French-style barrette hair clips are both simple and magnificently brilliant in their design: 3 (or sometimes just 2) separate pieces of springy steel that snap together – without adhesives or fasteners – to create just the right amount of tension for a range of different hair thicknesses. Think about that for a moment!
All PlatypusMax barrettes are this French style clip, and, believe or not, it has only been around since the 1970s.
The design piece is the part of the clip that you will spend the most time looking at. It is visible when the clip is in place, and, for my clips, is made of decorated reclaimed leather or bicycle tubes. I attach these design pieces to the base of the barrette clip with sturdy metal double-cap rivets. A few designs use "fancy" styles of these rivets, but most use a simple coordinating metal tone, pressed flat to firmly secure the hold.
Then there is the spring, an arch-shaped piece with 2 fork-shaped ends. And, finally, the outer piece, which attaches itself to the base piece when the barrette is closed, and snapped into the hinge side.
Some Common Problems with Simple Solutions
1. A loose clasp
The clasp is the part of the clip that locks shut and holds the barrette in your hair. You want the hold to be strong. It is formed by 2 folded sides of the base piece with just the right amount of tension to keep the mushroom-shaped tabs inserted into the outer piece, but loose enough to release when the tabs are squeezed.
When you squeeze the outer tabs together, the mushroom gets narrower and releases the clasp. Because this clasp is made of metal, frequent use may eventually narrow this "mushroom" such that the clasp no longer stays closed.
To fix, simply take the 2 tabs in opposite thumbs or fingers, and very gently pull them away from each other until the clasp seems to hold more securely. If you pull too far, don't worry, you can just push them together to adjust.
2. Detached Parts
Sometimes the 3 metal barrette clip parts will come apart. While this can be frustrating, know that there is a relatively simple fix. No tools required!
The spring – the arch-shaped piece with forked ends - does not attach at all to the base, it simply sits there with the forks tucked under the hinge. If the 3 metal parts have come apart, make sure to do this step first.
The outer clip: If the outer hinged piece has come off, first replace the arch-shaped spring piece (see above).
Then, look closely at the barrette body. The hinge side has 2 small holes, which are for the 2 small pin-shaped pieces on the end of the clasp. Twist the clasp at a slight angle and fit one pin into one of the holes then pop the other in.
And, of course, if these steps either don't work or you would prefer to return your hair clip, that is also no problem!
3. Detached Design Piece
A common problem with many barrette design pieces is that they become detached from the clasp. If you were to experience this with a PlatypusMax barrettes without clear mis-use (e.g. ocean swimming, fighting fires, etc.), please reach out so we can assess and most-likely replace your defective clip. Other barrette brands may have been glued, and if that's the case, a bit of hot glue may help extend the life of your clip, but realize it also may not stay long.
I hope this information is helpful! Please drop me a note if you have any questions.
Please excuse my crafters' hands in these photos! Yes, they are often slightly toned with leather dye and sparkly paint!