Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Diaper Conversion - DIY

You may remember from previous posts that we use cloth diapers. I've absolutely loved them, but as time wears on and parts wear out, some age better than others, namely, our snap fastened dipes hold together much much better than our aplix (a generic term for "velcro") fastened ones. Some of our velcro fasteners are aging and not sticking to each other as well, and this seems to pair really poorly with our genital-fascinated toddler, who found the aging velcro pretty easy to remove for some good old fashioned nudity. Now this is all fine and good sometimes, but other times, I want that diaper to stay ON! Not wanting the money we spent on the diapers to go to waste, I set out to find an inexpensive and easy way to make them stick better. I settled on our favorite: snaps! I looked at all the snap diapers we own, what I like best about them and how they're put together, and got a good idea for how I wanted to proceed. Observations will build a foundation for success, so spend a lot of time looking! Next, I got some coupons, bought my snap press and some size 20 snaps, and got to work. Here's the step by step:

DIY: Convert Aplix Diapers/Covers to Snaps

  •  Diaper or cover to be converted
  •  Size 20 Plastic Snaps 
  •  Snap Press
  •  Sharp Awl
  •  Seam Ripper
  •  Marker or Dressmaker's Pen(cil)
  •  Ruler
1. Use the seam ripper to gently remove the old aplix and the leftover threads from it's application, it should not affect the structure of the diaper. Be careful not to rip into the waterproofing layer (PUL) below the aplix, you don't want a new leak because of a mistake!

2. Measure your diaper tabs and the front where you want them to adhere. Figure out a good ratio of space apart for your snaps. I picked 2cm apart, based on the size of my tabs, the narrowest part I'd be working with. Decide how many sizes you want, and space them appropriately, familiarity with multi-size snap diapers will come in handy here. I wanted this diaper to work for newborn sizes too, so I added some female snaps to one tab as well, you'll see in the finished photos.

3.Mark carefully and measure each time you mark. remember that your snaps are bigger than the dots marking them, so space accordingly. Take your time on this part, it'll pay off in the end.

4.Use the sharp awl to poke a hole at each mark. Go all the way to the end of the awl and back through, creating a spot for the snap backing (the tack-looking part) to rest securely in the fabric.

5. Press a snap backing all the way through from the "wrong" side of the fabric, relative to the business end of the snap. For female snaps, the backing goes on the inside of the diaper, for male snaps, it goes on the outside. Double check before pressing!

6. Place the proper male or female snap plate onto the backing post, like the back of an earring.

7. Carefully place the "snap sandwich" with the fabric in the middle into the cup of the press machine, with the post sticking up and the whole thing centered well. Press down firmly, but you don't need to powerhouse it, it's made to do this! You can see in the photos to the left what a male snap looks like before and after pressing side by side on the diaper tap.

8. Continue to press the snaps. You may want to start with the male snaps first and leave all the female snaps for the end, as you'll probably be using less male snaps. You don't want to get them confused! Just be sure to work slowly and check your work as you go.

That's it! That's the whole thing! There are variations, of course, depending on the type of diaper you're converting and how much you want to do with it. You could use the seam ripper to open the layers of a cover if it has layers, and "hide" the snap backs inside, stitching it up when you're done. If the place you want to put snaps is only one layer of fabric thick, I recommend adding a second layer of fabric to reinforce the snaps as they pull, you don't want a stress hole in the diaper! As you can see in the final three pictures, I chose 8 size points, for a total of 16 female snaps and 4 male snaps. The next to last photo is the finished product sized for a toddler and the final photo is sized for a newborn. I hope the post is of some use to you! I plan to get a lot more life out of these diapers!


  1. Can I hire you to fix some of my broken snaps (or borrow your snap machine)?

    1. Yes to either! I'm considering hiring out for diaper repair as I'm currently and recently unemployed, though I am happy to loan out the press as well! :)