A lot of the patterns here at Goober Pea Designs use snaps - such as:
Because of this, we often have questions about using snaps. Either from those who have never used them before, or those who are just starting out and are having troubles with them coming apart. So here is a post to help with snaps!
We recommend Kamsnaps plastic snaps, in size 20 for most projects. Size 16 are easier to open and would be recommended for things like onesies. But for the projects I've listed above, size 20 is best. The hand press is the most affordable tool to get started with, but also the trickiest to master - however, the tips below will help you use it like a pro, with no more snaps coming apart!
Note: if you do not have much strength in your hands/wrists, I would recommend the table press instead - it is pricey but easier to use, and requires a lot less strength.
It is so easy to get focused on pressing HARD, that you don't realize you are pressing HARD AND SLOW. To press the centers of your snaps enough for them to stay together, you must press HARD AND FAST, in one swift motion. It helps to brace the bottom of your pliers on a flat surface.
The first picture below shows two snaps, the left one was pressed slowly, and the right one was pressed fast. You can see the the right center is smushed much more, and the plastic has spread wider and will keep that snap together. The left one will likely come apart with use, as you can see in the second picture below.
This results in the center being smushed to one side, as shown below (in the left snap). This snap is also likely to come apart.
The above solutions should fix any situation where snaps are coming apart with use. However there is one more common issue I would like to mention.
This generally happens with thin fabrics that fray easily, and/or stretchy fabrics.
I hope you find these tips helpful - I love working with my snaps on all kinds of projects! Kamsnaps can be purchased from their website directly (www.kamsnaps.com) or one of the many retail stores that stock them. In Canada, I recommend Black Rabbit Fabric.
Thank you!! Very helpful.
You can also add a small square of interfacing to the inside spot where you're putting the snap to re-inforce delicate materials.
These tips are extremely helpful. Thank you very much!!
Thank you for these tips! I am apprehensive about using snaps and your tutorial is very helpful! As well, thank you for telling us which brand you've found to be the best. There are several to choose from and I would prefer to make the right choice from the get-go. 🙂
Thank you! I bought a pack of cute plastic snaps on a whim and was devastated when they "just didn't seem to work" - I was falling victim to the hard and slow method, and this was immensely helpful in getting some successful snaps going 🙂
I am making baby bibbs fabric is not that thick but cant get snap to go all the way thru am really getting frustrated I am using size 20
Can you clarify what you mean by not going all the way through? Are you having trouble getting the snap to stay together like described in this post, or is it a different issue?
My snaps snap together when I take them out of the box. Once I put them on my fabric they don’t snap together. What am I doing wrong?
I would have to see your snap to know for sure, but my first guess would be that they're not being pressed enough and the posts are preventing them from snapping together. Either that or they're being pressed crooked which can also cause the off-center post to get in the way and prevent it from snapping together.
Thank you so much for posting this. I was burning through snaps like water. Since reading this they have worked every time.
So glad it helped!