home sewing From children’s clothes to heavy-duty work wear, snap fasteners are an essential part of garments, bags, and purses, as well as industrial applications.
Snaps are excellent alternatives to buttons that can be as utilitarian or decorative as you’d like. There are hundreds of different types of snaps that all do the same thing—hold two pieces of fabric, leather or other textiles together and closed.
Snaps have been around since 210 B.C. and were developed for the Chinese Terracotta Army for saddles. The modern version of snaps was invented in Germany in 1885 and was later popularized in the US by Western wear. Cowboys preferred shirts with snaps because their shirts would open and come off in the event of a fall. They could slip out of the shirts quickly if it snagged or caught on something. Since then, we’ve come to use them for all kinds of projects, both decorative and practical. They’re available in metal and plastic, and a wide range of sizes.
Snaps are also popular in children’s clothing and clothing for the disabled, making garments more comfortable to put on and remove. Costumes and stage clothes also use various types of snaps for quick changes and “pull-off” parts during concerts and other performances.
Their simple design makes snap fastener useful for all kinds of applications, including:
Snaps can be used in place of buttons on many garments and craft applications as long as there is enough space to add them. They’re useful in all kinds of different craft projects, from curtain tie-backs that snap together to bespoke ad-hoc additions like a snap-in sweatband for hard hats. You can find a wide range of more unique and useful snap projects on blogs and websites like Pinterest.
These closures consist of four pieces, two for each side of the snap:
Once assembled, they work together to create a secure closure that keeps fabrics or other items together.
Our heavy-duty Nickel-To-Cloth Nickel Cloth-to-Surface Snap Fastener (sometimes known as a “gypsy snap”) is the exception. It’s slightly different, consisting of three pieces, not four. The top of the snap is a two-part cover, but the third piece consists of a Phillips screw that’s fastened into wood or other surfaces to allow the fabric to be snapped on and attached.
Snaps that are used on shirts and in other decorative fashions come in four parts, which look similar to a button, but. The “cover” is usually a metal or a decorative “cap,” such as the pearl-look versions found on Western shirts.
Our open-ring snaps have a pronged ring for both the socket and the stud part of the snap. We also carry them with button caps, both metal and enameled colors for a more finished look. These metal snaps come in gold, silver, bronze, and gunmetal.
We also carry plastic snaps, including plastic snap buttons, commonly used for home sewing, on baby items, and in other household craft projects. We also offer a plastic a snap fastener kit with 100 snaps in multiple colors, plus pliers and tools to make installation easy.
Magnetic snaps are a more modern version using simple magnetic force to keep something closed. Commonly used on purses and bags, they’re great for many applications. These snaps consist of two backing washers, along with pronged snap and socket (“male” and “female”) parts.
Want a more concealed snap closure to keep your purse or bag safer? Our round and square hidden snaps can be added nearly anywhere to ensure a tight, hidden closure without any special equipment. You’ll need to construct a small pouch to stitch them to the inside of your bag so they don’t move around. Bags close and stay closed until you open them and snap back closed when you want.
Sewists can be intimidated by snaps, but once you learn installation and practice it, they become easier.
Just like buttonholes, you need to decide where you want your snap fasteners on your finished project. Measure and mark your snap spots with disappearing ink to prevent staining.
Start with the bottom, or stud part of the snap. This is the part of the prong that goes inside of a garment or other project. Insert the prong ring on the underside of the fabric and push it through the fabric so that the prongs appear on the top. Add the stud part on top. The snap cap is centered over the socket in the same manner.
If you’re using eyelet and snap fastener pliers, you’ll center the parts in the work area and squeeze them firmly until the snap is set in place. However, you’ll need one for each size of snap you want to use.
If you’re using a hammer and anvil setter, you’ll need a firm surface like a cutting board, and a towel to prevent damage to the snap. Use enough pressure to set the snap, but not so much that you flatten it!
Maybe you have more than just a few snaps, or need to add them more often. The fastest, easiest and most accurate way to install snaps is with our Press Machines. Made for snaps, grommets, eyelets and other embellishments, you can install any number of snaps accurately and quickly. Set up the snap with the prong ring on the bottom die, and the stud or socket in the top, then put your fabric in place. An easy push of the handle sets the snap in place fast, and correctly every time.
You’ll need a die for each size of snap you want to install. We have over 1,500 dies for our press machines, so getting the right one is easy. Watch us demonstrate how easy it is in this video.
Magnetic snaps are more straightforward, with wide prongs on the back of the snap and socket parts that slip into washers. You’ll need to cut holes in your for the prongs, slide the prongs through the fabric and the slots on the washer. Once you’ve joined the two parts, bend the prongs inward. You can also use our press to install the 4-part magnetic snaps, as demonstrated in our video.
From baby clothes to heavy canvas and sailcloth, snaps are as popular to use as buttons and hold even better. We have snaps for nearly any kind of project, from home sewing and crafting to professional factories and shops, and all the tools necessary to help you install them. Our snaps come in a range of metals and colors, and available in any size you need.
Are you thinking about buying a press instead of a snap fastener tool to speed up your snap installs? Check out our selection of presses first, and the dies you need for your snaps. You can also purchase new dies in the correct size to go with other sizes and types of snaps you need.
Want to see more? Our YouTube channel has over 200 videos of our products in action. Learn how to install snaps and other fasteners using our exclusive presses and see what works best—before you buy.