Sewing Tips: Attaching Snaps

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Sometimes I forget that not everyone knows how to do something or is familiar with a technique.
Like attaching snaps, for example.
Snaps are easy, easy, easy.  And can be used instead of buttons/buttonholes (if you hate sewing those), hand-stitching something into place (which takes time), or because a pattern calls for them.
I shared how I made my interchangeable flip-flop back straps (found here), which uses snaps….and then had questions and emails about how to attach a snap.
No problem.
If you have never used snaps before……..you’ll see you’ve been missing out on a simple little sewing invention.
First of all, there are 4 parts to a functioning snap.  There is a socket and ring prong on one side of the snap and a stud and ring prong on the other side.
And my tool of choice to attach the snaps?  The Hammer Tool.
Below, I have attached two sets of snaps………and just need one more set to be able to close the fabric together.
So, on the top piece of fabric, I place one of the ring prong piece on the top side of the fabric……..
………..and then push it through to the other side.  Can you see the little prongs poking through on this side of the fabric?  (You don’t have to push the prongs through before continuing, but I always do.  This just assures that the prongs are pushed through in the right spot and won’t shift before I’m able to hammer it in place.)
Then, I place the stud piece (or you can do the socket piece first…..doesn’t matter) right on top of the prong pieces poking out.  The prongs will fit into the grooves on the under side of the stud (and socket) piece.
Then, I place the hammer tool right on top of the stud piece……..
……..and then hammer a few times.  This secures the two piece together, clamping the fabric tightly between them.
Attach the other side of the snap the same way to the other piece of fabric, but place the prong piece on the under side of the fabric, with the prongs facing upward.  Then place the socket piece on top of that and hammer down with your tool the same way. Now the 2 sides will snap into place, closing your pieces of fabric.
Pretty easy, right?
The snaps that I use most often, are a very inexpensive brand that I find at Walmart……Prym Sewing.  (And the little hammer tool comes right in the snap package. Well, if you want it to.  There are packages without it too.)
They look just like the ones found here.  There are many brands and sizes found in stores and online.  I’m sure they all work just fine.
You can also purchase a plier tool that will help you squeeze the snaps into place, without needing a hammer and the hammer tool.  I bought one of the plier tools once and it didn’t work right (the prongs weren’t correctly smashed into the stud and socket pieces) and so I never used it again.  I returned to my ‘ol trusty hammer tool and have used it ever since.
Image source
Another option is to buy sew-able snaps.  They come in plastic or metal and have little holes around the edges of the snaps so that you can hand stitch them in place.  These are great if you don’t want to metal ring to show from the outside of the fabric.
Image source
You can also find the circular side of the prong pieces in different colors (to match the clothing better) or even a closed circle…..so it’s not a hollow circle ring from the outside.  There are also pearl-y looking ones and fancy diamond covers to the top prong piece.  It just depends on the look you’re going for and where you’ll be using them.
Does that help? And ease your fear of snaps?
I hope so.
Now dash to the store and get a few packages of snaps…….you’ll find more uses for them now that you know how easy they are to attach.
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Comments

103 Responses to “Sewing Tips: Attaching Snaps”
  1. 1
    kikicraig says:

    I love using snaps! Don't forget that you can also get pretty ones – I like the ones that look all pearly, make me feel fancy ;)

    • 1.1
      helen 07 @cox.net says:

      have a elderly male who cannot button or snap his shirts to close them thinking about the magnetic strips but how do I put them on the shirt he has been using twisties

      • 1.1.1
        diane says:

        I did this for my grandfather……buy some simple round magnets……cut circles (small) or squares of material…..sew onto the inside edge of the shirt and slip the magnet in and sew shut. Do both sides of the shirt front. Just make sure you have the magnets facing the right way. I sewed mine tight so the magnets wouldn’t turn when washed and dried.

  2. 2
    Nancy says:

    I once had a fear of snaps..it was so much fun to overcome…

  3. 3
    Lisa Christine Johnson says:

    I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who had a hard time with the snap "pliers". I think I got it to work correctly, um, once. Oooh, so frustrating! I quickly returned it to the store. I am so going to find one of those hammer pieces! Thanks!

