Tutorial + How-to: Make Zipper Pulls from Vintage Medals

Vintage Medal Zipper Pulls (1 of 1)

Did your backpack USED to have cheap-o zipper pulls that totally sucked and then fell off, leaving you with nothing to grip?

The zipper pulls that you’re going to replace them with are NOT going to suck–I guarantee it!

Maybe you were a studious little kid and won a lot of academic awards, like I did, or maybe you’re just a good garage sale and thrift store shopper. Either way, grab up a handful of old award medals, some vintage jewelry, and some pliers, and check out how to replace your janky zipper pulls with these excellent, sturdy, striking zipper pulls made from vintage medals.

Vintage Medal Zipper Pulls (1 of 3)1. Break down the medals and the jewelry. If your medal came with a ribbon to hang it around your neck, cut it off and toss it–it’s probably gross by now, right? If it came with a brooch attachment, however, you might want to hang onto that; I’ve got a tutorial coming up in a few weeks that might interest you mightily.

To attach the medals to the zippers, you’re going to need some vintage link jewelry, key chains, bracelets, etc. For three of my zipper pulls, I’m pulling apart a vintage metal links belt that I scored at a garage sale for 50 cents; for the other two, I’m using stash key chains that I found in my supply closet.

Vintage Medal Zipper Pulls (2 of 3)2. Attach the links to the medals. Using a couple of pairs of needle nose pliers, twist a sturdy link open (or pry open your key chain–you get the idea). Remember: links do NOT open like Pac Man’s mouth! Just twist them gently open, using the same motion that you use when ripping a piece of paper.

Put the medal onto the link, but don’t close it yet!

Vintage Medal Zipper Pulls (3 of 3)3. Attach the links to the zippers. Hook the link around the zipper part, then, with a pair of pliers in both hands, twist the link closed again. Give it a good, hard, tug to make sure that it’s secure, then repeat with all the other links and medals.

And that’s how you wear your little-kid nerdiness with pride!

P.S. If you need more organization in your life, check out these labeled zipper pulls!

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.

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