Metal press studs (snaps/ poppers/ fasteners, whatever you call them) – How to get them in!

I’ve found that there’s not much help/ info around about getting these metal snaps into place after struggling for a while on Google. I figured it out in the end so I wanted to share! (Sharing is caring after all!)

I got my metal snaps on eBay and whilst a lot of them come with the tools to get them in, they don’t come with instructions which can be frustrating!

The ones I picked up most recently were different from the ones I’ve used in the past hence the struggle getting them on my Rosa jacket! I didn’t realise there were more than one type! I’ll show both types here just so there’s no confusion. (This won’t include prong style snaps I’m afraid. I’ve never used them before! But if I ever do, I’ll add them here…)

So first you need to figure out which bits are which!

The fastener itself will have 4 parts – the front and back of a male part and the front and back of a female part. Like this!


Gather your tools now! You’ll need a hammer, metal block (if one isn’t supplied), hole punch, a safe solid surface to work on. I worked on the floor with a metal block and a cutting mat underneath for extra protection against damage.


If your poppers come with tools you’ll either get two or three depending on the type of snap. One will be the hole punch, the others will be the bits to get it in.

Once you’ve figured out where your popper needs to be you can then make your hole. You can use either a hole punch like the one below or the punch tool and hammer.


So remember buttons go right over left! That means the right side of your garment will get the top button and the left side will get the underside.

On to the press studs/ poppers themselves:

The top button here is the female side and the male side is underneath. Whichever you do first is up to you!

Pop the long stem part through the hole you’ve made. Place the adjoining piece over the top and situate them both over the metal block. This should have some ridges which will hold the snap in place.

Place the curved end of the pressing tool over the stem in the middle and give it a couple of good whacks with a hammer. It is really important for you to keep the tools upright i.e. perpendicular to the work surface/ metal block or the snap may bend in an unwanted direction. 

The metal should be pressed to the sides all the way around holding it in place.


Now for the top part! Place the outside button in place , again with the thinner stem through the hole. On the other side, slot over the female piece.

On a flat surface, place the pressing tool over the stem and hammer down. I find this works best for me if I use the curved end first and them turn the tool around to use the flat end to get it all the way down.

Not the neatest finish but they hold in place!


How it should look:


The second type shown here uses the same idea but different tools. The parts are the same in that the top part is the female side and the underside the male.


Make a hole as before with either the tool and hammer or a hole punch.

Insert the stem of the top button part through the right hand side of the garment. Place the donut looking piece over the top of it. Use the slightly curved surface of the metal block and place the flat side of the button against it. Using the thin domed tool against the centre of the stem, hammer down hard a couple of times so the stem flattens. You may find the tool fits very tightly in the centre of the donut. This is normal!


For the male part, this is the easy bit. Place the longer stem through the hole and place the shorter one on top of it. Use the concave tool (the end with the big dip in it) positioned over the top of this shorter one and align it with the circular groove on the metal block. Whack down hard a couple of times.


How it should look:


This second type of snap, I find, is a little simpler to use. Or at least I feel there’s less room for error? Maybe it’s just what works better for me…

Alternatively you can get pliers (Prym make some) which are specifically designed for press studs. I’ve never used them before so can’t comment on how effective they are!

Anyway, I hope this short guide is helpful! (Also let me know if I’m doing it wrong…)

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  1. Thanks for the tute! I tried putting metal snaps on a leather coin purse and failed miserably. You did it so neatly! Maybe one day I could try again using your tips!

  2. Thanks for the tutorial! I shall soon be making the Seamwork Adelaide dress which has poppers all down the front so this is perfect timing! I’ll have to browse eBay for a set.

  3. Thanks for the tutorial! I shall soon be making the Seamwork Adelaide which has poppers all down the front so this is perfect timing! I shall have to browse eBay for a set.

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