  4. 4
    Andrea says:

    I hated those pliers, too. They ruined a few projects for me. I've been afraid to try snaps ever since, but will not go look for the little hammer tool. I'm excited!

  5. 5
    Sonja says:

    I LOVE using snaps!!! It's so quick and I do not have to get out my button hole attachment for my machine…I guess I'm lazy like that.

    I do love using the tool and hammer method but I use A LOT of snaps. If you like having colored snaps to match the fabrics you are using this is a great source. http://www.snapsource.com/store/snapcolors.php

  6. 6
    Jennifer says:

    I haven't been able to get that plier thing to work properly either! I also went back to attaching them with the hammer tool, so much easier!

  7. 7
    Lisa says:

    Thank you so much! I've been intrigued with using snaps lately and not a single employee at the fabric store could tell me how to put them on or what to buy! I'm so excited….to Wal-Mart I go!

  8. 8
    Ashley says:

    Ack, glad I'm not the only one who hates the plier too. Annoying.

    Sonja – Thanks for the link……I may need some in every color now!!!

    Ashley

  9. 9
    Tanya says:

    Those pliers make me insane! I've tried the cheapies and the supposedly better ones and they were ALL terrible. Hammer tool is the way to go!

  10. 10
    Sonia says:

    I bought the pliars, and threw them away. I thought it was just me. Glad to hear others couldn't use it either! thanks for the tutorial. I've been wanting to try snaps again. I need to find that hammer toool.

  11. 11
    Shirley says:

    I agree the plier really stinks! I do know how to add snaps but just wanted to say this is an excellent tutorial for those who don't. :)

  12. 12
    Melissa_Loves_Broccoli says:

    I prefer the hammer tool too, I was given a plier tool as a gift and it didn't work right, but I thought it was the only option, for years, until I discovered the hammer tool (which is a fraction of the price!) and have been happily snapping since.

  13. 13
    Terry says:

    This was so helpful. Off to Walmart. Thanks.

  14. 14
    Lisa says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I have the plier tool and was never able to get it to work correctly so I had given up on snaps. I will definitely try this method instead!

  15. 15
    Emma says:

    I like using snaps too! I think you have inspired me to come up with a little creation this morning. Thank you!!

  16. 16
    Kerri says:

    Guess I am the only one who had the opposite experience; couldn't get the hammer and snaps to work at all. Very frustrating. But the pliers worked great for me.
    But then I didn't have the cool little hammer tool, either.
    Either way…snaps are great!

  17. 17
    Lynette @ My Craft Discovery says:

    Oh thank you! You've talked about snaps a few times, and they scare me! I was also scared of a magnetic snap for a purse, but once I tried it once it was easy! I need to try these once, and I know I'll be hooked!

  18. 18
    Mike and Shayla says:

    I'm going to have to try this. BTW, I've always called them male/female snap parts, and I always felt a little weird about that, like it was too graphic, haha! So I'm glad to have learned the terms "stud/socket".

  19. 19
    Rosie says:

    Want to know something funny? I randomly woke up this morning and thought how cool it would be to use snaps on a project sometime (no joking) except I didn't know how to do them. Now I totally do! You are the best!!

  20. 20
    Leanna says:

    Wow! Thank you so much for dumbing down the process for people like me who need a whole step-by-step explanation WITH pictures. I'm so visual (which is why I love your blog–your descriptions are always full of step-by-step pictures). Thanks again! =D

  21. 21
    Angie says:

    Thanks so Much for this! I've been wanting to make the baby some cute bubble rompers. And they all call for snaps! This info will come in handy. Can't wait to get busy!

  22. 22
    Li says:

    Thank you for this! I love that you post tips for all the "scary" little things that everyone else assumes I know how to do. :)

  23. 23
    Lil Mama Stuart says:

    it DOES ease my fear, thank you!

  24. 24
    Brett and Ashley says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I was interested in making something that required snaps but never having done it before I was completely overwhelmed just figuring out what to buy. Now I know I can head back to the store with confidence. Thanks again!

