How to Set an Eyelet (grommet)

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This will cover setting an eyelet without the special eyelet pliers, a bench mounted press, or a hydraulic press. You will need a hole punch, the eyelet tool (or tapered punch large enough to spread the eyelet) and an anvil of some sort with a hole.

Step 1: Punch the Hole.

Using either a leather/ fabric hole punch tool, a round tubular hole punch (often included in eyelet kits), or as a worst case a pair of scissors (be careful not to make the whole too big here), punch a hole the size of the center portion of your eyelet.

You can use scissors if you have no other hole punch, I usually cut an x on the center of my hole then remove the excess material if I do it this way.

Step 2: Assemble Eyelet Parts in Hole

Now that your hole is punched, put the male end of the eyelet through the hole. You want the male end on the side that will be most visible as this side is the better looking. Once the male end is through the hole, place the female end, or washer over the post.

Step 3: Spread Eyelet and Set.

With the two ends of the eyelet assembled around your material, you can commence to setting the eyelet. Using your eyelet tool (or tapered punch) and your anvil, place the eyelet in the anvil with the post facing up and the female end (washer) towards you. Place the tapered end of the eyelet tool into the post and hammer.  I find that two or three solid hits from a metal hammer, or a few extra from a wooden mallet usually do the trick.

Check to make sure that all the excess material has been spread and the eyelet is snug, and you are good to go.

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    6 Discussions

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    BasA2

    7 months ago on Step 3

    Important: especially with smaller eyelets, place a piece of fabric between the anvil and the male part of the eyelet. Otherwise, the eyelet has a good chance of getting stuck, the only solution being to destroy the eyelet. Take care placing the tool exactly on top of the anvil, though, or you might ruin the anvil/tool.

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    HelenaTroy

    Question 9 months ago

    rats! "there were no washers".

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    HelenaTroy

    Question 9 months ago

    Do they always need a washer/backstop?

    I found an old punch and some eyelets at the bottom of a long-forgotten box, but there were no eyelets.

    I've looked around online to buy some [and the tools] but I've seen eyelets sold on their own as well as in sets with washers.

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    jdtwelve12

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice I'ble!

    So... "Eyelet" vs. "Grommet," is there any difference between the two? I.e., does an eyelet over a certain size get called a grommet, or are the terms basically interchangeable?

    2 replies
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    macfreshyjdtwelve12

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Should also say that these are pretty interchangeable terms. While I was apparently setting a "grommet" I bought them as eyelets, so.....

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    macfreshyjdtwelve12

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great question, and one I never even really thought of!! I looked it up to be sure, so.....

    Technically this should be how to set a grommet. Eyelets are technically meant to be one piece, i.e. just the male end, the extra washer makes this a grommet apparently.

    They also say that the size does matter, so to speak. The article I read said over 5mm (1/5th ish of an inch) was usually a grommet.

    thanks for the question, I will add the keyword grommet to this!