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magnetic snap tutorial

I remember what it was like inserting my first magnetic snap.  I was sweating bullets!  It’s one of those last steps when making a tote or bag or other project.  All I could think of was how was I going to fix it once I messed it up?!  But you know what, all the worry was really over nothing.  Anyway, I’ll show you how to insert a magnetic snap, no sweat, promise.

+ Supplies +

  • sharp scissors
  • some kind of fabric marking tool (I used a water soluble pen)
  • scraps of fusible interfacing

+ Interfacing +
One of the little tricks I’ve come up with for myself is having those little scraps of fusible interfacing ready to go.  Whenever I’m cutting interfacing and I have a few smaller pieces, I’ll take the time and cut them into little 2″ squares.  I stuff those squares in a baggie with my magnetic snaps so the next time I’m ready to insert a snap – it’s ready to go!  Most frequently I keep Pellon SF101 (a fusible woven) and Pellon 81F (a fusible fleece) and I use them in combination.

You’ll have two pronged pieces and two washers per magnetic snap.

+ Size/Type +
Now I should mention that you’ll want to make sure you have the appropriate size magnetic snap for your project.  Most patterns/tutorials call for a certain size.  I do like to use a smaller 14mm size snap for pockets.  Some even have a lighter magnetic strength which is nice if you’re sick of trying to pry open a pocket for the millionth time.  I also really like working with a sew-in magnet (which is sandwiched between exterior/lining layers), they seem to hold things together nicely, but at the same time are really easy to open.  I can save that for another post though if you’re interested.

+ Where to Shop +
I prefer to order my magnetic snaps on Etsy.  I feel like I get a way better deal than the big box craft stores (yes, even with a coupon) and have more options for sizes and even magnetic strengths.  My favorite shop is BeingBags,  I’ve always had good luck and they have a great selection of bag hardware. Usually you’ll need to buy more than you need for one project, but then I always like tucking in snaps when I’m sending sewing friends a package, share the love, right?!

So we’ll start of with a little project in progress.  For this example I’m using a front pocket from my Super Tote.  I’ve assembled the pocket (pocket exterior, piping, and pocket lining).

You’ll be inserting the magnetic snap between the exterior and lining pieces.  You won’t want the back of these magnetic snaps to show. Below is a picture of the wrong sides of the exterior and lining pieces opened up and all set to go.

Step 1:
Mark snap placement. Using whatever marking tool you’ve got around.  a pencil works great too.  Make a mark in both of those little rectangles.

Step 2:
Cut slits where you marked to insert prongs. Make sure to use a sharp scissors!  And try to cut as small of a slit as possible.  I’ve also seen where people make small buttonholes where the prongs will go.  If you’re worried about fraying you can always dab on a little Fray Check.

Step 3:
Insert snap.  Push prongs through the slits.  You can then take out the prongs and fuse on a layer of fusible interfacing.  It helps stabilize everything and holds up better for wear and tear.  I’ve fused on SF101 and then fusible fleece on top (gives the snap a little extra padding). You can either then push the prong back through the slits or snip through the interfacing carefully.

Push the prong back through.

Slide washer over prongs. Using the edge of your scissors blade, bend over the prongs.  I’ve seen where people bend them inwards too, I haven’t noticed a difference either way, so I usually just bend them outwards.

Step 4:
Fuse on more interfacing.  Yep!  Go ahead and take another scrap of SF101 and lay it over the top of everything and give it a good iron.

Step 5:
Repeat steps 1-4 for installing remaining half of snap on project. Marking placement, cutting, inserting prongs, interface, bend over prongs, adding more interfacing and that’s all!

