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I've been trying to put some very small grommets, marked size #000, into t-shirts. Since they're going to be resting directly against skin, they need to not split, since splitting creates sharp edges. Unfortunately, my efforts so far have (almost) all resulted in split grommets.

I've tried a handheld grommet punch that had to be hit with a hammer. Then, after some initial success at the store, was convinced that I just had to buy the smoother-acting grommet spreader that had a big handle you pulled down to mash the grommet into place. Once I got it home, I was back to split grommets. (What was different in the store?)

What should I be doing to stop splitting my grommets? Do I need to be buying grommets made from a different, more ductile material? (And if so, what material would that be?) Is there a different technique for installing the grommets that I'm somehow missing?

  • What are the grommets made of, and what are your other options? A photo might help. :) – Stefan Apr 6 at 1:15
  • Pewter, it says on the label. (Last I heard, "pewter" was a pretty wide class of alloys.) – baudot Apr 8 at 22:42
  • What bit would pictures help with? The grommets, pre-installation? Post-install and splitting? The hammer-grommet-gizmo, the handled-grommet-gizmo? – baudot Apr 8 at 22:49
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    A photo would show where they are splitting. – Stefan Apr 8 at 23:07
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If there is nothing technically wrong with the grommets then there is probably not enough material in their grip when you are attaching them. Thus they over crimp and split.

You could try adding a washer shaped bit of cloth that matches the diameter of the ring of the grommet to add more bulk, or try not squeezing them as hard. Using a washer of extra fabric will help them last longer as there will be less stress on the t-shirt material at the grommet.

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This is not my field, so I won't be much help. But I notice no one has answered.

If it were me, I'd take the spreader and the grommets back to the store, as well as samples of split grommets and the actual material. Get them to do a demo. Or as a plan B ask them who can give you more information.

Pewter is a softish metal, so I would have thought it would stretch before splitting. I wonder if it is tough enough to do the job of cutting through your fabric on its way through? Perhaps try steel, copper or nylon. You might be able to buy a handful of each.

Also self-backing eyelets might be worth considering, these are one piece with 'teeth' to cut through the fabric, and when pushed through, then bend around to seal the other side of the fabric.

Here's a page in the US showing several kinds of grommets and self-backing eyelets.

Grommets and eyelets on the Goldstar site in the US (I'm not promoting them as I live in Australia, but it might be useful reference for you.)

NB I'd be happy to delete this post if it is felt to be unhelpful, (after seeing the answer above)

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