Sewing Tip: Installing a Magnetic Snap

When I was sewing up a diaper bag the other day, I realized how many things are involved in bag-making that I just had to discover myself along the way.  I also thought that if someone had just shown me a few things, it could have saved me some headache early on in my sewing life.   

I always hesitate to give sewing tips because I know there are so many of you out there who have been sewing much longer than I have and will probably laugh at the way I do things.  But, I’ll risk it and hope that I might give a tip or two that might help someone out.

So here goes, Tip #1:  Installing a Magnetic Snap:

I’m all about sturdiness.  I don’t want to make a bag, just to have the fabric around the magnetic snap fall apart and make the bag look bad.  Here’s how I do it.

1.  I never install a magnetic snap on just fabric alone.  Even if the fabric is heavy canvas, I always interface it – at least the small area where the snap is going to be installed. 

2.  I measure to the spot where the pattern tells me to place the snap.  I mark a dot on this spot.

magnet 1

3. Then, I take the washer from the magnetic snap and place the center hole on the dot. Then I make 2 marks in the slits on the sides of the washer. This is where the holes will need to be cut.

magnet 3

magnet 4

magnet 6

4. On my machine, I make 2 buttonholes around these lines and slit the holes open with the seam ripper.

magnet 7

5. Place the prongs through the holes.  Place the washer over the prongs.

magnet 9

6. Bend the the prongs toward the middle of the magnet using something firm, but not slippery.  (Hint: don’t use the handle of the rotary cutter – it’s just not safe!)

magnet done

7. Repeat with opposite side of magnetic snap.

8. Get snap-happy and start putting snaps on EVERYTHING:  purses, bags, drawing cases, patchfolios, etc. 

Cheap sourses for purchasing snaps:

1)  Ah Kwok Supplies.  It’s an Ebay store out of Hong Kong.  Even with shipping, when I buy 25  half-inch snaps, I end up paying about $1 per snap which is a better deal than I can get anywhere else.

2)  Joann’s has magnetic snaps in their notions section, but if you want a cheaper option, head on over to the craft side of the store where they sell bag making supplies (handles and kits).  They aren’t my favorite snap (they’re thick), but you can often get 3 snaps for under $3.

3) Etsy.  Several etsy shops carry magnetic snaps inexpensively now.  Search “magnetic snaps” under supplies. 




138 thoughts on “Sewing Tip: Installing a Magnetic Snap

  1. For extra support, I cut out a small piece of needle point mesh and insert the magnetic snap in the middle of this. This gives reinforcement with repeated opening and closing a bag.

  2. Wow, buttonholes! You are very conscientious. I do everything the same, except I use a piece of Peltex or something else stiff behind the snap, don’t do buttonholes (lazy butt, to borrow a phrase from your sister) and I bend the prongs outwards instead of inwards. I wonder if there is a difference between bending them in vs. out?

  3. What a great idea using buttonholes for the prongs!

    A word of warning though. You can’t use magnetic snaps on wallets if you want to use it to store credit cards. The magnets will wipe the information from the black strip!!!!

  4. Great tips and thanks for the Ebay source! Marking the spots first is a good idea. I’m always trying to eyeball it and that doesn’t work well. 🙂

  5. You’re so good to do buttonholes, I just use a seam ripper to make the slit and the add a little piece of timtex before I close the prongs. It never occured to me to do a buttonhole – you’re so clever 🙂

  6. Thank you! Earlier this week, literally, I was thinking I’d rather have a magnetic snap on a bag and wondering how I would do it and if it would be worth it. Now I know.

  7. You know, I always bent my prongs to the outside. It wasn’t until I saw Autums’s tutorial that it ever occurred to me to bend them to the inside.

  8. Thanks for the great tips. I’ve just recently discovered the world bag blogging and I’m learning so many things that my head is bursting with all the bags I want to make. The source for buying the snaps is great..thanks.

  9. Wowzer. I was AFRAID of attempting snaps! You’ve made it not so much ‘easy’ but, MUCH less scary! *LOL* And for that I’m grateful – keep up the wonderful work! I can use all the help and tutorials I can get! :o)


  10. This is almost exactly how I put in magnet snaps and it works great. I know what you mean about having had to learn by yourself along the way. I have been lucky to be able to call & ask my mom for advice on some sewing things, but some of it I have just had to learn myself or figure out myself.

  11. Thanks a million!!! I just bought some magnetic snaps but they only came with ‘skimpy’ directions. They must be popular right now as they are always sold out.

  12. Great tutorial! I hadn’t thought about doing a buttonhole stitch at the prong placement–great tip! And thanks for the tips on where to get magnetic clasps–I’ve been looking for a new source for these. My local craft shop only ever has two in stock and charge an arm & leg for them…Hope you have a great weekend! :o)

  13. Thanks for sharing the info. I have never felt it necessary to button hole the edges, I thought that using interfacing was enough to stablize the opening. Did you start to do the button hole reinforcement due to a previous failure?

