Friday, March 18, 2011

DIY Tutorial: How to Convert a Velcro Diaper to Snaps

This post is for me dear sweet friend Becky… when we first talked of converting diapers, I had no idea!

So you want to convert your Velcro diapers to snaps, do you? Well, let me tell you a story…

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At a Mom2Mom sale in the past couple years, I found 5 gently used all-in-one cloth Kawaii Baby pocket diapers. Beautiful condition! I already have a nice set of Mother-Ease cloth diapers and covers that I loved using when I had only one in diapers, and I intended to cloth diaper again when I was back down to one in diapers (rather than 3). So I bought those 5, with 2 doublers each, for $2 apiece (a total steal, right?). Turns out 2 of the 5 were velcro rather than snaps, like I had thought… I guess I didn’t pay attention. I don’t like velcro in the wash (oh the snags!), and I much prefer snaps for their fundamental inability to inflict skin damage to baby. I figured they were a lost cause but socked them away with my other diapers until it would be time to pull them out again.

Turns out that time was now. I got all my cloth diapers out, stripped them, freshly washed them (with Allens Naturally detergent) and folded them (I like folding diapers, unlike anything else, because they are all the same and just feel nice in your hands). The pocket diapers got the same treatment, but then, I realized that I now have this awesome set of snap pliers from Kamsnaps.com, and I decided I could convert these two measly diapers with no trouble at all. I had the pliers and snaps and a seam ripper to remove the velcro. I plunked down in front of Man vs. Wild and began the conversion…

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First, I ripped out all the velcro on one diaper. That part took 30 minutes! There was a lot of stitching (a testament to how well-made they were, actually), and it was not pleasant work that resulted in a small cut on my finger as well. Then I used one of the snap Kawaii Baby diapers as a template for the snap locations (I just lined them up and poked the awl through where each snap was) and put the correct snap part in place on the previously velcro diaper. It was easy, no denying it, but the snapping part took at least 30 minutes as well since there were 24 snap parts that needed to be placed and applied individually. The converted results were just as functional as the snap diapers, so it was technically a success, but for the time it took I was not enthused about the prospect of converting another one. I stitched the original label back on, just for posterity. The stitching damage from the original velcro is still very much visible, the doublers will not fit into the pocket quite the same, and the plastic snap backs will be touching baby’s skin, unlike the diapers that began their life as snap diapers (though I could sew a fleece panel over them if I cared more). Small concessions, but they do factor in.

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Take home message from this tutorial: Converting your own velcro diapers to snaps is probably not worth it!!!!

If you have a bunch of diapers to convert, consider hiring a company to do it for you. Basic online searching provided a well-reputed small business that converts diapers to snaps for the VERY reasonable price of $3.50-$4 per diaper (when you consider how long it takes and how many snaps are required to convert each one)… http://www.convertmydiapers.com/. The diaper owner must pay shipping both ways, but I don’t see how it would be worth it to convert a whole set of diapers yourself unless you really really want to do it, especially if you have to buy the pliers and snaps especially to do it. But that’s just my tired, lazy, unmotivated, 37 week pregnant opinion on the matter, and I certainly won’t think less of anyone who decides to do it themselves (but I might give them an award for patience and perseverance!)…

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3 comments:

Laura K. Cowan said...

Good to know! Thanks for including the time in your equation, since that really does factor in.

Laura K. Cowan
founder, 29Diapers.com

(and a friend of Becky's) :)

brooke said...

thanks so much for this! I was just diapering my newborn, picked up a velcro diaper, annoyed, put it down in search for one with snaps.... Then I had the idea pop into my head that maybe there is a way to convert them instead of trying to sell them, and ultimately paying down MORE money to get new ones with snaps. Checked out the internet--and came across you post!! Thank you! And especially thank you for the link to the people that do it for you!!! :) I have a sewing business, and do a lot of things myself, but after repairing velcro diapers with velcro, I don't want to undergo another diaper repair for the rest of my life!! :) It is a TON of work! :) I will be sending off about 10-15 of my diapers to them for repair! :)

ms.fangsrud said...

Snap converted diapers shouldn't have the snaps against baby's skin. This makes them uncomfortable as well as less functional (hard to stuff). When converting, only poke through the PUL, not the fleece inner. You have to put the snaps in by putting your hand into the diaper pocket and inserting the "male" snap into the PUL layer from the inside out. You can still use your snap press or pliers through both layers of fabric. Labor intensive but in my opinion totally worth it as Velcro diapers are such a pain to launder and toddlers love to take them off so much!!