Friday, March 15, 2013

Cloth Diaper Makeover: Velcro to Snaps Tutorial

Before Jadon was born, I wasn't sure if I was ready for cloth diapers. There seemed to be a lot of special rules and extra hassle with cloth diapering: diaper-safe creams for rashes, particular detergents for washing, wet bags for traveling, etc. However, once I compared the price tags for disposable and cloth diapers, I was committed to giving cloth my best shot. I started soon after Jadon was born and soon discovered that cloth diapering is not only easy, but, dare I say... fun?

Simply put, cloth diapering is it's own little world and it's very easy to get sucked in. There are so many brands, businesses, fabrics, forums, diaper systems, and diaper "swaps" to explore. For the newcomer, all the terminology and tricks can be a little overwhelming. I'm glad that I didn't have to make many decisions to get started because one of my cousins, and a friend, gave me their used cloth diapers. Now that I'm accustomed to the cloth diapering world, I have a better idea of what I like and don't like. 

One feature I've come to covet is snaps. All my diaper covers have Velcro fasteners, and they just don't cut it for me. They tend to get tangled in the wash, even using the laundry tabs. In fact, by the time Jadon outgrew the newborn covers from my cousin, the Velcro was completely shot. I intended to replace the Velcro for our next baby (someday!) until I found out that you can convert Velcro diapers to snaps. I was sold on the idea immediately.

To convert your diapers, you first have to get rid of the Velcro. I found that cutting off the end of the Velcro tab off completely made the removal of that piece a lot easier. Simply pulling the tab away from the diaper exposes several strands of thread for snipping. A pair of scissors can do the trick just fine, although a seam ripper can get into little spaces easier.

Cutting off the little laundry tab and the long front strip is a little tricky at first. However, after you manage to snip that first thread, pulling the Velcro away from the diaper makes the rest of the removal go pretty fast.

With all the Velcro removed, you are ready to mark the spots where you want your snaps.

I found a pair of snaps pliers, an awl, and an assortment of colored snaps on Craigslist (score!). The awl is used to poke a hole on your marked spot. The snaps come in three different parts: caps, studs, and sockets. You have to have studs and sockets opposite each other in order for the snaps to fit together. So, after making holes in the part of the diaper that wraps around the baby, you insert a cap piece into the holes. On the other side of the fabric, you place studs over the cap pins.

Next, you center the snap pieces on the pliers and press them together. The pliers will flatten the pin so that the two pieces can't separate.

On the front part of the diaper, you will follow the same procedure, but use socket pieces over the pins. I confess, I got a little ahead of myself on this first diaper. I forgot to switch to sockets for the front. These snaps are really hard to get off. The snap pieces never did come apart; the awl hole just ripped bigger. I had to do a little repair work on my huge hole before putting on the correct combination of pieces.

Once I had the snaps system down, the conversion process was so fast. I decided to use one row of snaps for my smallest newborn diapers, and two rows of snaps for a larger sized cover. I could not be happier with the outcome. I finally have snaps! To bad I have to wait for another baby to use them!

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