    I am also an outward prong bender. The online source is a great help, they are very hard to find at local shops and pricey.

  14. Great tips. Thank you. Have never used a buttonhole as reinforcement, will need to try that. Another source for the magnetic snaps is Joann’s – they have a six pack 2 gold 4 silver for 2.99. They are found in the racks with all the odds & ends under the Joann Essentials name.

  15. Thanks for the ebay source. I just bought some. Never have been able to find them at Joann’s and Michael’s is always out and expensive. Thanks for the tips, too. I’m probably too lazy to do the buttonhole stitch but I will start using interfacing. Smart. And if you’re taking a poll, I fold them to the inside too. Keep those tips coming!

  16. I wish I’d found your tutorial before I made my last bag! I did it pretty much like you did, but the thing didn’t come with any directions!!! I did bend the prongs outwards though. I’ve bookmarked your blog. Love it!


  17. Pingback: me being crafty » Magnetic Snap

  18. You’re such a pro! And so sweet for posting this tut. It took me months of bag making (all the while using buttons/buttonholes for closures), before I attempted the magnetic snap. Why was I so intimidated? It’s nice of you to post this for others just starting out.

    Another great source for snaps is this website:

    I’ve been using them for over a year and they are wonderful. Inexpensive, quick, and great service. I highly recommend them. Their quantity discounts are really good.


  19. I love the button hole tip! That’s brilliant! Here’s an addition to your tutorial to perfectly place the snap on the other side (the other piece of fabric). Before placing the snap in the fabric, align the other piece of fabric in the direction it will be stitched and pin the two together (two pins will do – just to keep them together). Then take a pin and push it through the dot you marked on the first piece of fabric so it sticks through to the second piece. Flip it over and slide the washer for the other side of the snap over the pin. Align properly and mark the fabric where you will place the other slits. Unpin the materials and continue to prep for the snaps (whether you use the buttonhole or the stiff interfacing). Now you will have perfectly positioned snaps on both sides without having to eye-ball it! 🙂

  20. I love magnetic snaps and you have great tips here. I never thought of button holes either but I use interfaced fabric with an extra piece of stiff pellon, I mark the slits with a marker and put fray check on them. I push outward though. Just never thought about pushing inward.
    There are always new tips to learn no matter how much we know. Keep them coming. I’m an etsy seller too!

  21. Thanks for such a lovely clear tutorial – I’ve been wanting to use snaps for a while, but had been feeling a bit intimidated by them, but actually you’ve made it look quite easy! Thank you!!!

  22. You did good on the buttonhole application…gives extra strength.Now..another source for purse magnet snaps and all kinds of fittings…pick up all of the purses you can find at tag sales..garage sales thrift stores…etc.”harvest” all of the fittings very carefully …straps pockets zippers ..the actual pattern of the bag too if you feel that you like it well enough…just a note from a packrat sewer…

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  24. very helpful tutorial. i’ve been using magnetic snaps and folding them outwards…i’m going to try folding them inward! i always get my magnetic snaps at joanne’s…they come in a pack of 3 for under $2. that’s the cheapest i’ve found them. they don’t show it online. but i’ve found these packs of 3 where they sell the handles for making purses. keep giving tips!!

  25. Pingback: Purse Firsts « Southern Girl Musings

  26. Just thought I would leave a tidbit about where to buy the magnetic snaps at a real reasonble price and purse handles too. You can sign up for weekly newsletters and they have tons of stuff to offer. You might want to check them out for buying on the internet. Thanks for the tips on snaps. It was an AHAH! moment for me……..

  27. Very helpful, thanks!

    first purse attempt, and my magnetic snaps didn’t come with instructions… I just wish my mom’s 30+ year old machine would let me buttonhole! Will dab on a bit of fabric glue on the slits. But when I get my new machine (August!!!) then I’ll definately reinforce with your advice.

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  29. hello there!
    i couldnt help but notice that you noted paying ~$1 a snap.
    if you log onto, this etsyian sells her snaps for ~55 – 80 cents per 18mm snap whether it is a antibrass, brass or silver/nickel material. the pricing varies with the quantity you purchase of course.

    i hope you find this helpful!

  30. Thanks for taking the time to post your tutorial. It’s great and I realized that I’ve been doing my snaps backwards.
    I have discovered that you can use the female section of the snap as purse feet. It looks beautiful and I finally have that professional look at the bottom of my purse.