You’re all set!  I love to sit and open and close snaps (and zippers) when I’m done, it’s so fun and feels like a pat on the back.  You did it!  And I should mention, if this kind of magnetic snap isn’t your cup of tea, there are some really cute sew-in style snaps that I definitely want to try.  They seem like they’d make a really nice handmade touch to a project.  Okay, if you have any additional tips feel free to leave them in the comments.  ♥

34 Responses to magnetic snap tutorial

  1. Chris S 05.22.2013 at 11:48 pm #

    I have a super sharp craft knife that works perfect for slicing open the little holes you need. It makes it easy to be precise :)

  2. SisterlyLove 05.23.2013 at 1:02 am #

    THANK YOU for posting this! I’m getting ready to sew a Super Tote and was wondering when and how to put in the magnetic snap. Thanks for doing the brain work for us!!


  3. OktoberLeaves 05.23.2013 at 1:24 am #

    Thank yoy! Exactly what I needed. I bought some magnetic snaps a while back, and I have not figured out how to install them. With this tutorial it doesn’t look too hard!

  4. Krista 05.23.2013 at 2:09 am #

    I have installed so many of these, but have never felt like they were secure. I love how you fuse a piece of interfacing over the entire back! So smart! Thanks Anna!

  5. Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts 05.23.2013 at 2:17 am #

    Thank you! I will be attempting my first bag – the Super Tote! – next month, and I was wondering how you put these in.

  6. Franziska 05.23.2013 at 2:17 am #

    thanks for the tutorial. I have all my material ready and hope to start my super tote soon.

  7. Mary Maryall 05.23.2013 at 2:20 am #

    Great tutorial! On the other hand, I tried once with sew in snaps, and after some intense use, they aren’t that nice anymore… and I also hate how the floss shows on them, as i’ve sewn only balck or white snaps.
    Mary @

  8. p.s.phyllis sews 05.23.2013 at 11:59 am #

    Great job, Anna! The extra interfacing on top of each side of the magnetic snap is such a great solution for long-term use!! I can’t wait to start one of your super totes for my grown-up daughter in Chicago!

  9. Elizabeth Ant 05.23.2013 at 6:16 pm #

    thank you, great tutorial

  10. Kelly O. 05.23.2013 at 8:03 pm #

    I just had a lightbulb moment while reading this– like, DUH! That wasn’t too scary– and yet I have been avoiding this very thing! thanks Anna!

  11. Poppyprint 05.23.2013 at 10:12 pm #

    What the other Krista said about the final piece of interfacing – excellent idea. I have had prongs wear thru the lining fabric in the past!

  12. Leanne Spencer 05.23.2013 at 10:42 pm #

    I’ve also used a small piece of lightweight plastic behind these magnets. Love the Super Tote….have made 2 so far.

  13. WendyW 05.24.2013 at 7:06 am #

    Anna, Thank you so much for this tutorial … I am going to attempt to do one myself when I make my next bag. I really love your blogg and your patterns! Regards, Wendy (Australia)

  14. Jake 05.24.2013 at 7:40 am #

    Nice Tute! I love Being Bags! Great selection and customer service…just like Zippit! I’m so glad you help promote the awesome Etsy sites out there. If it weren’t for you, I’d still be a zipper idiot!

  15. Ines 05.24.2013 at 8:27 am #

    Thank you so much Anna!
    Who has told you, that I need even this tutorial next :-)?

    Greetings from Germany

  16. Karin 05.24.2013 at 5:46 pm #

    Hi! This tutorial is perfect timing for me because I sucked it up and bought a pack of magnetic closures just the other day and they’ve been mocking me from my desk. I’ve been meaning to reinvent this wheel, likely with interfacing, but I’ve been in avoidance mode. So. THANK YOU!

  17. Kim 05.25.2013 at 9:04 am #

    Thank you soooo much for this tutorial! I have magnetic snaps in my sewing box, have for at least a month now, and have just been to scared to try them out. I’m a visual person so reading through the written instructions on the package just wasn’t cutting it. Now I can actually attempt to use them! <3

  18. Anonymous 05.25.2013 at 11:19 am #

    Can I put the magnetic snaps on a bag I bought from 31, I love the bag but hate that it does not have a way to close it?????

