How to Install Rivets: A Step-by-Step Guide

How To Install Rivets

Rivets are essential fasteners used to join two or more pieces of material together. They are commonly used in metalworking, woodworking, and automotive industries, among others. Installing rivets can seem daunting, but with the right tools and technique, it is a straightforward process. In this article, we will guide you through the steps on how to install rivets.

Gather Materials

Using a rivet gun is an essential tool for installing rivets
Using a rivet gun is an essential tool for installing rivets

Before installing rivets, you need to gather several tools and materials. These include:


Rivets come in different sizes and types, depending on the application. Common types of rivets include solid rivets, blind rivets, and pop rivets. Make sure you choose the correct size and type of rivet for your project.

Rivet gun

A rivet gun is a tool used to install rivets. It comes in different sizes and shapes, with the most common being the hand-held rivet gun. Choose a rivet gun that is compatible with the size and type of rivet you are using.


You will need a drill to create a hole through the material you are joining. Make sure you choose the right drill bit size for the rivet you are using.

Marking tool

A marking tool is used to mark the location where the rivet will be installed. You can use a pencil, marker, or scribe.

Safety equipment

Installing rivets can be dangerous, so make sure to wear safety glasses and gloves to protect yourself from flying debris.

Prepare Work Area

Before installing rivets, you need to prepare your work area. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose a flat and stable work surface. Avoid working on an uneven or unstable surface.
  2. Clear the work area of any clutter or debris that could interfere with your work.
  3. Secure the material you are joining to the work surface, using clamps or a vice.
  4. Make sure there is enough space to move around and work comfortably.

Prepare Work Area (continued)

  1. Ensure that your tools and materials are within reach.
  2. Double-check that your safety equipment is on and in good condition.
  3. If you are working with metal, use a deburring tool to remove any sharp edges around the hole you drilled. This will prevent the rivet from getting damaged during installation.

Installing the Rivets

Now that you have gathered your materials and set up your work area, it’s time to install the rivets. Follow these simple steps:

Marking the location for the rivet

  1. Use a marking tool to indicate the location where the rivet will be installed.
  2. Use a ruler or measuring tape to ensure that the marking is in the correct position.

Drilling the hole

  1. Choose the appropriate drill bit size for the rivet you are using.
  2. Insert the drill bit into the drill and secure it.
  3. Drill a hole through both materials at the marked location.
  4. Be careful not to drill too deep, as this could damage the material.

Inserting the rivet

  1. Insert the rivet into the rivet gun.
  2. Place the rivet into the drilled hole.
  3. Hold the rivet gun perpendicular to the material.
  4. Squeeze the rivet gun’s handle until the mandrel (the center part of the rivet) breaks off.
  5. Repeat the above steps for each rivet.

Setting the rivet

  1. Inspect the rivet to ensure that it is securely fastened.
  2. Use a rivet setting tool to finish the installation process.
  3. Place the setting tool over the rivet’s head and strike it with a hammer.
  4. This will deform the end of the rivet, creating a tight seal between the two materials.
  5. Repeat the above steps for each rivet.

Congratulations! You have successfully installed rivets. Make sure to clean up your work area and dispose of any waste materials properly. Remember to use caution when working with tools and always wear safety equipment.

Finishing Touches

After installing the rivets, there are a few finishing touches to ensure a neat and clean job:

  1. Trim the rivet stem: Using a pair of pliers, trim the excess stem of the rivet as close to the material as possible.
  2. File the rough edges: Using a metal file, smooth out any rough edges left by the rivet installation.
  3. Clean up the work area: Remove any debris or metal shavings left behind by the installation process.


In conclusion, installing rivets is a simple task that requires the right tools and technique. Following these steps will ensure that your installation is secure and neat. Remember to gather all the necessary materials, prepare your work area, mark the location for the rivet, drill the hole, insert and set the rivet, and finish the job by trimming and filing the rough edges. By following these steps, you can complete your project with confidence and ensure that your installation will last for years to come. Always remember to prioritize safety when working with tools and equipment.