Plastic rivets are atypical of most manufacturing processes, but they are important for more affordable riveting and can be very capable fasteners. The color of plastic rivets can be important, especially if the rivets will be visible on the object being riveted. There are many different head types for these rivets, and each has its own advantages. Plastic usually cannot take the same amount of force as metal rivets, so many of these rivets can be pushed in by hand, and there are many push styles. Size also is important for these rivets, because they have to be exactly the same size as the hole in which they are placed.
Plastic rivets frequently will be hidden away and unseen on a project, but there are instances in which the rivets will be visible. If the rivets are visible, then getting a color to match the item may be important, especially if these are for a consumer item. Plastic can take dyes better than metals can, so you should be able to get a color that matches the item, if color coordination is necessary. Paint also can be used to color the rivets, because it may stick to plastic better than it does to metal.
As with metal rivets, plastic rivets have many head styles. Larger heads generally are best for keeping the item secure, while smaller heads are better for being inconspicuous and building wind resistance. The plastic heads tend to be smaller than metal rivet heads, in general, especially in the domed variety, but there are large heads available if you need them.
When metal rivets are installed, the operator normally uses an air gun to push them into place. Plastic typically cannot take this much force, so most plastic rivets are installed without an air gun; instead, they normally are installed by manually pushing or screwing them into the surface. Many installation methods — such as ribbed, drives, snap-in and mounting buttons — are available, and you should choose a style that is easy to install and offers enough fastening strength.
Before installing plastic rivets, you typically will need to make a hole in the item. These rivets should fit snugly in the hole without being able to move around, or they may not hold for very long. The plastic rivets also should be long enough to go through the entire item without having much excess space to ensure the rivets are properly adhered.