Monday, February 14, 2011

Product Review: KAMsnaps Pliers and Plastic Snaps

I feel this is an appropriate topic for Valentine’s Day… my love for this tool may be young, but it is true!

First, an admission: I have always wanted a snap press. A big, heavy, tabletop snap press. Why? I don’t really know. I’m a toolaholic, no doubt. Ever since I bought a bundle of Mother-Ease cloth diapers for my first kid, I have heard the quiet siren song of durable, washable, resin snaps… what can’t they be used for? So many possibilities… but the press was so expensive… it was my little pet crafty pipe dream.

Second, a confession: Several years ago, I purchased a set of Dritz pliers for metal snaps and eyelets. These seemed to be the only available middle ground between no snaps and the snaps I really wanted. If you’ve ever read a review of them, you know they are garbage (they rank 2 stars out of 5 after 50 reviews at Honestly… rather than helping you complete a project, they more often ruined the work you’d already done. They first require a hole to be punched through which you try to mate the snap cap to the business side of each snap, and disaster ensues. If all 6 prongs of the metal cap don’t align perfectly (a likely scenario), your snap looks crummy and won’t actually snap. So you have to rip it out by violence, throw it away and try again with a new snap. And then again. If you use this “tool” (labor-saving device? I beg to differ), prepare to be frustrated. And did I mention that the snaps themselves are prohibitively expensive? On average, maybe $5 for about 12 metal snap sets, not including shipping… a fact especially chapping when you need to try at least 3 sets to get one that works. FAIL!

But last week, for some unknown reason, my subconscious prodded me to look again. I wandered into several glowing reviews of KAM Snaps pliers, and I knew I was going to have to do a little more research. I found that California-based had a great selection of resin snaps (maybe close to 100 colors and styles, with various cap sizes and prong lengths), had discounted plier sets and offered free shipping with a minimum purchase of $28. Beautiful. My impulse control was immediately gone, but that wasn’t a big deal because a very good starter set including pliers, awl, and 400 complete snap sets was only $34.95. Sold! 100 complete snap sets in regular sizes, with a full spectrum of colors to choose from in matte or glossy finish, cost only $5.00.

It arrived in 2 days! Amazing, but true… um, I think I will keep using!! When I opened the package, I’m pretty sure I could hear the angel choirs. I might have been imagining that bit, but the pliers and snaps were surely Heaven-sent for the good of mankind. I ripped open the bag, pulled out some snap parts, and within 2 minutes had managed to make my first perfect working snap on the Tyvek mailer in which the tool was packaged. Open *click*. Closed *click*. Open *click*. Closed *click*. Awed silence…


The snaps work their magic with a one prong method. You take the awl, poke a hole where you want the snap to go, then stick the cap prong through and top with a stud or socket, depending on which side of the snap you’re applying. Then you seat the cap into the die part of the pliers (you swap this out with the included screwdriver depending on the size of snap you’re using) and press down hard. The pliers flatten the prong into a disc so that there is no way it can fit back through the stud/socket hole, and your snap is perfectly secure and done! If something should go awry in this process (though it hasn’t happened to me yet), you only have a pinhole in your fabric, and you could easily redo it without damaging your project in the process. It sounds more complicated than it is… if you’ve ever tried other snap pliers, this set is intuitive and works perfectly. If you need a little visual help, they have excellent photo and video tutorials here. They were everything I had hoped they would be, and even easier.

I have since completed several projects with the pliers and snaps, including some stuffed animal pajamas (for practice) and some newborn kimono tops for Baby #4 (I hope to post a pattern/tutorial for this soon). Today I am planning to make a couple adjustable chinstrap hats and some more baby layette items to experiment with the possibilities of snaps. Probably also a diaper clutch and pacifier clips. And maybe I’ll convert a regular bra to a nursing bra. Or put snaps on some mittens we already have around so they can snap together and not get lost between wearings… I want to snap everything!!!!


I really have nothing bad to say! I’m thrilled at the quality and performance of the snaps, and the pliers function just as they indicate and, with all metal construction (and replaceable cap dies), they should last forever. Unlike the Dritz pliers which I will now run over with my minivan, burn, then fling into the ocean while tears of joy run down my cheeks. That, or I’ll just toss them out like the garbage that they are, and move on without remorse. My creative life has taken a turn for the better, and there’s no reason to dwell on the painful past.

KAMsnaps? Oh yes! A+++


Claire said...

You are so talented, I'm in awe. I do not sew but since I started reading your blog, I have decided to take a sewing class for beginners, so thank you.

Karen said...

That's great!!! You should also check out my very talented friend Jodi's blog... She's just wonderful and very educational for beginners :)

Andrea said...

Love the kimono top! So cute! said...

Thank you for the rave review of our pliers and for the chuckles I got reading your post. I'm glad you are enjoying your new toy!

- Judy @

Karen said...

Fabulous :) I made second order of a variety of colored snap sets and they arrived yesterday. I'm so pleased!

Jessica Blankenship said...

I'm your newest follower. Love the little jumpsuit, so adorable. You've got some skills. I sew, but nothing too complex.. I have actually reviewed KAMsnaps also. I would love a follow back.

Anonymous said...

Do they have a phone number? Couldn't find one?

Anonymous said...

I noticed your review was for the hand held kam snap pliers, used for the kam plastic snaps. However in your picture, the kimona top shows metal snaps...kind of confused. Did you use the hand held pliers and plastic snaps? I just used the hand held Kam pliers w/plastic snaps and am questioning the durability.

Sew For The Soul said...

Really helpful review. Thank you.