How To Make A Snap Clamp (In 7 Easy Steps)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Every homeowner who has a penchant for DIY projects needs to be able to have the right tools at hand. Some of them, like a good saw, a hammer, or nails, can only be bought in a hardware store. Others, like snap claps, can be made at home if you’re crafty enough. A DIY tool is an affordable tool. If your project requires the use of snap clamps on piping, you can save some money by making your own.

Creating your own snap clamps is actually a relatively simple process. You will need a PVC pipe, and then you are going to have to cut a portion of the pipe’s exterior to make a “C” shape. Then, just add some fabric to the edges of the new clamp and snap it over the pipe that it’s affixing the fabric to.

Knowing how to make a snap clamp is an excellent move if you want to make your own greenhouse or if you want to do your own plumbing. This guide will give you the details on everything that you need to know about these simple but useful tools.

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What Is A Snap Clamp?

Snap clamps are small tools that are used to attach netting, fabric, or similarly thin materials to pipes. They are most commonly used in building greenhouses, hydroponic gardens, as well as in plumbing endeavors. You can buy them at Home Depot, or you can make your own out of extra PVC piping.

What Do You Need To Make Your Own Snap Clamp?

Before you can start cutting away PVC pipe, you’re going to need some supplies. Here’s what you’re going to have to pick up at the hardware store:

  • PVC Piping. This has to have the same diameter as the pipe you want to affix the clamp to.
  • A White Marker. This will be used to mark measurements.
  • A Tape Measure. You’re going to need to measure things, aren’t you?
  • A Rotary Cutting Tool. It doesn’t have to be anything special, but it should be something that’s relatively easy to handle.
  • Vice Grips. This will keep your pipe in place while you cut it.
  • A Sanding Block. Rough grit is excellent here; however, if you just have some fine sandpaper lying around from a one-time project, you may be able to use that too.
  • Goggles. You should always protect your eyes!

Is Making Your Own Snap Clamps Always Cheaper?

Whether making your own snap clamp is cheaper really depends on several different factors. If you are currently building something out from scratch and have extra PVC piping laying around, then making your own snap clamps is going to be the cheaper route by default. On the other hand, if you’re just adding a net onto a long-existing piece of piping and you don’t have extra pipe nearby, then going to the hardware store makes more sense.

Of course, if you tend to do a lot of stuff that involves snap clamps, it also could be a good idea to take time out of your week to make a large batch of them so you won’t have to worry about extra bills later on. So, it’s a good idea to look at the whole picture to figure out your best budgeting move.

How Much Should This Cost?

If you have a saw, goggles, a marker, and grips, then this project should not cost much at all. In these cases, the only thing you will really need to buy is the PVC pipe that you’re going to turn into a set of snap clamps. This is why making your own clamps is considered to be a “basically free” type of project. However, if you are brand new to DIY projects, then you might have to incur some additional costs to boost your garage.

There may be some materials or tools that you need that you don’t have on hand. But just know that these costs will pay for themselves in the long run as you’ll need these tools for other projects. The investment will be worth your while.

What If My Projects Needs Metal Snap Clamps?

Though rare, there are moments where you may need metal snap clamps for a specific purpose or project. If this is the case, then you will need to buy your own at a store. Though you could risk using PVC plastic, we don’t suggest it simply because it may backfire and cause the project to fail.

This is most commonly associated with projects that work with high-temperature piping, such as clamps that may need to be affixed to a hot water tank. Though PVC does have a somewhat high melting point, it still has its limits. Using PVC piping when you need metal on a high-heat project can cause melting, which in turn will cause the project to fail.

How To Make Your Own Snap Clamps

Now that you have all the supplies you need, it’s time to get to work. Don’t worry; this is a super easy project that almost anyone can do!

  • Measure the diameter of the pipe that you want to affix the clamp to. Write down this number, then multiply it by 2/3.  Write that number down as a future reference.
  • Measure the PVC piping and start marking it up. Using the white marker, make a small notch on the exterior of the pipe. Mark that very same point across the pipe. Then, measure out where 2/3 of the diameter is from that point. Mark that same point across on the other side, too. Draw a line connecting the two beginning points and another line that connects the two end points.
  • Put on your goggles. You’re going to start cutting soon, so you need to make sure you’re protected. PVC may not seem dangerous, but it only takes one errant chip to fly towards your eye to get you blinded.
  • Use vice grips to hold the PVC pipe steady. Make sure that you have a way to access both lines drawn on the pipe when you’re placing the pipe in the vice. Make sure that the vice isn’t gripping the pipe to the point of damaging the PVC, as this may cause some weaker pipes to snap upon
  • Using a rotary cutter, cut down both lines. Once you’re done, the PVC pipe should have a “C” shape.  If you are making multiple smaller clamps, cut the PVC piping down to the widths you want them to be. Once you’re done cutting, remove the future snap clamp from the vices and tidy up your workplace.
  • Grab your sanding paper or sanding block and sand down the edges of the clamp. They don’t have to be completely smooth, but it’s good to have a somewhat smooth snap clap. After all, you don’t want to have your fabric or netting snag on the clamp!
  • Place the fabric that you want to clip to your piping in the new clamp, and snap it onto your piping. Just like that, you have a new snap clamp that is working to make your project just a little cheaper!

Is Making Your Own Snap Clamps Better Than Buying Some?

Creating your own snap clamps is a great idea! However, is it as good as buying them from stores? The answer to that question is no a one size fits all. If you truly take the time to follow the steps to create snap clamps, yes, they can work as good, if not better than the ones you can get from stores. However, if you don’t have the right materials, or you rush the steps, then they aren’t going to be as efficient.

Benefits Of Creating Your Own Snap Clamps

Aside from the apparent gain of DIY project experience, there are several other benefits of creating your own snap clamps instead of buying them. These benefits include:

  • Budget-friendly
  • You can custom fit them for your needs
  • Gives you more experience using tools if you’re new to the DIY world

By creating your own snap clamps, you no longer need to guesstimate or risk purchasing the wrong size of clamp. You can measure the area where you want to put the clamp and create one that’s the right size. Additionally, creating your own keeps the costs down.

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Our Final Take

Snap clamps are one of those tools that come in handy with a select number of projects—particularly those that have to do with plumbing or PVC furnishings. They also can be pricey at the store, which is why it’s a good idea to make your own if you can. Thankfully, it’s an easy project that can be done in under half an hour in most cases.

As long as you have a measuring tape, a vice grip, a rotary saw, and a little sanding paper, you should be able to make your own snap clamps with ease. Once you’ve made enough for your current project, we strongly suggest making a couple of extra just in case. After all, they’re remarkably useful and are reasonably easy to store.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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