Metal Grommets (Eyelets) : Simple tools and ways to set them on fabric


When you want a hole in your fabric and you want the edges of the hole to be finished neatly, there is nothing like attaching metal grommets on the hole. Grommets or eyelets as they are also called, reinforces and strengthens the hole and protects the edges and gives it an attractive look.

These holes are usually used as a fastening mechanism like lacing up the shoes so the metal grommets make the easing of lace through the hole easy and works as an embellishment too. You will find grommets used in shoes, belts, bags, jackets, foundation garments, sportswear, curtains etc. On corsets some 36 grommets are used to fasten the garment tightly. 

There are 2 main types of metal grommets –

One-piece grommet and two-piece grommet with an extra washer. One-piece metal grommets are self-backing. The back of the grommets are finished by the edge of the grommet itself. This makes it a tad untidy than the other type of grommet. The two piece grommet comes with a washer attached on the backside. Two piece grommets come in two types – Spur grommets and common washer eyelets. Spur grommets have some teeth on the washer.

When you are going to attach grommets on a medium or thin fabric do not forget to interface this area. This is because the fabric will need the support of interfacing to bear the strain of the eyelet. It is also difficult to attach the grommets on thin fabrics like tshirt knit, chiffon etc.

Mark the hole for the eyelet in your fabric, keep the eyelet on the fabric and trace around the inside of the eyelet.

You can make holes for the grommets on leather and faux leather with a handy tool – this is a plier with a rotating hole punch.

metal grommets hole

The hole punches come in different shapes – this is useful if you want to make different shaped grommets.

You can make holes on fabric with an awl or a pair of very sharp snips or scissors. On fabric you can just mark an x and cut this x. Remember that this x should be smaller than the grommet you have – when the grommet is passed through, it should be a snug fit.

Be careful that you do not make a too big hole (I would skip the scissors for fear of cutting too big a hole; a too small hole is any day better than a too big hole when making eyelets) Ensure that the cut is inside the circle you have marked. A wobbly grommet is not what you want. But too small means your fabric might bunch or crease near the hole when you attach the eyelet ; You need the hole just right for your eyelet.

Be careful that your work surface is not marked when you hammer the eyelet. I would not use my wooden dining table for this – a concrete slab or a scrap wood would do.Or just sit on the floor of a concrete floor which you do not mind marking.

Method 1 of attaching the one piece grommets/ eyelets

I have here a special set of tools that I got from a hardware shop. 

grommet attaching tools

This is a tool for attaching standard size grommets. The set consists of two long tools – one is for making a hole and the other for attaching the grommet on the hole.

This hole making one has a hole at one end. The other tool has a star shape at the end – this is for attaching the grommet. I also have a hammer and wood block with me. The woodblock protects the surface from the hammer blows.

The hole making tool is used to make holes in leather and faux leather.

make grommets

To make the hole keep the material on top of the wood block, mark the hole, and then place the tool on the exact place and make a whack with your hammer. You would now have the hole.

Now keep the grommet in the hole. Turn the material so that the backside is facing you.

make grommets

Keep the star shaped tool-end on the grommet’s back. Give a whack with the hammer.

The back of your grommet will spread itself on the hole sealing the edges.

metal grommets

Method 2 of attaching the one piece grommets / eyelets

I am using a standard grommet attaching tool.

To use this tool keep the material in front of you backside up. Insert the grommet into the hole. Now keep the projecting part of the tool in place on the back of the grommet. (as shown in the picture below). The front of the grommet is rested on the flat side of the tool.

attach metal eyelets

You would think that you can just press this plier and make the grommet magically attached. But that is not the case. I had to give a whack with the hammer here too. 

You can use a hammer or rubber mallet to attach it there.

I found a  grommet attaching tool on amazon which looks better than the basic ones I have shown here. It comes with a hole maker as well as grommet fixing tool in different sizes and they have a video tutorial explaining the whole process. 

Method of attaching the two piece grommets/ eyelets

This is an eyelet with two parts – one is the front part and the next is a washer. You need your eyelets male and female joined in a tight clasp. These eyelets are more sturdy and long lasting and comfortable on the body than the one-part eyelet. You can buy a special tool like the one mentioned below to set these type of grommets.


Disclaimer : When you buy any product mentioned on this page, I get a small commission at absolutely no cost to you. 

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