There are a variety of helpful tools available for cutting holes for grommets , such as leather hole punches like these:
They make the job easier by simply selecting the correct punch for the size hole you need and hitting with a hammer. However I have found that when needing to go through several layers of fabrics and interfacings they won't punch through. Or, some cases you simply don't have the right size for the hole you need to cut. BUT it's super easy to just cut your holes without them to get the perfect size hole for your grommet everytime.
There are many methods (tips and tricks) for cutting holes in your finished bag and installing grommets. So, this is not the right way or the only way but here is how I install them.
Let's get started!
1. Mark your placement according to the pattern instructions. Take the screws out of the grommet and separate the pieces.
2. Put the screws aside in a safe place so you don’t lose them!
3. Take the back plate (the flat one) and place it on your fabric at your placement markings and trace around the inside opening and then around the outside parimeter.
This will help you know where your hole needs to be cut to fit within the grommet. You need it slightly larger than the inner opening but smaller than the overall grommet size.
4. After you have your grommet traced draw a vertical and horizonal line inside the center circle. This will aid you in getting your hole cut.
5. You will need a pen knife and a pointy pair of sharp scissors.
Use the knife to cut across both lines you drew going just past the inner circle. This will help you get the circle cut easier. Next, using your small scissors cut the arc between each straight line on all four sections to create a full circle cut.
Your circle cut out does not need to be perfect it just needs to be bigger than the inner circle but does not exceed the outer one.
6. Once you got an opening cut it is ideal to use some glue between the layers so that if you need to further cut your hole, and to keep the lighter layers from pulling out of the grommet after installed, lift the very top layer on the interior side up and run a line of glue between the layers, and then do the same on the exterior layers.
7. Lay one of your grommet pieces over the hole you just made to be sure that it is large enough not to show any fabric around the inner circle. If need be trim the circle again so you will not see any fabric or interfacings within the grommet hole when installed. It’s much easier to cut the layers now that you have them glued together!
8. Once you are satisfied with your opening check once more to be sure that your grommet will align at the placement position.
The most common problem in installing screw in grommets is getting those little screws in! The screws that come with them are not pointy or sharp enough to go through layers of fabric. Thus, you can create holes for the screws to go into.
I don’t like to cut notches at the holes, nor stretch the fabric to expose the holes as either of these can later lead to the fabric pulling out between the layers of the grommet pieces.
This is how I do it:
9. With the grommet in the correct position take a fine sharpie and place it in each screw hole to mark their position.
10. Take an awl and hammer and punch each mark to create a hole. This will assure that your screws will tighten properly and get though all the layers.
11. Align the front piece of your grommet with in the circle hole you cut and place a drop of glue in each screw hole.
12. Place the back piece of the grommet on top of the fabric aligning the holes with the front piece. Again, you can use your awl to be sure both pieces of the grommet align with the holes you made through the fabric layers.
13. Now just add your screws and your grommet is installed!
Easy Peasy right?
For a wide variety of Screw-in grommets in a wide range of finishes, styles, and sizes check out the selection available at So, You need Hardware here: http://soyouneedhardware.com/grommets/
Ready to try installing your own screw-in Grommets? Be sure to check out the new pattern release - The Octavia Daily Tote coming March 8th!