  31. Hello 🙂
    Thank you for the helpful tutorial. I am an absolute beginner in sewing, and I am deeply grateful for these tips…
    I had, however, a question on the snap buttons topic. I usually sew the lining of the bag separated from the outer fabric and interfacing, which are together, and then attach it just at the top line.
    If I place the snap closure on the lining, won’t it have a weird effect, like the lining bending inwards and the outer layers remaining wide open as before?

    I hope I made what I mean clear enough. I apologize for my rather inadequate english… 🙂

    Thank you so very much for your help,

  32. Pingback: Snazzy & Such » Blog Archive » Tutorial Tuesday: Installing a Magnetic Closure

  33. I just started using zippers. Does anyone know how wide the tape of
    a zipper can be. I use a 22″ to 24″ plastic zipper but I find myself
    wishing for a wider tape area when I am attaching it..I have been using a walking foot on my singer machine. I an gonna try the zipper foot, but I am afraid that the needle will breake easier!!! I use heavy fabrics. Any ideas??? I cannot afford a factory machine, just yet.

    Thanks, M.Mera

  34. this was really helpful. making button holes is a great idea but i’ve never been able to get the button hole setting on my machine to work right, or i just don’t know how to use it right. i’m just teaching myself how to sew. i’m making my first purse now and was looking for instructions on attaching these snaps since the package didn’t have any. i also want to let you know that i got a package of 6 snaps for $1.50 at JoAnn Fabrics store. thanks for the tips!

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  36. Reply to M.Meara –
    You may want to try widening your zipper by attaching ribbon to it and then sewing the ribbon to the fabric. Grosgrain works well – this is also a neat way to add a little color/pizazz to your project.

  37. Thanks for sharing! I just made a wallet last night and had some of these snaps on hand and wanted to put one in…the darn things didn’t come with directions and I was pressed for time so I just added a button closure instead. Now I am excited to use up some snaps since I know what the heck I am doing…lol:)

    thanks again!

  38. I know that at ETSY – handknit168 is quite cheap and the price is OK.
    You can buy 10 sets, 20 sets or 50 sets from “handknit168”, or even you can request your order volume.

    50 pairs of 14mm Nickel magnetic snaps;
    USD10.50 + USD7 = USD17.5

    50 pairs of 18mm Nickel magnetic snaps;
    USD12.50 + USD12.5= USD25

  39. If you are looking for great prices on Magnetic snaps, there are some great prices on a new website that I found. They sell in quantities as low as 10pcs @ .90/pc, and go down to $0.70/pc at just a hundred snaps. They also have very resonalble shipping. It was only $4.50 to ship 50pcs I had bought just recently. I was also impressed with their shipping time. I had my order to me in only 2 days.
    Worth checking out if you are looking to use these often or just a few at a time.

  40. OMG i am making a purse for my friend and did not know how to put on the magnetic clip. now i know where to get the clips and how to put them on. thanks a million please keep posting new tips i could use a few

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  42. Pingback: Tutorial: Adding a magnetic snap · Sewing @ CraftGossip

  43. What a great idea to put the buttonholes in for reinforcement. I never would have thought of that, but sure plan to use this idea when I make my next purse.
    Thanks for giving the good source for magnetic closures, too.

  44. I’ve had these snaps sitting around for over a year wondering how to apply them.. decided to google it today.. THANK YOU! :]

  45. Your instructions(magnetic snaps)was a huge help. Been sewing a long time, but adding magnetic snaps….with no instructions was not a snap!
    Thanks, MJ

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  49. Fabulous tip!!! I’ve done the eyeballing the spot and just cutting slips for the button. Now my button is falling out. I can’t wait to use this tip! Thank you!

  50. Pingback: How to Install a Magnetic Snap Tutorial | Picking Up Threads

  51. Pingback: Oh My Bettie » Blog Archive » How to: Magnetic Snaps

  52. Thankyou so much , your directions are very easy to understand and great pictures. I had this big idea of putting these magnetic snaps on my polarfleece bags until I realized I really didn’t know for sure how to do it. Thanks again!

  53. Thank you so much for posting this! I’d never ever attached a magnetic snap and I certainly would not have thought of sewing a button hole (especially since I’d never done that either!) but with this tutorial, I think I did a pretty good job on my first snap 🙂

  54. I was searching the internet trying to find a suggestion for covering up the magnetic clasp. My sister is making felted purses and does not want to line them. The magnetic clasp shows on the outside of the purse. Does anyone have a suggestion on how we can cover up the clasp? Would be appreciated.

    • Have you thought about sewing a square of felt over the clasp back? It would be the perfect place to put a square tag if you had one. Or an embellishment – maybe a flower.

      Another option: if you make the closure a tab that goes over the top of the bag, you could line the tab and just stitch a piece of felt over the clasp on the inside of the bag.

