It sounds like you essentially made a homemade aglet
I too found that the Elite ring buckles were hard to thread at first, but eventually I came to realize that I wasn't actually pushing down on the lever nearly enough. You have to really push down on the buckle until it is almost ALL THE WAY pushed down to properly clear enough room for the strap to thread through. (The bottom of the lever will actually come through the other side.) It's hard for me to describe.
Either way, your solution is a good one too. When the aglets break off my skate laces, I also simply tape up the ends until I get a wispy end that easily passes through the eyelets.