words William Wiles
Sugru is a new silicone adhesive that has been developed to let people repair and adapt their stuff. Invented by Royal College of Art graduate Jane ní Dhulchaointigh, the product caused a minor sensation online when it was unveiled at the end of last year. “We made a thousand packs, thinking ‘oh, it would be quite nice to sell those in December’,” ní Dhulchaointigh says, “and we sold out in six hours.”
The substance comes in an airtight pack. When it’s removed, it’s soft and workable, but adheres to aluminium, steel, ceramics and most plastics. It remains workable for 30 minutes after being exposed to the air, and takes 24 hours to completely set. However, it remains flexible after it has set, and is waterproof and dishwasher-safe.
Sugru is obviously useful for household repairs, but ní Dhulchaointigh sees its main application as being the alteration of people’s possessions – adding a comfortable grip to an uncomfortable tin opener, for instance. Ní Dhulchaointigh calls this “hacking”. This outlook helps explain the product’s name – Sugru mean “play” in Irish.
“I think the type of person who uses it has a playful attitude towards their stuff,” ní Dhulchaointigh says. “It’s a sort of attitude where you think “well, I know better than who made this for me” – that’s a kind of playful attitude.”
The company is now looking for investment to expand production, with the aim of getting Sugru into shops.