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Welcome to the ButtonMakers.net
Step by Step Guide to Making Your Own Pin-Back Buttons!

Check out our blog for the most up to date info including a video tutorial of this lesson!


So you wanna be a Button Maker? Well you're in the right place. ButtonMakers.net is your online source for pin-back button machines and parts.

If you don't have one already, click here to buy a button machine!

The next step is creating your graphics and printing them out. Click here for more information on that. Okay so if you've got your graphics ready - or you just want to see what all goes into making buttons, we've put together an easy to follow guide just for you!

In this guide we're using a 2-1/4 inch machine, the Model 225 Button Maker. But you can use this guide as a refrence for all of the other sizes as well. The 1 inch buttons are made slightly different from all the rest, so if you're making 1 inch buttons look for the "1 inch note:" in bold to note the different instruction.


First things first: before you can really get down to business pressing buttons, you have to cut out the circles.

You can use a Graphic Punch like the one shown here, or you can use an Adjustable Rotary Cutter. Or if you're a real glutton for punishment you can go at it by hand, but don't say I didn't warn you!

The Graphic Punch is fast accurate and awesome. It's the only way to go for high volume.

The Adjustable Rotary Cutter is nice because it handles multiple sizes, and some people swear by it.

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Now take a moment and familiarize yourself with the important parts of the Button Maker as illustrated in the image to your right (you can click the picture to enlarge it).

The Handle in this photo is in it's extreme upper or resting position.

The Die Table is the plate that holds both dies and rotates them around.

The Pickup Die is the first die you'll be using. It is more shallow than the Crimp Die and is on springs.

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Now the moment you've been waiting for...

With the handle in it's extreme upper resting position, rotate the Die Table so that the Pickup Die is facing you.

Insert the shell dome side up. It should fit nice and snug. If it doesn't, you've probably mixed up the dies so try the other one.

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Next insert your graphic right side up. It is also important to properly position the graphic at this step, or your button will be crooked.

In this example, I want the white text to be centered at the top of my button, so that is how I position my graphic.

The graphic should also fit nice and snug, if it doesn't, your circles are off. (See now you wish you had one of those accurate Graphic Punches don't you?)

1 inch note: If you are making 1 inch buttons don't have to worry about positioning your graphic because the pin-backs can be rotated later.

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Then cover the graphic with Mylar. Mylar is the thin clear plastic circles that come with your button parts. It protects the button from the elements and makes it look shinny.

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Once the Shell, Graphic, and Mylar is in place, rotate the Die Table around to the left so that the Pickup Die is directly under the Upper Die and the Crimp Die is now facing you. img

... Now pull the Handle all the way down. This will Pickup the Shell and everything into the Upper Die.

It doesn't take much force at all, young children can do it. If it feels like it is difficult you may be using paper stock that is too thick, you accidentally put in 2 sheets of Mylar, or 2 Shells were stuck together when you inserted them. If this is the case you can try to move on to the next step (it usually doesn't hurt) or you can just pull the stuff out of the Upper Die and try again.

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Next, pull the Handle up and let it fall back into it's original upright resting position. img

Then insert the Pin-Back, with the pin clasp facing down. It is important to position it properly or your button will be crooked.

Remember that the squiggle should always be facing you and positioned like this:
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1 inch note: If you are using a 1 inch machine, you'll be inserting a collet at this step and doing the Pin-Backs by hand later.

Insert the collet with the flat part down, so it's like a pie pan with no bottom.

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Rotate the Die Table back around to the right so that the Crimp Die is directly under the Upper Die and the (now empty) Pickup Die is once again facing you.

If you want you can start loading up the second button at this step, but if this is your first one, you can hold off on that for now.

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Pull the handle all the way down again. This step crimps all the parts together.

Next let the Handle come back up into it's original upright position.

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Rotate the Die Table again to reveal your finished button!!!

See that was easy.

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Now the only thing left to do is pin it to your shirt and pat yourself on the back!!!
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If you have questions or comments about this page please send them to info@buttonmakers.net

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