Bag Making Tutorial: How to Install Magnetic Snaps

Magnetic snaps add a hidden closure to a handmade bag or accessory, enabling you to achieve a professional finish. It’s really important to accurately mark the position to attach them, to avoid them being off-centre and not meeting properly. They are attached to interfaced fabric pieces before you construct the finished project as they don’t have a finished back – the back parts will then be hidden between the main and lining layers of the project.

If you’re using a magnetic snap for the main closure of a bag, you need to attach the parts to the front and back lining pieces of your project; these will be either the main body lining or the interior top panels. If you're using them to secure a flap or tab closure, you need to attach the non-magnetic part of the snap to lining side of the tab/flap and the magnetic half of the snap to the outer front of the bag/accessory.

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Once you’ve added any required fusible or sew-in interfacing, to the wrong side of the fabric, use a ruler to measure how far down from the top edge you want the snap to be and then find and mark the centre point, across  the width of the fabric. Mark this point with a small dot (fabric marker, chalk or pencil). Place the snap back-plate (washer) onto the right side of fabric, with the centre hole at the marked dot. Mark through the two slits.

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Adhere a square or circle of fusible interfacing or fusible fleece, to the wrong side of the fabric, at the snap position. This is required for reinforcing the position of the snap, making the area strong enough to support the snap and the constant handling it will get.

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Cut the marked slits, through all the layers, using seam ripper or sharp pair of scissors.

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Insert the snap prongs through the slits, from right side to wrong side.

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Add the back-plate and press it down firmly as you fold the metal tabs over toward the outer edges.

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Repeat the above process to attach the other half of the snap to the opposite bag section.

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(above) The female half of the snap which is the magnetic side of the snap.

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(above) The male half of the snap which is the non-magnetic side of the snap.

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Once the snap parts are attached to the fabric pieces, you can carry on with the main construction, as per the pattern you're using.