How to Remove Jean Buttons and Rivets

Woman wearing denim jacket
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It's easy enough to remove a typical button from a piece of clothing, but if you're faced with the prospect of removing jean buttons or rivets from denim, you probably have no idea where to start. Instead of a simple sewn-on button, denim typically uses something called a two-part stud button––and instead of simply using a pair of scissors to clip the button off, you're going to have to use a few tools and some elbow grease to get the job done.

Anatomy of a Two-Part Stud Button

These buttons consist of two parts: the button on the front and the stud on the underside. When they are secured to the denim, the two parts are punched together. They're designed to be permanent, lasting for the entire life of the garment. This is why two-part stud buttons are so difficult to remove––they're not meant to be.

The secure attachment leaves a large hole in the fabric once you do remove the button. While you might be able to remove a button attached with thread and leave ​little trace, you will have a more visible hole after removing a stud button from jeans.​

Tools for Removing Stud Buttons From Jeans

Before getting started, take the necessary safety precautions. You're going to be using some force, and when the stud lets go, it can end up anywhere so use eye protection in case the stud flies off in your direction. It's a good idea to do this in a room where there are no children or pets. This is best done as a two-person job, so ask for help if you can get it. Here are three ways to remove rivets and buttons from jeans:

Two Pliers Method

Grab the back portion firmly with one pair of pliers, then grab the button portion with the other pair. Twist one side of the button up to release the front and back from each other.

Screwdriver and Pliers Method

Insert the head of the screwdriver in between the back of the rivet or button. Work it around a little to help loosen it. Now use the pliers on the rivet or button top; twist it up and down to release it from the bottom.

Wire Cutters Method

Some crafters have reported that they use a pair of heavy-duty wire cutters to cut off stud buttons. The method involves working at the inside end of the stud, applying the blade to the post, and cutting it off there.

Repairing the Hole

The hole in the fabric where the stud used to be can present a problem for adding a new stud. You can use matching thread and zigzag back and forth over the resulting hole to close it. If the hole is too large to close well by that method, you might want to reinforce it by sewing a scrap of heavy fabric to the underside.

Once the hole is mended, you are ready to add a new button or stud.