How to Set an Eyelet Without a Tool

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Eyelets are used for securing fabric and to create sturdy drawstring holes.
Eyelets are used for securing fabric and to create sturdy drawstring holes. (Image: 8vFanI/iStock/Getty Images)

Sometimes you just want to set a couple of eyelets in fabric to enhance a cute bag or sewing project -- but this occasional use of grommets doesn't require an eyelet setter tool. If you don't mind a rough-looking back to the eyelet, you can get by with a small hammer and a Phillip's head screwdriver bit from your home tool kit.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat scrap wood, with at least one knot in it
  • Eyelets
  • Phillips head screwdriver bit, narrow point
  • Seam ripper
  • Small hammer

Mark the spot where you want to insert the eyelet with the seam ripper. Do so by first placing the fabric over the scrap wood -- not on the knotted part. Poke a hole into the fabric with the pointed end of the seam ripper. Work it around to create a larger hole.

Push the eyelet through the hole you created. You may need to widen the hole slightly until it fits. Then turn the fabric over so that the eyelet is upside down.

Place the tip of the Phillips head screwdriver bit into the center of the eyelet. Holding the bit in place, gently tap on the top of it with the hammer. Do this until you feel the bit digging into the wood underneath. Remove the bit. The center of the eyelet should now be square and split into four sides.

Use the edge of the Phillips screwdriver bit to fold down the four sides of the eyelet center. The sides don't have to be completely flat; you will accomplish that next.

Center the eyelet over the knot in the scrap of wood. Use the hammer to completely flatten the four sides of the eyelet into place.

Tips & Warnings

  • A standard Phillips head screwdriver will also work in place of the screwdriver bit.
  • Lay a piece of terrycloth over the wood scrap to help prevent scratches on the front of your eyelet.
  • Add a layer of fusible interfacing to thin fabric before placing an eyelet in it.
  • You may be able to set a small eyelet by placing the eyelet in fabric between the jaws of a handheld die punch. The back of the eyelet should rest against the die of the hole punch. Squeeze gently but firmly to fold it on itself.
  • Practice setting eyelets on some scrap fabric before moving onto your main project.

References

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