Thursday, September 8, 2011

I've Got A New Toy

So I have finally begun to recover from the start of the new school year.  My classes are under control, I am ready to teach 14 year olds how to draw a tube in isometric, I am getting over my beginning of the semester cold, life is good...

There has been a suspicious looking, unattended to package sitting in my studio.  I had been ignoring it, for fear of being consumed by it's contents, but with the long weekend, I knew it was time to break it open...
It was indeed a good thing I waited,  FOR THIS TOY IS ONE I WILL LIKELY NEVER STOP PLAYING WITH!
Here's my new button maker!!!!!!! 

I am happy to report, there is not much info or instruction needed to make your own buttons.  5 minutes after this picture was taken, I became a button makin' fool.  My button maker is for 1 1/4 inch buttons.  It came with 25 count of all the parts needed to make the buttons.  That includes, the pinback back, the clear mylar and a metal piece that is the main structure of the button.  I ordered 250 more of everything and I can tell I am going to definitely go through them soon.  I also ordered the parts for magnets, which means that the pinback part is replaced with a flat disk and a 1 inch  magnet gets glued onto it.

A circle punch is essential!

When buying a button maker, the distributor will also carry circle cutters.  Unless absolutely necessary, don't buy from them!  First purchase your maker, then figure out what size punch you need.  Although I am making buttons that are 1 1/4 inch, the image needs to be bigger, actually 1 5/8 inch.  At the moment I am using a slightly smaller punch that seems to be fine, but I will be ordering a 1 5/8 punch like the one pictured above.  The punches the button maker people are selling are way to big, heavy, cumbersome and expensive.

The dies (the metal tubes) swivel and go under the press.

Loaded up with the parts and image.

Once you have loaded your parts into the dies you swivel the image side 90 degrees until it's aligned with the handle, press down the handle and pull up on the handle an now the layers are all inside the top of the die.  Swivel again until the die with the pinback is aligned with the handle, pull down and back up, and presto, behold your adorable button.

Image and top layers have been pressed, now rotate 180 and press again.  So easy!!


With 1 inch magnets...

For the magnets, the one on the left I used the traditional pin back back, but removed the pin before punching.  The one on the right I used the back I purchased specifically for the magnets.  I don't think either one looks too good, but I think I prefer the left one.  I think the magnet is too small and looks a bit dorky.  I will research and see if I can find a bigger magnet.  The magnets would look good however with the 1 inch buttons.

So I now have button fever.  I am in the process of taking my surface design patterns and sizing them and tweaking them to the right scale for the button maker.  I will be crankin' out buttons for the rest of my life, it's that much fun...The only problem with the button makers as far as I can tell, is that most of them only have one size option, so you have to be really sure when you choose your size.  They are also kinda pricey, roughly $275, but I am hoping it will last a lifetime...

Is it too much with the polka dot background...not possible!


  1. What fun Laurel! Now what are you going to do with them - sell and market your designs, gifts? Joan

  2. This is one of the funnest blog sites I've been to in awhile!
    The otha Laurel

  3. Hi there!
    I just found your introduction on our linked in page and thought i would pop over and say hello. I have enjoyed reading your blog and seeing your work. I write a collaborative blog with my friend Tina and we are both teachers as well. Best of luck with the start of your school year and with that fabulous button machine! SO FUN! Laura

  4. Thanks Laura. I checked out your sites, they are really beautiful! :)