How to Remove Rivets in Leather

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Metal rivets in leather can lend an interesting, classy or tough look to a garment or accessory, but they're made to be secure. Removing rivets while doing the least possible damage to the leather they're attached to is best done with the right tools and process. This process allows you to take apart the rivet itself rather than destroy the leather.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • End nipper tool or tin snips
  • Loosen the rivets. Grip the edge of each rivet with the tip of your needle-nosed pliers and tug and wiggle it around gently. Try to dislodge it somewhat from the fabric; this will create space between the metal and the cloth and help you cut the rivet with less damage to the garment.

  • Position the end nipper tool to cut the rivet. Place the sharp edges of the nipper over the end of the rivet but outside the edge of the fabric.

  • Snip off the top of the rivet. Squeeze together the handles of the rivet cutter until they snip the rivet in two.

  • Trim the opposite side of the rivet, if necessary. If the rivet has a wide section on both sides and can't yet be pulled through the fabric hole, snip the opposite side as well.

  • Pull the rivet out. Grip the edge of the metal cylinder with the tip of your pliers and wriggle it free from the fabric.

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