How to insert grommets

Yikes– it’s been too long since I’ve had the time to post. Last week went by in a blur of the very type of activity that make me GRUMPY! I find that at my certain stage of life, I don’t manage well when I’m pulled and pushed in different directions every hour or so. Oh dear– I’m starting to whine, and I promised myself I would spare you all. Suffice it to say that I am very glad it’s a new week!

To the Great Grommet Tutorial!!

The area that is to be grommet-ed needs to be sturdy enough so that the grommets don’t rip the fabric. For my shower curtain, that meant folding the top hem an extra time, to give me 3 layers of cotton. If that’s not possible for your project, you can face your hem with interfacing or a separate strip of fabric. If you use a strip of fabric, you can use a glue stick to hold the strip in place while you are inserting the grommets– no need to sew the strip in place.
Grommets are widely available in different sizes in silver and gold color. I wonder if they come in other metallic colors?

There are two different types of packages– one with the grommet tools, and one with only the grommets. If you don’t have the grommet tool, make sure you purchase the appropriate package! I bought one pack of each type, as I needed additional grommets to complete my project.
When you open the grommet package (with the tools) you will notice that there are two parts to the grommet: the bottom is a metallic circle with a tall center (it is shaped like a metal top hat), and the top is a metallic circle with “teeth”. There are also two tools: the bottom tool is a thick metallic circle with a dip in the circular part, and the top tool is a longer tube of metal with a circular protrusion towards the bottom of the tube. Both parts of the tool are shown in the third photo, so scroll down to take a peek, then come on back up here for more directions!

Let’s begin grommeting!

  • Mark off the grommet spacing onto your fabric. You can use whatever marking tool you like for this part– the mark will be cut away underneath the grommet. I used an ordinary pencil. Make sure that you leave enough space at the top edge of your fabric to accommodate both the thickness of the grommet metal ring, plus some extra fabric extension beyond that–about 1/4″ is sufficient. To see a finished example illustrating this spacing, scroll down to the last photo of this post.
  • Once you are happy with your marks, cut a small circle out at each mark. Make sure your cut circle is a bit smaller than the inner opening of your grommet! The cut circle doesn’t have to be pretty.
  • Place the bottom grommet tool (the thick circle of metal) on a hard, flat surface that can withstand the vibrations of hammering. Granite countertop= bad choice. Concrete floor = good choice. In the photo below, you see the bottom grommet tool on the concrete floor. I am holding the bottom “top hat” part of the grommet that will sit in the grommet tool’s “dip”.
  • In the photo below, you will see how to insert the “top hat” part of the grommet into the fabric. Push the top part of the grommet’s “hat” into one of the holes you cut into your fabric.
  • Once you’ve got this bottom grommet part inserted into your cut hole, rest the grommet on the bottom grommet tool. (Notice the top “tube” tool in the photo below.)
  • Take the top part of the grommet– the metallic circle with the teeth– and place it on top of the protruding bottom part of the grommet. The metallic “teeth” face down towards the fabric. See photos below:
  • The second piece of the grommet tool is a solid tube of metal with an extended circle towards the bottom of the tube. Place the tube inside of the protruding “hat” of the bottom grommet. The shorter edge of the tube goes into the “hat”, which leaves you with a longer tube to grab onto while you hammer. See photo below:
  • You will now hammer on top of the tube– hold onto the tube while you do this. I couldn’t photograph myself holding onto the tube while hammering while holding the camera because I misplaced my third arm that day. This process flattens the protruding top hat of the bottom grommet and secures the two pieces into one solid grommet-y circle of metal.
  • Make sure that you pound hard enough to flatten everything in place. You’ll get a feel for this. If you don’t think the grommet is secure and settled into the fabric, give it all another whack. Here are my finished grommets, ready for action in the new shower curtain!


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6 responses to “How to insert grommets

  1. Thanks for the great tutorial! Funny, too!

  2. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! this was so much easier to understand than other “how-tos” I read through.

    I plan to make some small fabric keychains and this is just what i needed to learn next! Now I get to go buy some cool new supplies!

    Thanks, again!

  3. Marti

    I bought one of those Crop-A-Dile II Big Bite tool and some grommets but I think they are for paper / scrapbook projects. I really need to have a good grommet front and back for some clothing applications so no one gets hurt / scratched. I live in a small town so most shopping is easiest on-line. I think I need to return this gizmo and get the old-school set up. Can you email me with a good website for the tools and grommets you would recommend? Thx!!

  4. martha kesler

    “The side of the grommet that sticks out should be on the front of the fabric.”
    Found from another site. I could not discern the frontside or backside of your photos.

    Susan wrote: Sorry you are having trouble with the photos. The front side of your fabric is the side that you want to face out; the back of your fabric will be the side that you want facing in. My shower curtain fabric is hand dyed, so there is no clear distinction from front or back, like there is with a commercially printed fabric. For example, in my shower curtain, I refer to the front side of the fabric as the side that has the applique squares on it– this will be facing out from the shower, and is the side that you will be looking at as you stand in the bathroom. The back side of the shower curtain fabric is the side that you would see when you are in the tub. I hope this clears this up for you!

  5. Pingback: How to Insert a Grommet | writenow101

  6. Pingback: design series … Luke’s Bedroom part 3 | Cooper Grey

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