      Just my thoughts. :o)

  55. Thank you for posting this. It really helped me. I’m in a crunch to get some amy bulter bags done for Christmas and the snaps didn’t come with instructions!
    thanks again.

  56. I just started making bags, and with that using magntic snaps. I love your idea on the button hole. My problem is though, I have never done a button hole… ??? How about you do a tutorial for that, as I love you page and your easy to follow tutorials!!!! 🙂
    I also bend the prongs inward. Just like you I am also worried about the snap ripping out one day. That has happened in boughten bags before and it so ugly. I reinforce the snap in the bag with a piece of batting. The lady from JoAnn’s told me that trick…
    Keep blogging please, you are great!!! THANKS!!!

  57. I just finished a wallet design and was going to use magnetic snaps BUT after reading some these posts I think I will be looking for another type for the wallet. I thought about interfacting for durability but what is timtex for a backing??? Flexible plastic??? I guess I will google it. Boy what would we do without google

  58. Pingback: How to Install Magnetic Snaps

  59. What a great tip on the snaps. I have been searching for a non hand sewing snap for purses. Do you have any tips on a purse bottom stabilizer? I can’t afford $9 for a Bag-E-Bottom.

    I appreciate your tips.

    • Celia,
      My suggestion for purse bottom stabilizer is go to hardware store ask person to cut plexi-glass to the various sizes you need for each of your bags you make. Real Cheap to have done.

  60. Pingback: Something old, something new…. « Owl Take It

  61. Wow…I wish I would’ve found this before I tried to install the magnetic closure for the first time! I had no idea what those plastic things were, figured they were there to keep the magnets aparts, so I threw away! Thanks for all the great tips!

  62. hheey umm for skool i have to make a bag and i decided to use a magnetic snapp but the ppl at the material place gave me one that had plastic around it im not sure how to sew it plzz help. by the way its not like the onne you used

    • Virginia,

      It sounds like you purchase a sew-in/hidden magnetic snap. It basically has a round / flat magnet inside covered by a square plastic. It is installed between the lining and outside as a magnet that isn’t seen. please email me (through my website) if you have further questions as there are many ways to install it.


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  65. I am confused. What side of the fabric do you put it thru, the front or the back? Do you ever do a video showing how you do something, I think a video would help me with this.

    I made bags and I want to put them in as well, but still can’t figure this one out. lol

  66. Excellent tips! Thank you! and I totally know what you mean about there being a lot of info out there, sharing techniques. But we always learn something new from each person’s method (even if you don’t feel like a professional) so I’m glad you shared with us. I learned something new! 🙂

  67. That was so easy, once I figured out the button hole function on machine again! Thanks! I’ve been meaning to button-hole and attach snaps…and never got around to it. You helped me kill two birds with one stone.

  68. Your tutorial on installing magnetic snaps is SO AWESOME! Took the fear right out of me, and I installed my first set of snaps correctly and they turned out beautiful! your instructions were so clear and so very easy! THANKS for sharing your insights on this 🙂

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  73. What size magnetic snaps to you use on your purses. Do you use the slim ones? The ones in the craft section at Joanne’s are so thick I have to put them lower so I can top stitch. Thanks

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  76. Thanks for the instructions. I’ve never installed one and really couldn’t follow the manufacturers directions. Your explanation was perfect.

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  78. Pingback: The World Surrounding Me » Blog Archive » Mini Purse & Earbud Holder

  79. I didn’t read all the posts so forgive me if you hear this already. Any time you buy at ebay always check the free ship box. Many sellers offer free shipping if you do your search with free shipping. I just did and found most magnetic snaps for about 50 cents each.

  80. THANK YOU! I’m making an Amy Butler bag and her instructions say to “follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the magnetic snap.” Well, my manufacturer didn’t include any instructions, so this is incredibly helpful!

  81. That’s a great tip but I am using the type of magnetic snap that has to be sewn in and have discovered that if I sew it using the button stitch on my machine it will all just pull back out. How do I secure the stitching?

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  85. Thanks so much. I have been sewing a long time but didn’t know about the snaps you were talking about. I just made two bags and will be using the snaps instead of Velcro to close them.

  86. I am so glad that I viewed this site. My snaps did not come with instructions and your tips were much better than what would have been provided. I will definitely use the buttonhole process for my bag. The quilted fabric wallet pattern recommends using magnetic snap so I was surprised to read the comment stating that it may effect the integrity of credit cards.

  87. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I just purchased snaps and there were no instructions. Even if there were, I’ve found that often one person can explain in a why that makes sense even if other instructions didn’t.

  88. Pingback: How To Apply A Magnetic Purse Snap | Information

  89. Thank you for this! I’ve never tried putting on a magnetic snap because I was afraid…Haha!
    So you’re instructions are perfect, and now I’ll try it!
    Thank you!

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