Guide for repairing tears in rubber, latex garments

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  • Keep adhesive, thinners and materials with these products on, away from flame.
  • Do not smoke when working with these products.
  • Work in a well ventilated area.
  • Do not work on varnished or lacquered surfaces – even if covered with paper.
  • Keep away from children, animals and people who ignore the above.


  •  The correct solvent based adhesive and thinners (obviously).Bostik 6009 & Evostik 6009
  •  Tall jam/preserve jar with lid.
  •  Matching latex to patch with.
  •  ½ inch /12mm good quality (non—shedding)  paintbrush with a wooden handle ( plastic one will go soft after a while).
  •  Wallpaper seam roller.
  •  Scissors.
  •  A smooth flat surface to work on, it will get glue on it, i.e. a sheet of melamine coated hardboard, stainless steel, acrylic sheeting old formica topped table etc.
  •  Good quality masking tape, 2inch/50mm makes life easier
  •  Time and patience.
  •  Talc.


 Put enough adhesive in the jar for immediate use, replace lid on can. The idea of having a tall jam jar means that you can keep the brush in the jar with the lid on.Use the thinners to make the adhesive the consistency of thin cream.

 If you are repairing a garment (here I am assuming a simple tear not through seams etc) use the thinners sparingly on a soft clean, lint free rag ( a cut up old T-shirt is ideal) to remove polish, talc etc, the rubber may expand dramatically, especially on the thinner grades – do not worry it will return to normal. Do the same to your patching piece. Traces of silicon polish will create a weak repair.

 When it is completely flat, which could be after some time, tape the tear along the the line of the tear with good quality masking tape on the right side attempting to butt the torn edges together and keeping it smooth, time and care taken here will improve the look of the repair. Apply more tape so that it overlaps the tear area by at least ¾ inch/20mm.

 Cut out your patch, ideally your patch should overlap the tear by ½inch, 12mm, each side and ends.

 Apply, masking tape to the right side of your patch, this make its easier to handle. putting the matte side to matte side generally creates a better join, but if you think it will look better the other way that is fine.

 Apply adhesive using the brush to the patch and tear area, thinners can be used to thin the adhesive if it is a bit thick. A thin even coating is all that is required; more glue does not make it stronger, replace lid on jar.

 Again there may be some “bubbling” ,wait, until it looks completely dry and has gone back to being flat – at least 20 minutes in a warm environment. Do not even think of trying to speed up the drying process. Check that the tear has not come away from the masking tape.

 Starting at one end of the tear carefully apply your patch , smoothing with your fingers as you move along the tear, being careful not to trap air, do not apply pressure.

 Check the right side, if OK, roll with seam roller. If you think you could do better, carefully remove the patch, if it seems reluctant use thinners to dissolve the adhesive, do not tug or you may make the tear worse. Then repeat cleaning process etc.

 If your repair looks OK, carefully remove the masking tape, this is why you need a good quality tape, cheap brands will leave a sticky mess behind.

 Lightly dust talc on wrong side, clean off any excess adhesive on the right side with a little thinners on a soft cloth.

 Although the spec gives no curing time, experience has shown that full strength is obtained after 24 hours.

 More complex tears through seams, near zip fastenings will require more work. Ideally one should un stick the seams and repair the panel and reassemble, probably adding a reinforcing patch afterwards.

 The classic mistakes are, attempting a repair ten minutes before you want to wear it, not allowing the adhesive or the thinners to dry, if you mate the surfaces while still "wet" the solvent will have not be able to evaporate and the join will fail. More adhesive does not make for a better join. My advice is to practice with some scrap pieces before tackling a repair on a £500 catsuit.

Please feel free to offer any suggestions or corrections.


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