Condo Blues: How to Install Grommets (Eyelets) in Fabric the Easy Way!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How to Install Grommets (Eyelets) in Fabric the Easy Way!

 Knowing how to install grommets (they are also called eyelets) is a useful DIY skill to have. You can fix a tarp or make it more hangupable (a word I just DIY’ed on the fly because I’m creative like that.)

Crafty folks use grommets to make no sew shower curtains, yard flags, or any and all things hanging. I use grommets to make historical clothing, which are why my sewing button hole skills are nonexistent.  You don’t need to know how to sew to install an eyelet.

Do you want to learn? Of course you do! Keep reading my tutorial to learn how.

how to install grommets without sewing
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How to Set Grommets/Eyelets

how to use eyelet grommet tool
Fun fact: I made the strange looking hammer in 8th grade metal shop. 
Thank you Title 9 for the mad metal shop skillz!

You will need:

Grommets – in the size of your choosing.

Fabric, leather, canvas, tarp, drapery, etc.



Hard surface – I use the floor


Grommet setting tool for your size of grommet – Often you can buy the grommets and the setting tool together as a kit because the grommet and the setting tool have to be the same size. You have several options to choose from:

  • Dritz Grommet ToolI’m using a larger size of the Dritz grommet setting tool  shown below for the project in this post. This is generally what you are going to find at craft and fabric stores. It will probably fit your needs if you are doing a few projects. It will need replacing if you use it for multiple eyelet projects like I do during costuming season. Guess how I know?

  • Grommet setting pliers – This is what I use when I make historical lace up bodices during renaissance festival season (basically more projects than option number one can handle.) It is the most expensive grommet tool option of the three shown here. If you don’t plan on installing a specific size grommet in a ton of future projects, I’d stick with Option 1 or 2 in a grommet kit. That’s what I did here.

Do it:

1. Mark where you want to insert the grommet into the fabric with a pencil, tailor's chalk, etc.

2. Make a hole for the grommet in the fabric. Your grommet tool most likely comes with a punch that will allow you to make a hole in your fabric. I have bad luck with those and use my grommet setting pliers to make the initial hole. You can also make the grommet hole with a small pair of sewing scissors or a seam ripper depending upon the type of fabric you are using.

how to set grommet 1
Do not make the hole too big for the center of the grommet to poke through.

3. Put the male end of the grommet in the fabric hole. It should fit snugly. The back of the male side of the eyelet will be the seamless side of the grommet is the pretty side you want to see when you look at the finished project.

how to install grommets

All snug!

4. Put the female end of the grommet through the male part of the grommet on other side of the fabric.

how to install eyelets
We will use the grommet setting tool to crimp the edges of the male side of the grommet to the female side of the grommet.

5. It helps to have a sturdy surface to place your grommet or eyelet setter and anvil in-between that and your table or workbench otherwise you may accidentally ding or dent your work surface and your husband might be mad with you (hypothetically.)  For this reason, I sometimes set eyelets on the floor of my concrete porch outside. Most of the time, I put the anvil on a piece of repurposed marble that was a trophy base on the kitchen floor. A piece of scrap wood works too.

how to use eyelet grommet tool
I use the kitchen floor because I’m short and like having the extra leverage.

6. Make a grommet sandwich. Put the grommet anvil on your hard surface, the male side of the grommets in the fabric facing up toward you, followed by the grommet punch on top.

how to use a grommet tool
Sandwiches, yum....

7. Strike the top of the punch with a hammer until the male end of the grommet folds tightly around the female side of the grommet. I usually give the punch a bunch of whacks with a hammer, take a peek under the punch, and give it a few more whacks if needed to make sure both pieces of the grommet are firmly fastened together.

how to set eyelets
Tip: If you are having a bad day and need to let off some steam, set some eyelets. Projects involving hammers are cheaper than therapy!

And as simple as that, you are done!

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    Unique creations by Anita said...

    Thanks for sharing your great tutorial.

    Maggi Mayks said...

    I always end up getting the back of mine very rough, where am I going wrong?

    the next best thing to mummy said...

    Great advice given here#alittlebitofeverything

    Jhuls said...

    Thank you for sharing this tutorial at Fiesta Friday party! I hope to see you next week.

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