*-------------------------- Fitting the Cap (Bottom) Die --------------------------*
Use the cap die that exactly fits your plastic cap. The cap should sit completely inside the inner cup of the die. If any part of the cap is resting on the raised outer edge of the die, then that die is too small. If you don't have a die that exactly fits your cap, use the next largest die.
Quick reference for "HG" pliers:
Sz20 & Heart = T5 die
Sz16 = T3 die included in the standard pliers package
Sz14 = also labeled T3 but has a smaller inner cup than the one for sz16
Sz22 & Star = T8A die
To change a cap die, simply use the screwdriver to loosen the screw under the die, insert the appropriate die, then tighten the screw.Do not overtighten the screw. Just tighten it enough to keep it secure.
*------------------ Fitting the Metal Bolt with Rubber Tip ------------------*
Skip this step if you pliers did not come with an extra metal bolt with rubber tip. If your pliers came with 2 metal bolts, you will need to remove the rubber and determine which bolt has the narrower tip. The smaller bolt (shown on the right below) is generally sufficient for size 14 through size 20 plastic snaps. The larger (shown on the left below) is generally recommended for size size 22 and larger snaps. However, the large can also be used for size 20 sockets to achieve a flatter press. (Note that the color of the rubber tip may vary.)
Here's how to change out the metal bolt:
Unscrew the screw at top of the bolt and remove the spring.
Pull off the rubber tip and slide the metal bolt out.
Reverse these instructions to install the correct metal bolt.
*----------------------------- Using the Pliers -----------------------------*
Practice on scrap fabric first to get the hang of it before applying snaps to your actual project. Removing plastic snaps is very time-consuming!
To begin snapping, first use the awl to poke a hole through your fabric where you want the snap to be.
Place the prong of your cap through the hole.
Place the stud or socket over the cap prong.
Hold your snap in place and firmly squeeze the pliers closed. If the cap you are using does not perfectly fit the bottom cap die, you'll need to try to center the cap in the die as best as you can. The more centered your snap is between the dies, the better the results.
The prong should be smashed down into a flat ball. The ball should be wide enough to hold the socket/stud in place. If the ball isn't flat enough, the socket/stud will just slip through.
Why does this happen? The flattened ball of the smushed prong sticks up too much and gets in the way when you try to try to close the 2 sides of your snaps.We have a videowhich illustrates this problem, which we recommend you watch in addition to reading the rest of this section.
In the image below, the center "ball" created by the prong on the right is high and narrow--you want it flat and wide, as shown on the left.
1) You are either not using enough pressure to squeeze the pliers. Squeeze harder. To re-press a snap that you have already installed to fabric, first remove the rubber tip on the top metal bolt of your pliers. Then re-press the snap so that the metal bolt connects directly against the prong, as shown in the picture below. This will allow more force against the prong and will help to flatten it more. Be sure to re-press both the socket side and the stud side.
2) Your snap is too long for your fabric, or your fabric is too thin for your snap. (This is the cause of most problems.) If your fabric is too thin for the particular length of snap you are using, then the prong will not flatten enough no matter how hard you press.
There are 2 ways to check this is the cause of your problem:
a) Shorten the cap prong by cutting the very tip off a couple of new caps. Attach a socket and a stud with these shorter caps. If the snaps close ok, then you know your original problem was due to the fabric being too thin for the lengh of your snap (or vice versa, the snap was too long for the thinness of your fabric).
b) Take scrap fabric and fold it at least 2-3 times so that it is at least twice or triple as thick as the fabric combination you were originally using with the problem snaps (6 layers of t-shirt material to give you an idea of what would be sufficient for sz20 snaps). Then attach a socket and stud to this thicker fabric. If the snaps close ok, then you know your original problem was due to the fabric being too thin for your snap.
In either of the above cases, you can do 1 of 2 things to correct the problem:
a) Use caps with shorter prongs. You can either purchase shorter caps, or just snip off the tip of the prong on the caps you currently have.
b) Add more layers to your fabric, such as interlacing or fleece, to thicken it up.
