wikiHow to Install Grommets

Two Methods:Installing Grommets in FabricInstalling Grommets in Wood or Metal

Grommets can keep sharp sheet metal panels from slicing electrical wires, tubing, and other items passing through or across them. They are also used to reinforce holes made for your bootlaces, or in other fabric. With some proper planning and the appropriate tools, installing grommets is a snap.

Method 1
Installing Grommets in Fabric

  1. 1
    Purchase a grommet kit. Commonly available in outdoors, craft, and home repair stores, grommet kits are available to reinforce holes in fabric, usually in the neighborhood of 5 dollars. The kit will include:
    • Grommets
    • Washers
    • A base to stabilize the grommets as you install
    • A grommet hole punch
    • Some larger kits will include grommet pliers, which are used to pinch the grommets into place[1]
    • Additionally, you'll need a hammer and scissors for the job
  2. 2
    Punch a hole in your fabric. The hole punch included is usually just a small metal cylinder with the correct diameter for the grommet. To punch a hole, you'll hammer the punch into the fabric to start a hole that you can finish with scissors.
    • Flatten your fabric over a stable surface (a spare piece of scrap wood or a workbench is appropriate) and hold the punch in place as you would a nail, where you'd like the grommet and hole to go. Give a few sharp taps with the hammer.
    • If you can't punch straight through with the punch included, make a small X in the hole outline you've created with an X-acto or fabric knife, and cut the inside of the circle out.[2]
    • If you're installing lots of grommets (like in a home made shower curtain or tarp) make sure you go around the edge and measure the distance between the grommets before you go punching holes.
  3. 3
    Insert the grommet with the raised end. A grommet kit should consist of two varieties of pieces that will snap together to create each grommet. Get one of each and compare them. One will have a raised inner edge and will look taller than the other half, and you should insert this end into the bottom of the fabric, facing up.
    • Place the other half of the grommet on top of the raised edge on the other side of the fabric.
  4. 4
    Snap the grommet together. If you've got grommet pliers, all you need to do is ensure that both sides are aligned properly and use the pliers to snap both sides of the grommet together.[3]
    • If your kit came with a base (a small, nipple-shaped metal platform) then you should use the base to stabilize the grommet as you hammer it together. It shouldn't take much more than a single good whack with the hammer.

Method 2
Installing Grommets in Wood or Metal

  1. Image titled Install_grommet_2
    Select the right grommet. Grommets used for this purpose are typically made of rubber or plastic and are used to protect against the sharp edge of a hole in a panel that wires need to pass through. Is it to provide a finished appearance on a desk? Does it need to provide some strain relief (protection against sharp bends) to the object passing through it? Select one that's right for the job.
    • Typically, the holes and grommets are larger for these purposes, which serve to reinforce the edge of the hole and protect the objects (usually wires) that pass through.
  2. 2
    Measure. Measure the object that will pass through the grommet, as well as the diameter of the tube, wire, or bundle that you wish to protect. If you're putting a fitting or connector through the grommet, make sure to take that into account.
    • Measure the hole that the grommet will fill or, if possible, drill or punch correct the hole according to the recommended size for the grommet. Smooth the edge of the hole as much as possible.
  3. Image titled Install_grommet_4
    Push one side of one flange through the opening. Work all the way around the opening, bending the grommet as required. If you have access to the opposite side of the material, it may help to pull the grommet through or simply to hold it in place.
    • A soft object, such as this plastic soldering aid, can assist in pushing the grommet to fit the hole.
      Image titled Install_grommet_6
    • A dab of personal lube (K-Y for example) around the outside and slot of the grommet is very helpful, it's oil free, inert, and dries clear with no residue. Wipe off excess.
  4. Image titled Install_grommet_7
    Install grommet edging. Typically, a small plastic covering will be used to finish the edge. Choose the correct thickness of grommet edging for your edge and push it over the edge you wish to protect. You may have to pull the sides open a little bit with your fingers as you go.
    • Depending on the application, a bit of appropriate adhesive can help to hold the edging in place.
  5. Image titled Install_grommet_3
    Feed the wire or tube through the opening, if you didn't already. When you've installed your grommet, you're ready to feed the wires through the hole, confident that they're protected.


  • Letting a rubber grommet sit in boiling water for a few minute makes them more pliable also. Then you can wrap the open grommet around just the middle of a wire or tube.
  • If the fit is a bit tight, an easy way to install the rubber grommet is to use silicone applied around the outside of the grommet just before pressing it into place. Using a silicone sealant will help keep it in place after the silicone dries too. In a pinch, plain grease or Vaseline will do but they will not dry up. In such a case, Dawn dish liquid will help to remove the residue after the installation is complete.
  • For simple rubber grommets, one option may be to open a slit in the side of the grommet with razor blade, sharp knife, or simply a pair of scissors.
  • You can place the object(s) to be protected through the grommet and through the hole, before installing it, but only if you expect to have any difficulty inserting them afterwards.
  • Grommets with an inner diameter greater than about 1 inch (25mm) can be difficult to find. In these cases, it may be best to use grommet edging.
  • Some grommets are designed to pop in from one side. If you have one of these, simply push it into the hole.
  • There are other solutions for getting wires and other items through openings. Try a web search on any of the following: bushing, strain relief, cable strain relief, Kellem grip.
  • A tool for metal eyelets.
    To install most metal grommets, you'll generally need a suitable tool for them.


  • Be aware that cutting the grommet for installation creates a potential gap for fine wires to pull through and contact the metal hole..
  • A basic grommet may provide some protection against dust and splashes, but if you need an air- or watertight seal, strain relief, or electromagnetic shielding, you may need to use a device that is designed accordingly. Another alternative, depending on your application, may be to install a bulkhead fitting or connector where the tube or cable penetrates the wall.
  • Sharp sheet metal edges can cut you, cables, or tubing. Be careful when working around them. You should always use a half round/flat mill file, deburring tool, emery cloth or something sharp like the back edge of a utility knife to 'break' (scrape off) the rough edges of the hole or the metal sheet. Attach masking tape in a way to catch metal filings if filing around electronics.

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