  25. 25
    OLLIE MCKAY'S ~ A Chic Boutique says:

    Hey ~ I think even I can do this!!! :-) Thanks for sharing!! I'm ready to go make something. . . . .anything!

  26. 26
    Emily says:

    I had horrible luck with the pliers too! I tried once and gave up. I need one of those hammer pieces. :) Thanks for sharing!!

  27. 27
    Becki and Jeff says:

    Hammer tool, huh? I'll give that a try before I finally give up on snaps. I hate, abhore, detest the pliar tool.

  28. 28
    Natalie says:

    You know, I have always wondered how to do that. Thanks for posting. Love the blog!

  29. 29
    jennielouwho says:

    Do you ever have trouble with snaps pulling apart later on? I used them on a few baby items that I made and later the snaps would separate. I haven't used snaps at all since then.

  30. 30
    camis says:

    I just started using snaps and I have had a hard time finding a hammer tool so I just used a spool of thread. I place it over the snap as you have shown with the hammer tool and it works great.

  31. 31
    dannyscotland says:

    I put my snaps on with grommet pliers instead of the ones for snaps. They usually work fine for me, and I only don't use the hammer tool because I'm usually doing this type of thing while my daughter sleeps.

  32. 32
    PearlsForMyGirls says:

    I am with you on the pliers! I might have to try grommet ones as one comment suggests!

  33. 33
    Inge's Gift says:

    Thanks!

  34. 34
    Nicole Johnson says:

    I was using snap tape because I was just too scared to try to do the hammer thingy. Your pictures are great, and your explanation is really helpful!

  35. 35
    Lettie says:

    I'm a big fan of snaps in place of buttons. I just have not mastered that whole buttonhole thing! Good to know the little tool works so well. I have the clamps and they have been nice, but like you said, haven't been perfect every time, causing me to ruin snaps. Also, just a thought/idea for you and anyone who might read this comments, if you need colored snaps and you happen to have nail polish already in that color, you can skip going to buy new snaps and just paint a few of the silver ones. It has worked great for me when needed!
    (Oh, and brilliant idea yesterday with the flip-flops!)

  36. 36
    Caren says:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this post! I have been so frustrated by snaps in the past that I usually just switch them out and use velcro instead. (Not so pretty, though).

  37. 37
    Chris says:

    I'm to be really into gothic/industrial clothing and want some my clothing to have grommets or snaps on them. I bought the grommet tool, but haven't been able to get it right. Thank you thank you for the info! I think I wasn't working on a hard enough surface before, and wasn't hammering hard/accurately enough–but now it works!

  38. 38
    VickiT says:

    Thank you for this post. In answer to your question ~ I HOPE it fixes my fear of snaps. LOL I figure I've made it to ……well, let's just say over the age of 50 avoiding snaps and really hate that fact. I have been wanting to buy the pliers type snap tool but haven't had the extra money yet because I tried the 'manual' types in the past and gave up. Everytime I've tried I end up with one prong sticking outside the ring they are supposed to be inside. LOL BUT, I have an adorable granddaughter now and a grandson about to be born in Sept so I really want to get over this snap phobia that I have. I hope your well illustrated instructions will work for me.

    I have not tried the tool you've used so I could try that one. The ones I've tried before were a blue plastic tool and the snaps went in that on either side and then that was hit with the hammer.

  39. 39
    The Deelo Family says:

    How exciting. I will have to try this! I just saw a cute tutorial for a baby romper, but wondered what I would do when I got to the directions to apply snaps.

  40. 40
    Jessica says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I really had no idea how to attach snaps. I bought some a while back but have nver used them. I am going to try them out! Thanks for the great information!

    justenoughstyle.blogspot.com

  41. 41
    Tiffany says:

    From someone that is new to the sewing/crafting world . . . THANK YOU!! You do a wonderful job at explaining and showing step by step pictures, and I appreciate it!!

  42. 42
    kelly says:

    My machine has been gone for almost 2 weeks (getting cleaned and serviced) and I found your blog a few days ago. I have been itching to sew for the past few days and I finally have my machine back as of today and this snap post seriously made my day. I thought I had to have some king of machine for them. Thanks!