Snaps Stopped Closing After Wash/Dry?
Why does this happen? The extreme heat of the dryer causes the plastic to expand ever so slightly. If your snaps were attached securely, this won't make a difference. But if they were on the verge between secure and unsecure, then the tiny bit of expansion caused by the dryer heat will result in your smushed prongs sticking out too much so that they now get in the way when you try to close your snaps.
To fix this, go back to step #1 in the Snaps Secure but Not Closing section above and re-press without the rubber tip. For future reference, consider using shorter snaps for that project, or thickening your layers, as described in step #2 of the Snaps Secure but Not Closing section above.
Snaps falling off your fabric?
Why does this happen? The flattened ball of the smushed prong isn't wide enough to hold the socket/stud in place, so that the socket/stud just slips through and falls off.
1) You may not be using enough pressure to squeeze the pliers. Squeeze harder. To re-press a snap that you have already installed to fabric, first remove the rubber tip on the top metal bolt of your pliers. Then re-press the snap so that the metal bolt connects directly against the prong, as shown in the picture below. This will allow more force against the prong and will help to flatten it more.
2) Your snap is too short for your fabric, or your fabric is too thick for your snap. To determine if this is the case, attach snaps to scrap fabric of a thinner material or fewer layers. If the snaps stay secure to the thinner material, then you know you need snaps with longer prongs.
If you continue to have the same problem after trying these solutions, please send an email describing your problem as specifically as possible to [email protected] It would also be very helpful if you could include a close-up picture of the socket and stud attached to your fabric. Remember, we can't see what you are seeing so we rely solely on the information you share with us.
Most pliers will have an uneven press to some small extent. The photo below illustrates an extreme case.
In most cases, this will not affect the use of the snaps and is just cosmetic. However, if you would like to get a more even press and are using size 20 sockets or size 22 or larger sockets/studs, try switching to the larger top metal bolt. Do not use the large bolt for size 20 studs or smaller snaps as it will crush your snap.
To minimize the uneven press, consider adding another layer or two. The image on the left below consists of 1 layer of heavy fleece. The image on the right consists of 3 layers. Notice that the press becomes more even as the fabric thickens.
Alternatively, you can cut the tip off the prongs of the caps prior to installation to get a similar result.
Snaps are Breaking
Check to see that you are using the correct cap die. Depending on what snap size you are using, the dies on your pliers may need to be switched. Snaps will crack if you are using a die that is too small. Refer to the Fitting the Cap Die section above to understand which die you should be using.
It is much easier to attach a snap than to remove it. But if you have made a mistake with your plastic snap, you can try to remove it in a number of ways:
Apply a small amount of heat to the cap prong at the center of the snap which holds the snap together. The heat will melt the prong, which will allow you to simply pull the 2 pieces of the snap apart. You can use a soldering tool if you have one (eBay has inexpensive “soldering pencils”), or just heat up the tip of a fork tine or a meat thermometer over a flame and quickly place it against the prong to melt it.
Small pliers, wire cutters, or nail clippers can also be used to chip away at the sides of the snap or the snap prong until the snap breaks.
Use a leather hole punch tool to punch a hole around the smushed prong. This will create a larger center hole in the attached socket or stud, which will allow you to simply pull the 2 sides of the snap apart.
Use a dremel/drill with a small rounded tip against the prong until the snap can be removed.
Place your fabric upside down under the press (cap side up) or sideways. Press down as if you were applying a snap, and it should fall off. We have a video showing how to do this with both the snap press and the pliers here.
Whichever method you try, be sure to go slowly so that you don't damage your fabric.
*----------------------------- Video Tutorials -----------------------------*
These videos provide basic information but do not encompass all the tips and troubleshooting that the written section above does. If you are experiencing a problem with your pliers, be sure to read the written instructions above.