In a short overview, the different types of snap fasteners are presented, theoretical help is given on how to attach them and then the assembly of so-called “cam snaps”, a type of snap fastener made of plastic, is explained.
What’s a push button?
A snap fastener is a button consisting of four parts that is attached to clothing, bags or many other items to create a way to open and close. Nowadays it is also used as a decorative element because it comes in many different colours, shapes and sizes.
The four individual parts consist of 2 caps (caps – each for the “outside”), a rivet (stud) and a base (socket), whereby the stud and the socket are attached to each other on the “inside” and fit exactly into each other. Some types of press studs also consist of only the two “inner parts” (sew-on press studs
What types of press studs are there?
The most common snap fasteners are made of metal (brass or steel, often with an additional spring in the closing mechanism) or plastic. Those made of metal are of course more robust and can withstand higher tensile forces, whereas those made of plastic can be found in a much wider range of colours and shapes.
According to the so-called tensile force, which a push-button can withstand, the following variants are distinguished:
Push button with ring spring
As the name suggests, a ring-shaped metal spring is built into the push button. This push button can also withstand higher loads (e.g. tent tarpaulin, work trousers).
Push button with S-spring
An S-shaped spring made of bronze wire is integrated.
This push button withstands medium loads (e.g. travel bag, jacket).
Pushbutton with serrated ring
A ring with many small (partly rounded) teeth is built in. This push button withstands light to medium loads (e.g. clothing).
In addition, snap fasteners differ in the way they are attached: sewn on or riveted. For longer snap fastener strips (e.g. for children’s rompers), snap fastener straps are often used on which all snap fasteners are already attached at a standardised distance. Also the size can vary, whereby usually the diameter is indicated in millimeters.
Attaching snap fasteners
Sew-on push buttons
Press buttons for sewing have five holes in total: One in the middle, the so-called “fixing hole”, to mark the exact place and secure the button with a pin and/or adhesive seam so that it cannot slip, and four more to sew the button. Through the fixing hole, the second side of the button can also be marked centrally in the opposite direction.
Rivet snap fasteners
There are three variants for attaching rivet snap fasteners. You can rivet the snap fasteners with a conventional hammer, as indicated on the manufacturer’s package. Alternatively, you can use a button plier specially developed for riveting, whereby the results can vary greatly depending on the brand selected. The best way to do this is to visit the relevant forums and websites. The third option is to apply the snap fasteners using a snap fastener press.
Instructions: Attaching snap fasteners
Step 1: For preparation, you can iron the edges to which the tape is to be attached in the appropriate width inwards. If you are not yet so experienced, you can also file roughly.
Step 2: Cut the snap fastener to the desired length and end it if necessary.
Step 3: Mark the places on both sides where you want to attach it (e.g. with a pin, tailor’s chalk, etc.).
Step 4: Divide the band. First sew one side, then the other side tightly to the inside of the fabric on both edges (of the tape).
Advantage: Many push buttons are quickly attached at exactly the same distance and you can see only two seams from the outside and no “caps”.
Disadvantage: The snap fastener can be quite stubborn, especially at the beginning, which is annoying with baby and children’s clothing. However, after repeated washing, this may be the case with some brands.
Instructions: Kam-Snaps with the press button press
Due to the great popularity, there is now an almost unlimited selection of colors and shapes of the so-called Kam-Snaps made of plastic. This guarantees the right thing for every project.
The respective workpiece to which the push buttons are to be attached can actually always be sewn completely finished, unless the push button is to be attached “hidden”.
The push button press
The push-button press has two different inserts for the two counterparts (stud and socket), which have to be replaced, so if you have several push buttons, it is a good idea to always attach one side of all the push buttons first, then retool and then attach the other side.
The cap is the same on both sides and is always on the bottom of the press.
Attaching snap fasteners
Step 1: Think about where exactly the push buttons should be fastened. To do this, place a mark directly on the fabric, ideally always on the outside (where the caps are mounted). You can even do this with a ballpoint pen or similar, as the marking is then covered by the push button anyway.
Step 2: Insert one of the two inserts into the press (screw thread) and put your respective counterpart (stud or socket) already on it.
Step 3: Then position the cap with the tip exactly at the center of your marking, hold it firmly with the fabric and place your workpiece with the cap facing down into the press until you notice that the cap is correctly in the trough.
Note: Make sure that your workpiece is not too close to the edge of the table. It could slip and the push button will not fit properly. In the worst case, this will destroy your entire workpiece.
Step 4: Since your counterpart is stuck in the upper part of the press, press the lever firmly, but with feeling. If you use too much force, the plastic button can break due to the lever effect and in the worst case also the fabric can be damaged.
Step 5: After pressing, lift the lever back up again and remove your workpiece from the press.
The button sits correctly when the middle section is pressed flat and the two counterparts can therefore be easily plugged together.
If you want to attach press studs in a cuff (e.g. for baby bodies), you should either reinforce the cuff with a non-woven fabric or sew in a piece of non-stretch cotton to prevent the cuff from tearing.
Kam snaps look the same on the outside from both sides as the same caps are used and are therefore ideal for reversible work pieces such as reversible jackets.