**This tutorial is an old one of mine that’s too good not to share again. Since posting the first time, I’ve had lots of questions about these buttons which will hopefully be answered in this revised post.**
Some handy notes:
1. The buttons. The buttons are cut from shrink paper. The brand of shrink paper I used was called Shrinkles which I got from the UK. But I’ve also used Shrinky Dinks which is available in the US, and they’re identical as far as I can tell (make sure you use frosted, not clear! Clear works, but it won’t look like the buttons on this post.) To cut the button shape, I use a Fiskars Squeeze Circle punch – size large. To get the centre holes, I used a standard single hole, hole punch (like this one here). To keep each button the same. Punch a large circle out on some paper, fold it in half, punch a smaller hole in the place where the diagram (left) shows. Unfold it, and use it a template to get the sewing holes in exactly the same place every time. 2.
2. The Pens. If you’re going to do this right.. use ZIG Millennium Pens, I really mean it! I spent a lot of money buying different permanent ink pens to experiment with, and ZIG pens were the best. Using this brand means you can wash your buttons and the ink won’t run or fade, whereas all of the other brands I used did (most of the time, the ink didn’t run completely off, but faded a lot!). If you’re going to try and use what you have at home make sure you test it before sewing it to your favourite white cardie! 3.
3. The Template. You can download the template shown in the second photo with room to draw your own here. (This template fits the Fiskars Squeeze Circle punch – size large. You can use scissors, but you will notice the imperfections if you want the circle to be perfect.) Okay.. let’s get started!
Tracing tips: You can use either coloured pencils or permanent pens. At this initial stage, it’s really important to keep the buttons clean from smudges. When you shrink the buttons the colours will intensify. Any smudges (even the ones you can’t see), will become very evident. Words must be written backwards in order to be readable. This is because the text is on the rough underside of the button, and once flipped to face the smooth side, the image will be reversed. An easy way to do this is to write your text on the frosted side of some scrap shrink paper, flip it over, and then trace it as you see it onto your button.
Shrinking the buttons: To shrink the buttons, you can use an oven or a heat gun (the kind used for embellishing). I would recommend using an oven as it’s the easiest way to start. While you’re creating your buttons, pre-heat your oven to 175C (350F). When your buttons are ready, place the button onto some baking paper and then into the oven. Close the door and in seconds you will be able to see the buttons shrink before your eyes!!! (It never gets dull!) After the buttons have twisted and twirled, and are LYING FLAT, it’s time to take them out. Note: If the shrinking is taking too long, you may need to turn your oven up. Here’s a short little stop-motion to make sure you’ve got the gist of how easy this is!
(click the + icons to view prices and links to buy online)
Update: I’ve made a video to show how to shrink the buttons using a craft embellishment heat gun. Check out the video below
For more tips on how to use the heat gun technique, check out my post here.
—-I hope you enjoy making your own custom buttons. If you click on a link to a store I recommend in this post, I may get a very small commission on any sale – just thought you should know