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Rivets are everywhere. Airliners have rivets. The pockets of your Levis? have rivets. Frogs make the sound, "rrriiiiiivvvet." That last example probably isn't applicable, but it kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it? Not only are rivets ubiquitous, they look super professional when used on a sewing project. Rivets also have a very logical purpose: they hold lots of thick layers together at points where it would be impossible to stitch with a sewing machine.

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For sewing applications, you often see rivets attaching heavy straps to bags, holding belt buckles in place or reinforcing the corner stress points of a pocket or pouch. Rivets are the smooth, cool, tough guys of sewing. But here's their secret: with the right toolspillow case baby, they're actually quite easy to apply.

Many riveting tutorials we reviewed left out this important tool. Or, perhaps they assumed everyone had one of these wacky hole punches. We kind of doubt that. But, this tool is one of the keys to making the process easy, especially with heavier fabrics, faux leathers and vinyls, and real leather. You can find punch tools online from Amazon?as well as locally at traditional hardware stores; Habor Freight is one good option.?

A hole punch is a plier-like tool with a rotating wheel of variously sized sharpened, hollow spikes. Squeeze the plier, and the selected spike strikes against the opposing anvil. When your layers of fabric are in between the spike and the anvil, a clean hole is cut.?

We have had very good luck with the hole punch on a variety of the heavier wovens into which rivets are placed as well as in faux and real leathers. However,?If you can't find or don't wish to purchase a heavy-duty hole punch, you can make holes using a sewing awl.?

An awl is also a good option when working with lighter-weight wovens. For these fabrics, you'll get a much stronger rivet by carefully prying a hole between the threads of the fabric with an awl than by cutting the threads with the hole punch.?The lighter the weight of the substrate and the smaller the hole (and the rivet), the more careful the cut.?That said, if you still have trouble inserting the rivet, it's okay to use a pair of small, sharp scissors to clean up and slightly enlarge the hole. This is true when using either a hole punch or an awl.?

"Always" and "Never" are hard to use when it comes to creative processes.?As usual, we recommend testing any process on scraps of the project's fabric prior to trying it on the final piece.

The really fun part of riveting is the fact you get to whack something with a hammer. It's what ultimately seals the deal, locking the rivet post and cap. But it's also a great stress reliever, and if you're like us, it allows you to take out a bit of frustration on what might be an otherwise uncooperative project. Don't use a regular metal hammer as it could damage the setting post and/or your rivet. Look for a plastic mallet?(shown above)?or rawhide hammer. You can find either of these online (using our links) or in the woodworking department of your local hardware store.

Much like how a snap is applied, you need to press together two pieces to create a finished rivet. Due to the thickness and quantity of layers with which you are usually working, this can take quite a bit of pressure. You need an anvil to help support the base of the rivet and a setting post to hold the top of the rivet in place and on which to strike your hammer. These tools are machined with one side concave (on the left above) and one side flat (on the right above). This allows you to match the surfaces of the anvil and post to the surfaces of your rivet pieces. Many rivet sets come with an appropriate post and anvil tool.

Dritz? makes an easy?plastic setting tool?that allows you to place a rivet back/post in one cup and a rivet cap in an opposing cup. You can find and purchase the tool by itself, but are more likely to find it in a kit with rivets. The layers of fabric go in between, against the tool's hinge, then you gently hammer cap to post. We show more detailed steps below.?

The Dritz? Double Cap Rivets (described below and a Sew4Home favorite) use the more traditional setting post and anvil for application, but also come with a matching cutting tool.

Both the Dritz? tools and most post and anvil tools are considered home options. If you are planning to do a lot of riveting, you might try looking for combination piercing and setting tools, commonly found for leather working. EZ Rivet?makes an affordable option.?

There are MANY options for the rivets themselves. Most rivets are metal, and usually come in either gold (brass) or silver (nickel).?The cap of the rivet sometimes offers a bit of decoration. You can find engraved decorative rivets , and there are even rivets with?crystal or semi-precious stone caps. Remember, you are striking the top of the rivet with a hammer, so the more decorative options do require extra protection (covering with a cloth or leather) and care when inserting them.?

We've become big fans of the Dritz? Double Cap Rivets which have a smooth curved cap on both the front and back and come in several finish options. This gives you a pro look from either side and is especially nice for strap and flap applications where you can almost always see both sides on your finished project.?

The size of the head or cap varies as does the length of the post. The size of the cap is going to be important decoratively as it is what you see on your project. Choose a size that looks good for your application.

Even more important is the length of the post. It has to be long enough to penetrate through all the layers of fabric.

Other than the Double Cap Rivets mentioned above, the back of rivets are usually flat and plain, revealing the hole that forms the post.

A final Note: There really isn't any great way to take a rivet out of a sewn project; they are designed to be permanent after all. We have had some luck carefully cutting them out, then filling the hole with a fabric and interfacing patch -- trimmed very closely -- you can then install a larger rivet, a snap or a button to cover up the repair.?

Unless you’ve applied removable wallpaper, stripping the existing prints from your walls can be a messy project. However, this task is much easier with the right wallpaper removers. For those times when a standard remover isn't strong enough, steamers can help finish the job. This guide will explain how to remove wallpaper using various wallpaper tools and effacing techniques.

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