How to install a snap button?

In this tutorial, I show you how to install snap buttons. Leaves your worries behind: it's a child play!

What is a snap button?

As an alternative to buttons (and buttonholes!), snaps are buttons in two or more parts, very practical for everyday use because they can be easily clipped and unclipped. There is a male end, with a small volume, and a female end, concave.


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 The different types of snap buttons.

First of all, there are different types of snaps: metal or plastic. Both are fine, but the metal ones are classic in their shape. You will find more diversity in the plastic ones.

The choice of snap type depends on the fabrics you need to bond. Some are more suitable for woven fabrics, and others are specially made for stretchy materials like jersey. They are not designed in the same way: anorak or plastic snaps have a central pin, which needs to be pre-punched into the fabric, while jersey snaps have claws. These claws distribute the tension, but are not very tolerant of thickness. Those with pins allow for more thickness, but there is a risk of tearing because of the hole in the central pin. The key to avoiding problems is to choose the right snap for your project and your fabric.

how to fix snap

These snap buttons can be applied with a hammer using the small tool that is usually provided with it, or with a snap fastener tool. It is also possible to sew on press studs by hand.

Tips on how to install snaps

Interfacing before installing snaps

To get snaps that will last, start by interfacing your fabric on the wrong side with thin, flexible iron-on adhesive. You can use a long strip along the button placket, or you can use a small square of iron-on fabric to cover only the snap area.

If you forgot to apply the interfacing, you can add a small square of tape on the wrong side, between the fabric of your project and the snap. Once the snap is in place, simply cut around the snap, leaving a 2mm margin, for an almost invisible result.

how to fix snap

Place the snaps at the right place

There is a rule of thumb for positioning snaps correctly. Traditionally, the female snap is placed on top and the male snap underneath. On a closed button placket, it is the outer part of the female snaps that is visible.

To place your two snap parts opposite each other (a little challenge!), here are some tips:
  • Place the snaps and make a mark with a dry erase pen or tailor's chalk,
  • Place the snaps and make a temporary mark with a fingernail by pinching the location and then making a mark with erasable pen or chalk
  • Pin a needle into the heart of the location you have identified on the top, so you can see where it stitches the bottom placket. It is then easy to make a small mark with pen or chalk.

how to fix snap

Finally, if you put a snap on wrong, you can always undo it and start again. You can open it with a punch for example, or not too sharp scissors, trying to open it on the side.

How to install jersey snap with a hammer?

Jersey snaps are specific, thanks to their small claws which allow them to last over time. It is not necessary to pre-drill the fabric. On the other hand, as mentioned at the beginning, the fabric must be well covered with fabric.

These snaps require specific snap fastener tool dies, which are usually supplied with the snap fastener tool or even with the snaps themselves. The two dies are similar, you just have to be careful to put the snap parts in the right direction so as not to crush their volume.

We place the two female snap parts in the dies, then we will position our fabric between the two parts of the tool. We make sure that nothing has moved. We either give some knocks with the hammer or press the snap fastener tool.Then we start again with the male part of the snap.

How to install anorak snap with a hammer?

To apply an Anorak snap, you need to pre-punch the fabric on both sides. Then you place the two ends of the female part and the fabric between the ends. This part is very delicate because the elements must not move during the installation. Then give a sharp hammer blow at 90° above the snap or clip and that's it.

how to fix snap

How to install a plastic snap with a Snap fastener tool?

This step obviously requires a Snap Fastener tool but also the specific dies for the application of plastic snaps. These dies consist of a large hollow die plus a large silicone cylinder. Once your fabric is covered in the snap locations, pierce the centre with a punch. The dies are the same for the female and male parts. Position your female snap as follows: the outer part in the large hollow end, the inner part against the silicone end. Place your fabric without moving the tips, and press. Then do the same with the male snap.

How to sew invisible press studs by hands?

Finally, there are invisible snaps, called "press studs", which are sewn by hand, always on interfacing fabric with fine iron-on. I advise you to make several passes of thread in each hold, and a triple knot at the end, to ensure the solidity of your work. Don't cut your thread after each snap, instead slide it to the next snap under the press stud. This is a bit time consuming and tedious, but it can be very handy when you don't have a snap fastener tool or hammer handy, or simply want a discreet button placket.

Here are all our tips, it's up to you! See you soon at ikatee.