  43. 43
    Jacob and Jillian says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I've always had it in my head that they would be so hard to attach, I was so wrong!

  44. 44
    The Mustard Seed says:

    I love this tutorial.. Honestly, attaching snaps SCARED me! But I needed to learn this… I have a special needs three year old and I love to make jon jons for him, but I always need snaps because he isn't potty trained yet. So this will help me with my patterns bunches!

  45. 45
    rental mobil jakarta says:

    Very nice, thanks.

  46. 46
    Alaina says:

    I have a snap setter and it almost ALWAYS messes up my snaps. I cannot tell you how many I've thrown away! I pray (literally) before I apply snaps! I need to try it with the hammer tool. Thanks, Ashley! :)

  47. 47
    rebekah says:

    Haha! You always seem to have the perfect tutorial for what I want to do! I want to use snaps on my nappy wallet and bibs that I'm making but bought the pack and went 'huh'! So thanks a million! :) Looking forward to using them now!

  48. 48
    Debby says:

    I quit using snaps because of those pliers! I need to get one of those little hammer tools. Looks easy. It would sure help in making my doll clothes. Thanks!

  49. 49
    Anna Crowe says:

    Seriously?! It's this easy? Why oh why haven't I been making all my baby stuff with snaps? I have been spending so much time on button holes, it's ridiculous!

  50. 50
    Carissa Rasmussen says:

    Oh my gosh. I have tried to use snaps dozens of times and they never turn out right….I hate them. Velcro is sooo much easier

  51. 51
    Jen says:

    oooh! this is a great tutorial since I want to make clothes for my baby girl!! =) thank you so much!!!

  52. 52
    The Dyer Family says:

    i have to say that snaps still give me fits – as do grommets and any sort of hammer through fabric hardware. the prym kit from wal mart does not come with a silver hammer tool, but with a blue plastic sleeve sort of a tool. i need to find the metal tool to see if i have more success. but you make it look so easy! i still cannot do it properly.

  53. 53
    Emily says:

    THank you! THank you! Thank you! I have been trying to “hammer” without the hammer tool and it’s a disaster!! Will start looking for one and try snaps again!

  54. 54
    Anonymous says:

    i just find A HUGE BAG of those buttons, and i didn’t get it! :( and they’re were like 7 dlls for like a 100000 or more! hahaha too bad … i will go back to the store… hopefully they will have them!!!

  55. 55

    Wow. I can’t believe I’m not afraid of snaps anymore. I never thought that would happen! I’m going to buy a kit today!!

  56. 56
    Amanda says:

    thank you for this tutorial! i had never done snaps before, saw this and tried them today! super easy! thanks again!

  57. 57
    nicole says:

    best video you will find it was a life saver one night when i ruined 5 bibs in a row with those darn pliers but believe me after watching this video and trying it something clicked and ive done 40 more without one mistake and its faster too!!!!!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spzFqCcRhGk

  58. 58
    Jaci says:

    Ok I too hate the plier thingys…but neither my walmart or hobby lobby or joanns sell this metal hammer thing..they have a blue plastic chip clip looking thing that you hammer. I’ve even looked on amazon and even googled “prym” and I still can’t find this wonderful metal hammer thingy tool you have?! HELP!!

  59. 59

    Im a fairly nnw sewer for clothes, but I did buy a pliers to use for snaps?? Im a be prepared/pack rat on deals. Looks actually fun. I donate a lot to shut ins, shelters & such. This will be interesting. Im a senior so time is my talent. Thanks for turtorial

  60. 60
    Carins says:

    Hi! I have baught three pliers for snaps! None of them worked!!!!! Where can i get this hammer tool? I live in Namibia…..
    Carina

  61. 61
    Sami says:

    Oh thank you soo much for this energetic and super clear demonstration with detailed pictures!! I’ve just looked through like 10 or so websites including video, that could not explain as wonderfully as you did with the simple tools..they had either no pictures or the pliers and made it sound really intimidating! I was just about to change my mind about using snaps :)

    • 61.1
      Sami says:

      just got the tool u recommended for the snaps, i really debated about it in the store as they had a few other options, but I went with the one u show here and it works great! so easy! I like how it was the cheapest option, came with snaps to practice with, and works with a variety of size :) Thanks again!

