I used to think Velcro was magic. In high school, my new pair of tennis shoes came not with laces but with a brand-new space-age material that made everything easier. Ok, not everything, but putting on my shoes and running out the door before my mom realized where I'd gone.
This magic material was Velcro -- one part pillowy soft and the other small bristled hooks. Kiss them together and they remained locked forever.* Or so it seemed.
But Velcro is a miracle no more, at least for me. My first disappointment came when I tried to use small Velcro circles to close my upcycled cell phone bags.
I should mention that people who like Velcro tend to be impatient, get-to-the-point individuals. Ones who jump right in and don't bother with instructions. Thus, I assumed that these "no sew" Velcro circles would be perfect for the bags. Just peel off the backing and stick them to the fabric.
But no. It turns out that there are different kinds of Velcro closures. The ones I chose aren't for fabric at all. (So what are they doing in a fabric store?) I discovered this when the circles kept falling off every time I opened one of the bags. (Luckily, none of them sold, so no customers were harmed by my mistake.)
Ok, so I couldn't use the sticky side to adhere the Velcro to my bags. I would sew it on. Funny, my sewing machine didn't want anything to do with this Velcro. Fine. I resorted to hand sewing. Pushing the needle through took effort, too much effort, it seemed. The needle was coated with sticky glue.
Turns out the "no sew" part of the label doesn't mean "you don't have to sew" but "you must NOT sew" the closures onto fabric. What's a few (7) ruined needles when you learn such a valuable lesson?
Finally, and most horrifying, I learned that the glue on the back of "no sew" Velcro is made of chemicals. These chemicals can react with some materials to produce a sticky goo.
I discovered this goo one day when I was preparing one of my recycled book Kindle cases for shipment. I unhooked the tab keeping the case closed. My fingers stuck to the tab. It took me awhile to realize what had happened. The polyester in the faux leather strap had interacted with the glue in the Velcro. I think the polyester actually began to melt.
I was aghast. Really. Mostly because I wondered if any of the cases I'd already sold had begun to melt in my customers' hands. Argh!
Luckily, I was able to remove the Velcro and clean off the goo using Goo Gone (of course). I took another Velcro square, and instead of sticking it directly to the strip, I glued it to a piece of inert (I hope) plastic. Then I used E6000 to glue the square to the polyester. So far, this has worked.
So no more Velcro. Now I'm using benign elastic bands to close my eReader cases.
*According to its Wikipedia entry, Velcro is "strong enough that a 2-inch square piece is can support a 175-pound person." It was originally marketed as the "zipperless zipper." Yeah, just zip it, Velcro.