The Sugru design story

Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh is an Irish artist and inventor. She won the 2018 European Inventor Award for Small and Medium Enterprises for Sugru, a mouldable glue that was described by Time magazine as one of the world’s best inventions.

She came up with the idea of Sugru, a mouldable elastomer that can be used to repair broken items, whilst studying product design at the Royal College of Art. She combined bathroom sealant with wood-dust powder, which resulted in bouncy ball that looked like wood.

She has since won lots of awards, sells in lots of different countries. In 2017, Jane estimated that Sugru had been used to fix more than ten million items. Impressive.

Update: After reading the original Sugru Fixer’s Manifesto, you can see many of Jane’s ideas coming through.

2003 While studying for my MA in product design at the RCA in London, I had a bit of a crisis. A niggling thought stopped me in my tracks. "Do I really want to design more products?" There's far too much waste in the world. I don't want to buy new stuff all the time. What if I could fix and improve and reimagine the stuff I already have to make it work better for me?
If I'm honest, the first version of Sugru was pretty horrible - it was immensely sticky, smelled awful and had no chance of being industrially produced. But it did help me fix and improve things around the house! I imagined a sort of space-age rubber with amazing properties - super-easy to use, sticky and durable. I knew that if I cracked it, it would have a million uses! The only problem was; I gave up chemistry in school.
2004 The idea wouldn't leave me alone. I filled notebooks with thousands of little drawings of things people might do with it, from the practical to the downright absurd. I knew that by tapping into people's innate creativity, all kinds of products could be fixed and reimagined. When the most common questions at my graduation show were "how much is it?" and "where can I get it?" I knew I was onto something.
2005 After paying a contract lab a lot of money to do a few experiments, I realised the only way to develop this material was to do it myself.
With Steve;s help, I set up a small laboratory, and learned the basics so I could start what was to be two long, hard years of formulation work.
2007 Back in the lab, we started to get consistently strong and stable materials, but making sure the material stuck to lots of other materials was still a big challenge. Our user trial group (mainly our friends and family) grew to over 100 people. Their feedback was informing our lab work. Basically, everyone was saying "make it stick to more stuff".
2008 Five years later, I still hadn't found a good name for it. One day in May, riding downhill on my bike, I thought of the word Sugru, inspired by the Irish word for "play".
2009 Over the Christmas break I had time to meet with an old friend for a cup of tea, and she gave me some of the best advice I've ever had. I'd always wanted Sugru to be big- available in the shops for anyone to buy, like duct tape or post-it notes. I'd let this ambition for scale and ubiquity get in my way. Her advice was to "start small and make it good". I promptly made this my new year's resolution.
2016 As a community, we've now fixed more than 10 million things. That's a hell of a lot of fixing! Think about it. 10 million things that didn't go to landfill. 10 million things that were lovingly saved, resurrected, revived, re-invented and made to work better and last longer. Wow.
2017 After 5 years of intensive and challenging work in the labs, we were finally ready to launch our new Family-Safe | Skin-Friendly Formula. Down the years, families everywhere told us that their kids wanted to fix things too. The challenge to balance technical performance with chemistry mild enough for little hands was huge. It took a mammoth commitment, but we cracked it! Now everyone can be a fixer, whatever age you are.

Sugru, England


We’re FORMFORMFORM, a small but perfectly formed team of inventors, material scientists, designers, video makers, business and production people based in Hackney in East London. Sugru is our first product, and we’re growing quickly!

We’re on a mission to help the world get fixing and customising again. It’s not about ‘making do’ though – it’s much more than that. It’s about taking control and repairing, modifying and evolving the products we own so that they work longer, harder and better for us. Sure, it’s economical and sustainable, but most of all, it just makes sense.

(In 2018, FormFormForm was acquired by German adhesive company Tesa SE, a subsidiary of Beiersdorf.)

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