[The official sugru FAQ] Any questions? We've got answers!

Because sugru is a new invention with all sorts of cool properties, we get asked lots of questions about what it can do, how best to use it, and what it's all about. So we thought it was about time we had an FAQ ! We'll be putting it up on the main site one day, but for now - it's up here and on gurus.

If you have a question that's not here, just post it in the comments below!

Where did the name ‘sugru’ come from? Jane is Irish, and sugru is inspired by the Irish word for play :-)

How do you say it?! Sue-groo!

I’m having a problem with my order! Where can I find help? Email your query to [email protected], and lovely Linda will get back to you within 24 hours :) We don’t work weekends though, so all weekend queries are answered on Monday.

Where can I find instructions showing how to do a particular hack? Take a look at the guides section here on the website, we make new step-by-step guides and video tutorials all the time. If you can't find what you're looking for there,  post a question here in the Q&A section, we're always happy to help!

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? We produce new step by step guides all the time so if you have a particular request for a guide, let us know!

Is there something I can do to increase the shelf-life? Yes! The best way to extend sugru’s life is to store it in the fridge. The cold helps sugru last up to four times as long. Our priority R&D project is to extend the shelf life of sugru – we’re making good progress, but for now the fridge tip is the best way to keep your sugru fresh.

What does sugru bond to? sugru bonds really well to wood, glass, fabric, ceramics, leather and most metals – including aluminium, steel, iron and enamelled, powder coated, lacquered and spray-coated metals. It also bonds to most rubbers and plastics like ABS and Polycarbonate. If you're having trouble with bonding, double check that the surface is clean and dry, and perhaps roughen it with sandpaper/a file to create a more grippable texture.

Tip: if you want to see if sugru will stick to a particular material, save a tiny piece from another hack and apply it to the surface in question. You’ll have your answer 24 hours later :)

What materials does sugru not bond to? sugru and most other adhesives struggle to bond with Polypropylene, Polythylene and metals with certain oily finishes. If you want to use sugru as an impression/moulding material, the best release agent we’ve found is soapy water. It doesn’t leave any residue on the sugru afterwards, and is very clean and easy to use.

Is sugru removable? From non-porous surfaces - yes! To remove sugru, simply cut off the bulk of it off using a knife or scalpel. You can then remove the residue with your nails and some tissue.

Here’s a video we made showing how.

If you stick sugru to a porous unglazed ceramic surface, or unvarnished wood, it will be removable but will leave a stain. From fabrics and leathers - once you’ve worked sugru into fabric, it will be very difficult to remove, and will always leave traces.

What are the limits on how thick you build sugru?  You can build as big a layer of sugru as you like but bear in mind that sugru cures from the outside in and will cure about 3mm every 24 hours. If you build a very thick section, it will cure but just give it longer to do so.

Can you paint sugru? As sugru is a silicone and cures to a flexible rubber, it’s likely that paint will flake off. You can, however, mix and blend different colours of sugru together to get the shade you need. There’s a colour mixing guide available here on the website.

Are you able to make transparent sugru? We agree this would be a cool addition to our range, but as the majority of materials that make sugru special are non-transparent, the end result is non-transparent also. If you need clear material, craft resin is your best bet.

Can you sand sugru? Yes, this works well if you want to shape cured sugru. Do be aware that sanding will result in a more porous surface than the naturally sealed surface you'll get if you just let sugru cure without sanding. You can also carve or cut cured sugru with a sharp knife.

How can I achieve a good surface finish? You can use soapy water (a splash of washing up liquid in a glass of water) to get a smooth surface finish. Simply dip your fingers into the soapy water and gently rub the surface of sugru.

Water mixed with washing up liquid is great for smoothing pre-cured sugru

Can I texture sugru? Yes, the best texturing technique is to gently and repeatedly roll your texture onto the surface rather than firmly pressing it on. We love the effect that a toothbrush achieves, and people also love to use sandpaper, pen tips, scalpel blades etc. If your texture tool is sticking to the sugru, just dip it in soapy water.

Can I mould sugru? Yes, sugru can take perfect impressions of textures and be used to mould parts. Simply rub a fine layer of soapy water onto the surface you don't want sugru to bond to. Soapy water is the very best release agent we have ever used and we have done quite a bit of research into release agents.

sugru can be really sticky! Any tips on reducing that? The more you handle sugru, the stickier it will get so you might be kneading it a bit too much. Also...

