Choosing the Right Grommet

grommet assortment

Why Choose Grommets?

The small but mighty grommet is a piece of hardware used to reinforce holes in fabric. Grommets are paired with coinciding washers that engage with each other on either side of the fabric (sold in sets through Trivantage®).

While there is a lot out there to choose from, certain manufacturers make stable metal grommets specially built for heavy-duty uses. There are several types of grommets and washers, depending on application and size demands. They can be used in tents and tarps, industrial covers, boat covers and other marine uses, custom awnings, shade sails, vinyl banners and flags, grommet curtains, drapery, outdoor upholstery, and more.

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Common Grommet Questions

See below for answers to some common questions about grommets.

  • What Do Grommets Do?

      Grommets are rings used to protect holes in thin materials like fabrics, sheet metal, and carbon fiber. Grommets or eyelets are used so that wires, rope, or cords can be put through your material without tearing through or misshaping the hole. Grommets are necessary when hole reinforcement is needed to prevent fraying. You can find grommets made out of a variety of materials and in many different sizes with varying hole diameters.

  • What's the Difference Between a Grommet and an Eyelet?

      Grommets are used with a washer and are typically used in heavy-duty applications, such as marine, awning, and banner use. Eyelets don't require a washer and are used for lighter applications, such as clothing and shoelaces. Sometimes small grommets are referred to as eyelets, which can be confusing.

  • What Types of Projects Use Grommets?

      Grommets have a wide range of applications for residential, commercial, and industrial use. You can typically find grommets on everything from lacing bands, shoes, curtains, and tarps to covers for boats and vehicles. How you use grommets will depend on the project.

  • How Do I Install Grommets?

      The basic process for attaching grommets to canvas is very simple. You can easily install multiple grommets within a few minutes with a hammer, measuring tape, grommet, washer, fabric, and a hole punch.

      To install grommets, you'll first measure where you would like the center of your grommet to be on your fabric. This way, you can space the grommets when making curtains and other canvas products. Mark the center with a pencil. Center the hole punch on the pencil marking and create the hole. Insert the tall part of your grommet to the underside of the fabric. Place the washer on the top side of the fabric. Pound using the hammer to fasten the washer, fabric, and grommet together.

      When installed correctly, high-quality grommets should last in the fabric for years.

  • How Do I Remove Grommets?

      To remove a grommet, you'll need a dead blow hammer and a flat head screwdriver. Placing the screwdriver at an angle on top of the beveled edge of the grommet, use the dead blow hammer to hit the end of the screwdriver and crimp the edge inward (toward the hole and away from the surrounding washer). Repeat around the edge of the grommet until you are able to pull the washer loose. You should then be able to remove the grommet from the hole on the bottom side of the fabric.

  • What's the best sign and banner fabric for reinforcing grommets?

      Dickson® Jet 550 is specially designed and coated to work well with grommets.

  • What grommets work with the FASNAP® PM5 machine?

  • What are the different benefits of metal grommets, rubber grommets, and plastic grommets?

Grommet Die Cross-Reference Chart

Click on each style/type of grommet below to find the Trivantage grommet item number and corresponding die item number.

Grommet Types

  • Plain grommets
  • Rolled rim grommets
  • Self-piercing grommets

Washer Types

  • Plain washers
  • Tooth washers
  • Spur washers
  • Neck washers

Grommet Size Chart

Grommets and washers are assigned a standard sizing number from #00 to #4. Keep in mind, though, sizing is slightly different between plain/tooth and spur grommets/washers. Take care in selecting the properly sized tools for the types of grommet and washers you’re installing. What size grommet you need will depend on the project.

For example, a #0 Spur Washer has an approximate inner diameter (ID) of 5/16”, therefore, will pair with a #1 Hole Punch or Cutter (not a #0, which makes a 1/4” hole)

See grommet size chart below for corresponding sizes (in inches).


Materials Grommets Come In

You’ll find grommets and washers in a few different materials, each containing its own benefits. The following are four of the most common choices.

  • Brass is a durable, moderately priced material that resists corrosion and can withstand high temperatures. Brass grommets are popular because they can live in just about any environment. Because the material is malleable, it’s easy to work with. Brass grommets with plain washers are a good standard choice.
  • Stainless steel is less malleable than brass but very strong, making it best for use in self-piercing grommets.
  • Aluminum is lightweight but durable and corrosion resistant. Since it’s not as strong as brass or steel, it’s generally used for lighter uses.
  • Nickel and black plated options offer different finishes with added abrasion resistance.

How to Use a Grommet Tool

grommet tools

There are several tools you can use to install a grommet. Using the right grommet tools help make the installation process go much smoother. We recommend pairing the following tools with your preferred grommet style and a distinct fabric for a professional result.

What is the best grommet tool? That will depend on your project. Below we'll describe the differences between the tools and explain how to use a grommet press and other grommet tools. You can apply the grommets by hand or with a grommet press tool.

  • Osborne Multi-Duty Hand Press

    This press uses dies and a lever to set grommets and fasteners. It is mounted to a bench.

  • DOT Snapmaster® Hand Press

    The M-380E press easily mounts to a wooden table or bench and is used to install a range of fasteners. It features an ergonomic handle and an adjustable lower die holder for greater flexibility and creativity.

  • Dead Blow Hammers and Rawhide Mallets

    Dead blow hammers and rawhide mallets are used in conjunction with grommet dies when installing by hand. The soft face minimizes impressions while delivering a powerful blow.

  • Urethane Cutting Pads

    Use a urethane cutting pad to protect your work bench or surface beneath the fabric.

  • Hole Cutters

    Use these cutters with a dead blow hammer or mallet to cut holes prior to installing your grommets.

  • Setting Dies

    Setting dies work with a hammer or a grommet press tool. The grommet fits in the die and is attached to the fabric once hammered or pressed into place.

  • Pres-N-Snap® Setting Tool

    The Pres-N-Snap tool works with different dies to install fasteners and grommets (works with #1 plain grommets only). It can be used as a hand tool, by simply squeezing the handles to press the grommets in place. It can also be mounted to a bench to reduce hand strain. See it in action here.

  • Home Grommet Kits

    Grommet kits are a convenient way to gather the necessary tools for small, home-based grommet projects. Each kit comes with a grommet die, cutting punch, grommets and washers, a cutting board, and instructions.


The purpose of this guide is to give fabricators some general guidelines and product information. Read all our Product Guides.

This guide should not be considered as the sole source of information on grommets. This guide is strictly informational.

Please reach out to your local customer care team for more guidance.

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