In my last tutorial, I showed you how to turn a sheet into a shower curtain, and one of the supplies we used for that project was grommets. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to install grommets on your shower curtain, or in any other project you have in mind.
Grommets, also known as eyelets, are primarily used to add reinforcement to holes in fabric. Those holes usually offer a function, such as lacing or strapping something (i.e. shoe laces or belts), or hanging something (i.e. curtains, bags or banners). However, grommets don’t always have to serve a function. They can add a unique, industrial look to clothing and home decor and can even simply be used to alter something for a new look. The bag below, courtesy of Bayanhippo on Etsy, is a great example of an unexpected use for grommets that provide function as well as style.
I love the random placement of the grommet on this bag below, made by Yaheesplace.
They even make grommets large enough for curtain rods, as seen on these beautiful curtains made by Avec Dieu Couture on Etsy.
Grommets are shockingly easy to do yourself, and don’t require fancy, expensive tools of any sort. All you need is a starter set of grommets, available at most craft stores, and a set of grommet setting tools, which usually come with the grommet starter sets. Grommets come in all shapes, sizes and even colors. The only thing to remember is that different size grommets usually require different sized setting tools; so, if you buy a set of grommets that doesn’t come with the setting tools, then make sure you find tools for that particular size grommets. If you have any doubt, ask for help from a store employee.
Supplies that you’ll need to install your grommets:
- grommet tools for the size grommets you’ll be installing
- a hammer
How to install your grommets.
Step 1. Identify the two different parts of your grommet set. There are two parts to each set of grommets: 1) the washer, a flat and round ring and 2) the grommet, a ring with a raised center. In the picture below, the washers are on the left, the grommets are on the right. You will need each of these two different parts to successfully install your grommet. If you’re visual, like me, it might help to sort the washers and grommets into two separate piles, so that you don’t confuse them.
Step 2. Identify the two different parts of your setting tool. On the left, below, is a long, tall piece, called the setter. On the right is a small indented ring, which we’ll refer to as the anvil. Your setting tool may vary slightly from mine, but should still resemble it.
Step 3. If you are not using a home decor or heavy weight fabric, it’s important to reinforce the area where you will be installing your grommets. How you go about doing this is up to you, but I recommend it if you are at all doubtful of whether the fabric you are using can hold up to the strain of the grommets. Some options include scraps of canvas or other heavy weight fabric, twill tape or fusible interfacing. In this situation, I sewed a strip of scrap canvas between the layer of my fabric where I was going to add my grommets for my shower curtain.
Step 4. Mark the area where your grommet will go by tracing the inside of the grommet hole with a disappearing pen. In this situation, I was using grommets from my shower curtain liner as a template for my hole. You can use the grommet piece of your grommet set (as defined in step 1) as your template. You want your hole to be slightly smaller than the diameter of your grommet, but not too much smaller.
Step 5. Carefully cut out that hole (and avoid cutting your fingers in the process!).
Step 6. Insert the grommet piece (the ring with the raised center) on the right side of the fabric, through the hole that you’ve cut.
Step 7. Now, insert the washer (the flat ring) over the grommet on the wrong side of the fabric.
Steps 8. Set up your grommet tools. Set the anvil (the indented ring), indented side up, on a hard, firm surface such as a concrete floor or solid work table. Lay your grommet piece (the piece on the right side of your fabric) down in the anvil, so that it rests neatly inside of the indention. Then insert the setter into the raised center of the grommet on the wrong side of the fabric.
Now comes the fun part! The hammering!
Step 9. Set your grommet! Now, hammer forcefully, yet carefully, onto the top of the setter. This is a great way to get out your anger in a healthy, productive way! The intent is to flatten the raised center of the grommet down so that it grips the washer and can’t slip back out. After a few whacks, lift up your setter gently and see how it’s coming. If the raised center is still raised, you’ve not done your job. Put your setter back in and keep hammering until the raised center is evenly flattened down over the washer and the grommet doesn’t feel loose in the fabric. A firm, strong work surface is very important for this part and it will take a little experimenting to figure out how much force you need to get the right effect without denting the grommet or the setter. As seen below, my boys “helped” me with this task as we did a total of 12 grommets for our shower curtain, but be careful for little fingers! I basically let them tap away at it for a while and then finished the job with a few good hits.
This end result is a functional product with a professional, finished look!
Hope these instructions are clear and happy grommet making to all! We’d love to hear about your experience if you ever have, or do, install your own grommets!