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How to Set Eyelets & Grommets

Updated April 17, 2017

Both eyelets and grommets serve the same purpose: to either reinforce a hole so the fabric won't tear when cord or ties for hanging and carrying are threaded through, or in the case of paper crafting and occasionally apparel, as a decorative embellishment. Eyelets tend to be smaller than grommets in most cases. The other main difference between the two is that grommets have a separate washer to hold it in place while eyelets have a longer shank that also serves as the washer when it is hammered or pressed into position.

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  1. Mark your work where you want to set an eyelet, then punch a hole in that position.

  2. Push the shank of the eyelet through the hole from the right side, so the shank pokes up from the back of your work.

  3. Rest the bottom of the eyelet on the metal disc tool, or anvil, to support it, then fit the setting tool into the top of the shank and gently strike it with a hammer to roll the soft metal of shank down onto the fabric and hold the eyelet in place.

  4. Mark where you want to set the grommet and punch a hole in that position.

  5. Push the male half of the grommet through the hole, then turn it over, so the shank is visible through the back of your work.

  6. Fit the washer over the shank with its convex side facing up. Place the grommet with its washer on top of the setting anvil, centre the setting tool in the middle of the washer, then tap gently with a hammer.

  7. Tip

    When using a manual setting tool with eyelets, slightly angle the setting towel as you are striking it with a hammer. This helps soft metal other shank to bend evenly and helps to reduce any tearing of the metal. An alternative to using setting tools and a hammer when fixing eyelets and grommets is to use an all in one tool that will both punch a hole in the fabric, holds the islet in place and press down on the shank to set it all in one movement. The setting tools are readily available in craft stores and make the job of setting eyelets very much quicker. They usually have several different setting heads for use with different sizes of eyelets. Eyelet and grommet setting tools come in different sizes. It is important to use the correct size, both to punch the initial hole and to set the eyelets or the grommets. The shanks of the eyelets and grommets must fit snugly into the punched holes otherwise they will not grip and may fall out. When setting eyelets in soft fabric, make a small snip in the fabric to allow the shank push through without puckering the fabric. Make the snip smaller than the diameter of the eyelet otherwise it will show when the eyelet is fitted.

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Things You'll Need

  • Eyelet and grommet setting tools
  • Hammer

About the Author

Deborah Jones started her freelance writing career in 1990. Her work has appeared in The Writer's Forum, "Reader's Digest" and numerous D.C. Thomson magazines. Jones has a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and a postgraduate certificate in education, both from the University of Derby.

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