, remove excess glue, trim when dry. It makes a rugged repair.

– Bob D., New York, USA, Sep-2005

I was just taking a quick look at your aglet repair methods. Here's one I use very often. Doesn't last extremely long, but is quick and easily accessible!

Simply dip the end of the shoelace in some transparent nail polish (or even coloured nailpolish) and let it dry! Does wonders for a frayed shoelace tip!

– Farah N, India, May-2005

If you'd like to send feedback about Glue / Nail Polish Aglets, please Contact Ian.

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