3 Types of Zipper Stops

Item # X-HT-300021

When making a custom zipper for a project, you have two options. You can either cut continuous zipper tape to size, or you can shorten a finished zipper to suit your needs. Both methods offer the flexibility to add zippers to a variety of DIYs. However, they also require you to add a stop to one or both ends of the zipper to keep the slider from falling off. In this blog, we’ll discuss the three most common methods for installing zipper stops.

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Premade Stops

Installing a premade stop is the quickest and easiest way to stop a zipper. These loose stops are similar to the ones installed on finished zippers in factories. They’re also great as replacements for broken or missing stops on existing zippers. Sailrite® carries a variety of top and bottom stops.

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It's a good idea to select a variety of premade pieces in case you need a replacement zipper stop.

Our inventory of top stops includes plastic and metal pieces. Metal top stops are available for metal, molded tooth and coil chains. Some metal top stops crimp onto the zipper tape. Others have prongs that pierce the tape and close around the back of the teeth. Or, choose a SNAPCAP® for molded tooth chains. It’s a cinch to install this plastic stop over a zipper tooth — just place, twist and push.

Top stops still allow the end of the zipper to separate. You’ll need two top stops per end, since one zipper top stop installs to only one half of a zipper. You can add top stops before or after sewing, depending on whether you want to remove the zipper slider while you sew.

Sailrite also carries metal bottom stops for metal and molded tooth chains. Like top stops, these bottom stops either crimp onto the zipper tape or pierce it and wrap around the teeth. A zipper bottom stop permanently closes the zipper end that it’s installed on. You only need one bottom stop per end, and you can install it before or after sewing.

When would you use a top stop versus a bottom stop? Top stops and bottom stops can go at both ends of a zipper. You can also use top stops and a bottom stop on the same zipper. It all depends on whether you need one or both ends of your zipper to separate or not. Choose the best combination for your project.

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DIY Fabric Stops

If you don’t want to buy any extra pieces, you always have the option to sew the zipper ends into your project. This is useful if your zipper is long enough to reach a seam or hem, since you can then sew it closed.

You could also make a simple fabric stop for your zipper. This method is a good option when your zipper isn’t long enough to reach a seam or hem, or when you like the look of a fabric stop. Plus, a fabric stop takes advantage of scrap materials you already have on hand.

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Using your project or a material scrap is a stylish way to stop a zipper.

To make this stop, cut a small rectangle of fabric, binding, leather or other project material. Fold it over the zipper teeth. You could also make an end patch that covers the top of the zipper but doesn’t fold over to the back. Sew your stop in place while sewing the zipper into your application. This simple method creates a clean-looking stop that blends with your fabric. However, it does require you to keep the zipper slider in place while sewing.

You can sew the zipper into your project or install a fabric stop at either end. Just be aware that you have to sew over the zipper teeth to use these methods. Use the following strategies to avoid damaging your zipper and your needle.

For coil and molded tooth zippers, turn the balance wheel by hand to sew slowly through the teeth. For metal zippers, sew up to the zipper teeth, then raise your needle and presser foot to skip over the teeth. Lower the foot and resume sewing on the other side of the teeth.

DIY Molded Tooth Stop

The third method is another resourceful way to use materials you already have. In short, you can use a hotknife to melt the teeth of a molded tooth zipper together. You can use this method to create a top stop or a bottom stop. Here’s how.

To make a top stop, cut a section of two to three teeth from a scrap piece of chain. Fit this piece into the teeth on the end of your good zipper. Then, melt the teeth together with a hotknife. This method allows the end of the zipper to separate.

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Melt molded tooth zipper chain together for an easy DIY zipper stop.

To make a bottom stop, simply melt the two halves of the zipper end together to create a permanent closure. The end of your zipper won’t be able to separate.

Both methods create a subtle and permanent zipper stop. You can make these stops before or after sewing, depending on which closure you need. Just remember that this stop variety requires a hotknife and only works on molded tooth zippers.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, there’s really no right or wrong way to stop your zipper slider. It all depends on the materials you want to use, the look you want for your zipper and your project's specifications. What’s your favorite way to stop zippers? Do you use a technique that we didn't mention? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below!

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This blog was updated in October 2023 to include SNAPCAP top stops, as well as more detail on installation methods for the different stop types.