  62. 62
    Zoe says:

    Love this, I was always intimidated to do snaps – can’t believe it’s this easy!

    Quick question though… is it possible that the handy little hammer tool is the same tool that might come with a pack of eyelets?? I saw something that looked similar in the eyelet packets in my local Joann’s but nothing with the snaps. If it’s the same thing, it will be worth buying the eyelets just to get the tool, and find something else fun to do with them!! Thanks for your blog, I LOVE it! :)

  63. 63
    Katie says:

    I visited another how-to site on snaps, which recommended a number of different snap tools. I went for the plastic tool, which was a mistake. (Just because something says “easy” on the package, apparently doesn’t mean it’s true!) I ended up bending most of the snaps that came with it because the plastic tool doesn’t hold the snaps in place well enough. After turning to the internet once again, I found your page and saw that you praised the snap hammer, so I picked one up – NIGHT AND DAY. SO easy with the snap hammer. People – Don’t waste eight bucks on a plastic “easy snap” tool, get the real deal and do it right the first time!

  64. 64
    Maureen says:

    THANK YOU! I just bought the pliers and the prongs don’t line up right, I was going crazy! I will return the pliers and get this tool instead :)

  65. 65
    Melissa says:

    where can i purchase a hammer tool?

  66. 66
    Missy says:

    Just wondering — can you use the hammer tool on the pearly snaps???? I have the “e-z attacher” and it uses a hammer but cracks the pretty snap :)

    Thanks!!

  67. 67
    andrea says:

    Thanks so much!! I have been trying with the pliers, but I think that the hammer tool might be easier for me! :)

  68. 68
    love of fashion(tina) says:

    thanks this was really helpful :)

  69. 69
    Suzy says:

    Thank you for this great tutorial! I’ve only hand stitched snaps on before and HATED it! I vowed to get snap fasteners but the pliers can be pricey and they are for heavy duty and I don’t know what the heck I’m doing! So this was perfect! Now I know I can just buy the snaps with the hammer tool and do it myself without pricey pliers! :)

  70. 70
    Michelle says:

    Help!!!! I have onesies that need to have snaps attached. I first tried the size Dritz size 16 ones and they ripped out of the fabric. I thought maybe they were to strong so I then tried the size 15 ones but sadly they seem to be ripping out too. What am I doing wrong?

  71. 71
    Abbey says:

    Is there a way to remove them . :-(
    I did one wrong…

  72. 72
    Jodie says:

    Super tutorial you have here. I really love your blog. I’ve bookmarked you for a long time. I get behind in reading. The computer can take up so much time from sewing and cooking and family life! I am so glad you have hung in there. I only post on my blog occasionally. Usually it is just to share stuff I have sewn or crafted, when I remember before I give it away! Lol

  73. 73
    Mehnaz says:

    Where can I buy the hammer tool?

  74. 74
    Kirsty says:

    Is it really that easy? I’m off to go get some in the morning!!!

  75. 75
    Elizabeth says:

    So, I figured out how to use snaps, yay! My question – once in place are they really tight? I made some bibs and it so hard to get them unsnapped I’m afraid it will rip fabric. You have to get nails in there to pry them apart. Any suggestions?

  76. 76
    Amanda says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! They taught us [in school] how to attach snaps (and hook and bar. And hook and eye.) onto fabric, specifically Coco Cloth (which is such a bum) and I am now happily making fabric dolls from your other tutorial. Oh, and LOVE YOUR BLOG! (And FYI, the school thing is because I’m in 4th grade.)

  77. 77
    Ashley Sullenger says:

    you are changing my life, one tutorial at a time. :) Seriously, you will be the person who teaches me to sew.

  78. 78
    A says:

    Hi! What brand of snaps/snap kit do you recommend? This will be my first project with snaps and I’d like to use the same or something close!! :)

  79. 79
    Angel says:

    Hi! Can you recommend a brand of snap kit? This is my first time using snaps and I’d like to use something similar or the exact same!! Thx so much!!!

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