Make your own limited edition wedding buttons for your biggest fans

May 19 |

I have some good news and some bad news. Which do you want first? The bad news? Okay. The equipment you need to make buttons costs about $300. Gulp. But the GOOD news is that once you have it, you can make 1” buttons for only pennies each! So affordable! And the designs and uses are limitless. Of course you can use them as wedding favors, but they're great for promoting your band or your business, too. Or if you have a friend who is also getting married perhaps you can share the cost of the button machine.


What you need:

First, design your button and print it onto regular ol' paper. To conserve paper, duplicate your design and fit many copies onto one sheet of paper. I designed a simple red heart and I was able to comfortably fit 16 hearts onto one sheet of paper. You can download my design here.

Next use your rotary cutter. This sucker costs $80. There has got to be a way to make consistent 1.313” circle cuts for less money. Scrapbookers, any ideas? The button machine stores sell a punch cutter (http://stores.americanbuttonmachines.com/Detail.bok?no=10) for $160. Hrumph.

Set the rotary cutter over the design that you want to cut out, being careful that your design is centered.


Crank and cut!

Now gather your button supplies. From left to right we have the spring pin, the collet, the shell, and then my cut design with a circle of mylar on top.

Let's take a second and talk about the 1” button machine. The red handle part is a pressing mechanism.

Here is an ariel view. The black plate spins so that each silver metal cylinder can go under the press.

It is tricky to distinguish between the two sides. I want to put my shell, design, and mylar in the side that is currently on the right.

Or better yet, look at the machine in profile. Your shell, design, and mylar go on the side that has the springs on the bottom.





Put your collet on the other side, narrow side down.


Twirl the plate so that the design cylinder goes under the press.



Now the fun part! Press! I enlist the help of my son Peyton.


Now spin the plate so the collet side goes under the press. The shell, design, and mylar seem to have disappeared momentarily. Press again!

There is the button!

The spring back goes in to turn the button into a pin. Just shove it in there! Oh, and don't poke yourself.


We did it! I whipped up a quick display idea where your pin gift can be presented on cardstock with a personal message from you.

I photographed Julie's wedding in May 2009. Julie included pins in her home-made favor bags, so cute!

Or if you'd rather just buy yourself some heart button pins straight-up, visit my Etsy store. <3

  1. Oooh! I could totally see doing this (if I could find someone with a button maker) because we're having our wedding in a bowling alley (Grand Central Bowl for you Portlanders) and only half of it will be ours, so we don't want people ordering drinks and things on our tab. The venue coordinators said they're pretty good at keeping people straight, but this could be a cute additional security measure (I'm thinking we could give them out at the ceremony, which is in another location). hmmmm, food for thought!

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  2. I've seen people do Team (Person Getting Married 1) and Team (Person Getting Married 2) buttons, as well as generic hearts and etc… so cute.
    My piece of advice on this idea, LIKE EVERY FAVOR IDEA, is not to make it all about the bride and groom. People are likely to reuse a pin if it's just a simple heart or star or cute little design. But will they reuse it if it's your monogram or pictures of the happy couple or something weddingy? Probably not.

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  3. If you want to get around buying the equipment, if you or a friend of yours attends anime conventions there are ALWAYS custom button tables set up in the artist alley, and they're very likely to give you reduced rates for bigger orders (as in, probably under $1 a button). And you save doing the labor yourself too! My friends who do button tables are usually just happy to recoup the money they spent to attend the convention itself, heh.

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  4. you posted this as I was researching button making tools, nice timing.

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  5. My brother got a plastic button maker/press years ago for his band that was cheaper and worked reasonably well. I don't know if those options are still out there, but worth a check.

    Also, maybe check craigslist or ebay for used ones?

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    • I had one of those (by the way, it's called Badge-a-Minit), and upgraded to the press machine. If you are doing more than say 50 buttons I wouldn't recommend it. While it is significantly cheaper (in the $40 range), you get a LOT more mess-ups and it's kind of a pain in the ass, as opposed to the machine above which is so easy to use.

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  6. i am totally doing this. and i plan on selling my button maker as soon as i am done, so the expense won't be too much.

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  7. If you're not making too many, there's a kiddie button maker that sells for around $25 and comes with the parts for 40 buttons right off the bat. I'm planning on using one to make a "proposal button" for whenever I get around to asking the boyfriend.

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    • As a bit of advice, the materials to make more buttons for those machines tends to be more expensive than regular button makers. So there's probably a point of diminishing returns, but for someone who doesn't intend to make TONS of buttons probably won't get there.

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  8. Another possibility is to see if any schools or anything have the equipment to rent. Many school districts have the larger button makers, some may have the smaller, cuter button makers as well.

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  9. A much cheaper option is a cloth button maker. You can pick one up at most fabric shops for $5. Draw your design on linen using cloth paint pens ,use the button press, and BAM! cheap buttons. I make most of my buttons for sewing this way because the button selection sucks at my sewing shop.

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  10. a less expensive option for the rotary cutter may be available in the scrap-booking aisle at your local craft store (Michael's, JoAnn Fabrics, whatever) because they have different sized punches – most are under $20

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  11. I actually look into this and an option for wedding favors. They have some cheap button makers out there for about 40 bucks, that you can use standard supplies on or even children's craft kits for even cheaper there are some links.

    http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=3Ru&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&q=button+makers&um=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=3846853573722285209&sa=X&ei=25jaTc6rII66sAPksZiODA&ved=0CHwQ8wIwAA#

    http://compare.ebay.com/like/270680889308?var=lv&ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes&var=sbar&_lwgsi=y

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  12. I bought one of these in middle school and am stoked to use it some 15+ years later for my upcoming gala! I would HIGHLY recommend just using a steady hand and some of those pre-cut mylars to trace a circle around the image you want to cut, then cut it yourself! The edges of the paper circle are hidden on the underside of the button/pin anyway, so if you make a slight error no one will ever be the wiser!

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  13. I'm pretty sure you can use a Cricut/Gypsy combination to cut circles of any size. Most craft stores also sell circle punches for $15-$20.

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