How to Replace Pearl Caps on Snap Buttons

by Michelle Powell-Smith
Keep your western shirts looking their best with new snaps when needed.

Keep your western shirts looking their best with new snaps when needed.

Pearl snaps are traditional on classic western-style shirts. While these are durable fasteners, you may need to replace them if the snap or pearl cap is damaged. You can also opt to install pearl snaps on a newly sewn shirt or even replace buttons with pearl snaps to give any shirt a western flare. While the classic pearl snaps are off-white in color, retailers offer pearl snaps in a variety of colors, allowing you to customize your snaps to match your shirt.

Remove the pieces of the old or broken snap using a flat head screwdriver or small pry tool. Work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the fabric. Remove both the socket or snap cap and the matching stud for the best results.

Insert the pearl side of the snap into the pliers, following the manufacturer's instructions for your snap pliers. Set the socket ring into the opposite side of the pliers.

Place the fabric or shirt in between the pliers, lining up the snap as desired. Make certain that the pearl side is on the outside of the fabric. Squeeze the pliers slowly, but firmly, to set the snap.

Set the stud, or male side of the snap, in the same manner, being careful to line up the stud and snap cap for a good fit.

Items you will need

  • Shirt or other item with snaps
  • Flat head screwdriver or small pry tool
  • Snap pliers
  • Prong style pearl snaps


  • Snaps like these are not only ideal for western shirts, but also for garments for the elderly or disabled. Snaps are much easier to fasten and unfasten than buttons.


  • Check to make sure the snap is properly and snugly set. If the snap feels loose, reset it in the pliers and squeeze firmly to press it more securely into place.

About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.

Photo Credits

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