  • sugru will be a little firmer from the fridge, so if you are storing it there to prolong its shelf life, you’ll also get this benefit.

  • Some people like to let it rest for about 5 minutes after opening the pack; this helps to reduce the stickiness.

  • If you find that sugru is sticking to your fingers, just use dry tissue paper to wipe it off, you'll find that it sticks a lot less afterwards.

Help, sugru stains my fingers! What’s the best way to clean up? sugru is self adhesive so naturally it will try to bond to your hands; what looks like staining on your fingers is actually a fine layer of sugru. Give your hands a quick wipe with dry tissue paper to remove this residue. If it persists after that, you can wash your hands with washing up liquid or clean them with baby wipes.

Is sugru skin friendly once it has cured? I want to make a set of custom-moulded earbuds. Yes, the warning on sugru regarding sensitive skin refers to its uncured state. When it's cured, it's safe for everyone and general skin contact. However, it's not medical or food grade, so we can't recommend it for internal contact - e.g. a mouthpiece. In-ear applications are fine, but if you have sensitive skin, let the sugru cure for a few days before using them to make sure they're completely cured.

Can sugru be used in contact with food or drink? sugru is fine to use for handles and the outside of kitchen equipment, but not in direct contact with food or drink. We're working on new chemistry that we hope will change this, but it's still a way off being ready.

Will it work in my dishwasher/oven/on my Arctic expedition? Yes! sugru can take any temperature between -50°C and 180°C. It’s waterproof, dishwasherproof, heatproof, freezerproof, UV resistant and electrically insulating. Just don’t use it in direct contact with an open flame!

I only want to use part of a 5g pack. Can I save the rest for another time? You can reseal a minipack, yes - but...it's not easy. For most people we recommend you line up 2 hacks or more if they are tiny. If you really want to persist with resealing then you're probably a hardcore user, and this is for you: a post we made that shows you how!

Is sugru eco-friendly? That's a tricky question - a small amount of sugru can help to prolong the life of complex and large items but in itself, as a material, it's not particularly innovative from an environmental perspective.

  • sugru is a silicone, and the same environmental guides that apply to general household silicones apply to sugru.

  • It's not petrochemical based, but it's not biodegradable.

  • sugru is manufactured in a low energy, low heat mixing process, however this is not necessarily true of its raw ingredients.

  • We encourage using the minimum possible for the job, and using any left for other potential improvements even if you don't have another broken thing.

  • The question of the environment relating to most manufactured items is very complex, and we try to do our best as a company to find the most sustainable ways of doing what we do as regards raw materials, waste, recycling and energy.

  • We work hard to encourage a culture of repair and maintenance, and a pragmatic attitude to problem solving, we hope this will help in some way towards making our culture more sustainable.

And is it biodegradable?  You can cut cured sugru into little bits and add them to your compost, where they will break down into their constituent parts over time, but no, it’s not fully biodegradable.

Can I recycle the foil packet?

- Foil Pouch (old packaging) Unfortunately the foil can’t be recycled due to the triple-layer material technology necessary to preserve sugru.

- Card + clear plastic bag (new packaging) Partly - yes, the outer card and clear bag can be recycled. The silver minipacks can’t though, due to the aforementioned material technology necessary to preserve sugru.

Why do you talk about ‘hacking’? That word means something different to me… There are many definitions of the word hack; for us a hack is a clever solution to an everyday problem. We feel that it captures a strong can-do attitude that we hope inspires people to take control of their stuff.

So, how do I win Fix of the Month?!  Tricky one! We're open to all submissions - a winning application might be big or small, simple or complex, practical or wacky...it's not an exact science, mainly because we love all hacks :) However, there are a couple of things to try to make sure that your project is primed to hit the five multipack jackpot...

1. Great hacks deserve great photography!

  • A bright, clear and in focus image that really shows off your handiwork will always catch our attention. It might be a close-up of the hack on a plain background, or something that shows it off in its natural habitat.

  • Daylight shots are a good start, whichever setting you choose.

  • A series of images is great, especially if it shows a step-by-step or before and after process.

2. Share your story

  • Once you've taken the picture, tell us a bit about the project. What problem did you fix? What made sugru well-suited to it? How did you apply it? Did it save you money, or time, or earn you a bit of love at work/at home? Hearing your stories is our favourite part of our jobs, so don't spare us the details!

3. Pick your platform

One last thing - make sure your signed up to our awesome monthly newsletter, as that's where we announce the winners. Just fill in the form on the top left of this page and you're good to go :)