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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.

Lychee Flower Shaped Snap Sew On Buttons
Our Price: $29.99  
Standard Ring Snaps
Our Price: $17.99  
Standard Spring Snaps
Our Price: $12.99  
Double Cap Ring Snaps
Our Price: $19.99  
Double Cap Spring Snaps
Our Price: $19.99  
Magnetic Purse Snaps
Our Price: $7.99   Market Price: $9.99
Save: $2.00 per unit
Enamel Open Ring Prong Ring Snaps
Our Price: $14.99  
Enamel Prong Ring Snaps With Button Cover
Our Price: $12.99  
Metal Open Ring Prong Ring Snaps
Our Price: $9.99  
Metal Prong Ring Snaps With Button Cover
Our Price: $9.99  
Pearl Prong Ring Snaps With Button Cover
Our Price: $14.99  
Invisible Round Magnetic Snaps
Our Price: $0.39  
Invisible Square Magnetic Snaps
Our Price: $0.39   Market Price: $0.99
Save: $0.60 per unit
Plastic Snap Buttons
Our Price: $6.99  
Nickel Cloth-to-Surface "Gypsy" Snap Fastener
Our Price: $29.99  

Snaps have been around since 210 B.C. and were developed for the Chinese Terracotta Army for saddles. The modern snap version was invented in Germany in 1885 and 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 quickly slip out of the shirts if they snagged or caught on something. Since then, we’ve come to use them for all kinds of decorative and practical projects. 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 snaps for quick changes and “pull-off” parts during concerts and other performances.

Their simple design makes snap fasteners useful for all kinds of applications, including:

  • Purses
  • Coats
  • Tote bags
  • Luggage
  • Footwear (decorative and functional)
  • Saddles
  • Other leather goods
  • Animal leashes
  • Canvas, including sails
  • Attaching the fabric to a non-fabric object, such as wood

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 various 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 many more unique and useful snap projects on blogs and websites like Pinterest.

Snap Fastener Anatomy

These closures consist of four pieces, two for each side of the snap:

  • The socket, or “female” part of the snap
  • The snap cap, or the top that attaches to the socket, is outside the garment or project.
  • The stud, the ball, or the “male” part of the snap, snaps into the socket, holding two pieces together.
  • The open prong attaches the stud part to the fabric from the underside. The prongs are slid into the stud's backside and connected by setting pliers, a press, or a hammer with an anvil tool.

Once assembled, they 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.

Types of Snaps

Snaps used on shirts and other decorative fashions come in four parts, which look similar to a button. The “cover” is usually a metal or a decorative “cap,” such as the pearl-look versions of 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, baby items, and other household craft projects.  We also offer a plastic snap fastener kit with 100 snaps in multiple colors, 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 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 them back closed when you want. 

Snap Fastener Installation

 Sewists can be intimidated by snaps, but once you learn installation and practice it, they become easier.

Like buttonholes, you must 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 it 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. However, you’ll need one for each snap size you want.

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. Our press machines have over 1,500 dies, 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 for the prongs and slide the prongs through the fabric and the slots on the washer. Once you’ve joined the two parts, bend the prongs inward. As demonstrated in our video, you can also use our press to install the 4-part magnetic snaps.

GoldStar Tools Is Your Snap Headquarters

From baby clothes to heavy canvas and sailcloth, snaps are as popular as buttons and hold even better. We have snaps for nearly any 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 various metals and colors and are available in any size you need.

Are you considering 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.