    • Anna 05.30.2013 at 10:00 am #

      Yes! totally possible to do that. You’ll have to get a little creative. Perhaps install the magnetic snap onto small squares of fabric (iron under the raw edges) and sew those onto the bag. or you could try a sew in version of a magnetic snap – you can find them on etsy. :)

    • QuinnBen 04.07.2014 at 7:37 pm #

      Thank you for this! I have been wondering the same thing about a Retro Metro bag I just purchased from 31! I want to add a magnetic snap, but didn’t want have to cut into the fabric if I didn’t have to. I’ll try the sew-in magnetic snap!

  19. Janine Zeller 05.25.2013 at 12:23 pm #

    Thank you for the clear and concise tutorial, it just calms me down as I read it and take in your great photos. Ahhh… : )

  20. Carrie Siegfried 05.26.2013 at 1:10 pm #

    This is great! I’ve installed these before, but they always seem to eat through the fabric after a short period of use. Using the extra interfacing seems like a great idea. I’ve been hesitant to use these again, but now with your idea I think I will try to use them again. Thanks for posting this!

  21. Truly Myrtle 05.29.2013 at 5:56 am #

    I love little snaps like this – I like the idea of the extra interfacing over the top … clever.
    Can’t wait to make your bag … be on the lookout in a couple of months … :)

  22. sewbeckyjo 05.30.2013 at 11:52 am #

    This isn’t going to be earth shattering or new but:

    I love your bag work so hard.

    Yeah. So hard. I find myself crushing on every new version.

    So…there’s that.

  23. Mom2mykids 06.06.2013 at 11:49 pm #

    Thanks for this tutorial! I bought a Super Tote pattern the other day, and all the materials, and then I started wondering how to do that snap. Glad I started catching up on emails because there it was! Woot! Now to work on that bag!!

  24. Sheila Gwilliam 06.26.2013 at 6:28 am #

    Thanks I watched a tutoriol on U Tube yesterday and it all looked easy so inserted my first ever magnetic in a little bag I had decided to make and then discovered that I had it on the outside instead of inside. Have now read through your tutorial and he presto I think I can manage it and will give it another go many thanks for your simple and easy to follow instructions

  25. Anonymous 11.14.2013 at 12:34 pm #

    What if the bag is ready made? It’s just that the magnet snaps on the bag fell off..

  26. zillyjas 12.13.2013 at 9:13 pm #

    Thanks this was simple and clear to follow!

  27. Norma Smith 05.11.2014 at 10:11 pm #

    Got a question for you–do you know who would have the best pricing on invisible sew-in neodymium magnetic –I will be sewing it between 2 pieces of leather

    • Anna 06.27.2014 at 6:37 pm #

      Sorry I just spotted your question! I’m not sure where you’d find that, maybe Tandy Leather Factory?

  28. Anonymous 06.23.2014 at 4:11 pm #

    Thank you for an excellent tutorial. I am in the process of making the Super Tote and got stuck at the magnet step. I noticed that in the last picture of the tutorial, there appears to be 2 stitching lines below the pocket snap, but I only see one line on the outside pocket fnished bag photo. Did you stitch the exterior pocket to the lining to prevent the lining of the pocket from separating from the exterior pocket? I was wondering if the snap attached to the lining would pull away from the exterior pocket with use. What is your experience?
    Also, would you consider doing a tutorial on the sew-in flat magnetic closures in the future? Thank you!

    • Anna 06.27.2014 at 6:35 pm #

      Yep, it’s a stitching line that normally would normally catch the ‘pocket facing piece’. I added it below the magnetic snap on my fully lined totes as well, just felt like it would be extra secure for the snap. I think if you add it, you’ll definitely appreciate having it. Just use a water soluble pen/or whatever marking tool that disappears, and mark a line on the front of the pocket to get a nice straight line. :)
      Hope that helps!


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