How to Make Your Own Pinback Buttons
Pin-back buttons are tiny, portable pieces of art that you can churn out by the dozen with a button machine. These machines are lever-operated tools fitted with dies to mold and form the buttons. They can be quite pricey though, so consider starting with a plastic, hobbyist model to see how much use you'd get from a button maker before spending hundreds on a metal beauty. Whichever model you use, they commonly feature three dies to mold and finish the buttons that you must load properly with your design and button forms for professional-looking results.
Things You'll Need
- Button machine
- Metal dome shells
- Mylar circles
- Pin backs
Cut out your graphics with scissors. They need to be the same diameter as the button shells. Draw or print your own or use fabric or clippings from magazines or newspapers.
Place a metal dome shell, which forms the base of the button, dome side up into the pickup die. This die is on the right for most button maker machines.
Place the graphic on top of the shell and cover with a sheet of Mylar plastic. Use only one sheet of Mylar or it won't seal properly.
Rotate the pickup die back under the upper die. The handle should be in the full upright position.
Pull the handle down all the way, then push it back up to the upright position. The button will be inside the upper die now.
Place the pin back into the crimp die tray, pin side facing down. Make sure the pin back is horizontal. Rotate the crimp tray under the top die and pull the handle down again.
Rotate the die tray and remove the finished button from the crimp die.
- Use a rotary cutter or a button punch to make it easier to cut out the graphics for your buttons.
- Avoid heavy papers or thick fabric, they may cause the button not to crimp together properly.