Long Eyelets: The Secret to Spinners and Twisters


Long-stemmed eyelets (or alternatively grommets) are the tools I use to make elements that twist and spin on a page. eyelet fastening spinner

Spinners and twisters are elements that you attach to your project at a focal point. They are free to twist and spin around that focal point. You could, for example, create a stationery clock face with movable hands.

The potential is unlimited. Just use your imagination. For keen gardeners you can make spinny flowers and for cyclists you could great a bike. Anyway, you get the idea.

The picture above and to the left is a spinner made of card stock. I included it in an altered book named Motherhood and Saskatoon Pie.

Oh oh! I anticipate confusion around that theme, so I'll explain. Motherhood and Apple Pie is a US expression. I am Canadian, so I changed the phrase to reflect the pies that my mother made every summer using the saskatoon berries that grow wild in Manitoba.

The top crust of the pie moves clockwise or counterclockwise to reveal four sets of textual messages written on the bottom crust of the pie. An eyelet holds the two layers in place, as well as attaching both to a third layer of card stock -- the purple circle that you see in the picture. The purple circle is then glued to the altered book.

How to Make a Spinner or Twister

  • The elements that you want to twist or spin. Your imagination is your only limitation.
  • A long stemmed eyelet or grommet, and setting tools. All are available online at Joann.com. Joann offers free shipping.
  • Glue or adhesive (optional)
  1. Create your elements.
  2. To make a stationary bottom layer and a spinning top layer, glue your bottom layer to the project or bottom layer of cardstock.
  3. To make a stationary top layer and a spinning bottom layer, you will need to make your top layer somewhat larger than the bottom layer. One section of the bottom layer remains uncovered, so the user can spin it manually. After setting the fastener, (see below), you will apply glue around the top layer's outer rim. Avoid gluing your top layer to your bottom layer. The bottom layer must be free to move.
  4. To make both layers movable, do not glue or fasten the layers down with glue.
  5. Fasten your layers to the project with a long stemmed eyelet or grommet. You need the long stem so the spinners can move. However, when setting the eyelet on the back with a hammer, do not pound it down as tightly as you usually would. Allow enough slack so the spinner can move around.

These long-stemmed items can be difficult to come by. I found some at Michaels Arts and Crafts store. You have to look closely. They are not labelled as "long stemmed" so you have to eyeball the item and make your own decision.

Grommets can also be used. Grommets and tools to fasten them are sold in fabric stores.

If You're Unfamiliar with Setting Eyelets

Just in case you are completely bewildered by this discussion, I'll explain it here.

An eyelet is a metallic doo-dad with a hollow stem. They come in various shapes, sizes and colors -- see the little white gadget in the pie spinner above.

If You Want to Go Modern

The Crop-A-Dile Eyelet & Snap Punch is an easy, peasy, silent way to set eyelets.

Here is a video showing how to use the Crop-A-Dile:

Howevever, for those still using the old, noisy variety, this is how to do the setting:


  1. Align the items that you are going to punch through, and decide where you want to place the eyelet hole.

  2. Place your items on the cutting mat or board, facing upwards. Any really hard surface will do, if you do not have a cutting mat. But be cautious. You can damage countertops if you do not use a suitable mat for protection. And, if your cutting surface is too soft, as is the case with wooden cutting boards, you will not get a proper alignment. I find that using a regular cutting mat is convenient and solves a lot of problems.

  3. Use the punch to make a hole in the paper or layers of paper. In the picture, the punch is the tool with a long hole in the middle. Its sharp tip will cut through several layers of paper.

    Place the sharp end of the punch on the paper where you want the hole to be. Hold the punch upright. Tap it on the upper end with a hammer. This makes a hole through the paper. If you have not cut through all layers, tap again until you do.

    Note : An ordinary hole punch will work. However, with hole punches, you are limited to areas near the edge of your paper. With one of these "anywhere" punches, you can make a hole anywhere.

    Note: Eyelet punches are available in different sizes. If your hole is too large,the eyelet will fall through. Punches are available individually. I have two.

  4. When you have made the hole in your paper or fabric, position your eyelet so the stem reaches downward through the hole. Carefully turn the project over, holding the stem in place in the hole. Place the project on the cutting mat. The project's back will be facing upwards. The stem will have emerged through the hole and will be pointing upwards also.

  5. Place the pointed end of the setter inside the upwards-pointing stem. Be sure to hold the setter in a verticle position. If it is slanted, your eyelet will not set correctly. Holding the setter in place vertically, tap the flat end with your hammer. This drives the pointed end downward, forcing the metal to "splay" outwards, forming a protective rim around the hole.

  6. Remove the setter and inspect. If jagged, upright edges are showing on the back, tap them directly with the hammer to flatten. Jagged edges can cut or rip surrounding elements. However, do not pound too hard. You don't want to damage the decorative eyelet on the front.

  7. And that's it. Your eyelet is in place. Incidentally, this is a noisy business. You might have to plan your setting projects for hours when you will not annoy the neighbors!

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Return to Altered Book Home Page when finished with eyelets, spinners and twisters.