Casting Custom Buttons
If you’re like me, you are a thrifty bargain hunter. Stalking the sale racks and second hand shops for unique and interesting clothes. So many times I’ve come across what seems to be the perfect coat, shirt or dress… but the details like buttons are well, less than perfect. Vintage plastic buttons can get melted in dry cleaning mishaps, modern buttons can be bland or ugly, and how many times have you lost a button off your shirt or jacket? Well, theres a solution for all of this.
In this article we will be showing you how to create your own custom buttons. Whether you want to make an exact copy of an exisiting button to replace a missing one, or you want to create an entirely new set of unique buttons follow these steps and don’t be afraid to experiment!
For this project you will need:
- Silicon Putty
- Casting Urethane
- A Mixing Cup
- A Hot Glue Gun
- A Popsicle Stick (or other stirring utensil)
- A drill and 1/8 inch drill bit
- Spray paint or enamel paint
- 2 Smooth flat boards (any non porous material such as Masonite, or plastic) at least 6″ by 6″
- 1 Wooden board (for drilling)
- 1 Regular button
- The small object that you want to make into a button
Step 1 – Glue the button to the board (face up).
Step 2 – Carefully glue which ever cosmetic pieces you choose to the button. Be sure that the object is straight and even and that there is no excess glue.
Step 3 – Once the glue is completely dry, take the silicone putty and measure out equal parts of A and B. For a 1 inch button you will need a little more than a teaspoon of each.
Step 4 – Combine parts A and B kneading them together with your hands until the putty is an even color. Pad it down gently covering your button and object with an 1/8 of an inch of putty. Be sure that the putty makes complete contact with the object and that there are no gaps or air bubbles.
Step 5 – At room temperature, 78 degrees, it should be ready to de-mold in ten min. You will know that it is ready when it hardens and no longer yields to your touch. Go ahead an just peel off the hardened putty. It should come right off.
Step 6 – Glue the mold with the indentation right side up to your second board. Make sure that the mold is laying flat so that you get a flat backside to your button. Use a decent amount of hot glue to essentially make a cradle for the mold. Don’t worry if the silicone is not sticking just be sure that it has enough support to lay flat.
Step 7 – Now mix your casting urethane in any container equal parts A and B totaling about a tablespoon. Stir the mixture (we used a popsicle stick) Be sure to work quickly because the casting urethane sets up in about 2min.
Step 8 – Pour the casting urethane into your mold. Be careful not to pour too much… you don’t want it to overflow. The surface of the casting urethane should be even with the back side of the mold. You can use your popsicle stick to wipe off excess casting. Also, Make sure there are no air bubbles in the mold. If you see any you can gently tap your board until they rise to the surface.
Step 9 – Wait patiently for the casting to set up. This should take about 15min (larger objects may take longer) You will know that the cast is ready to remove when it is an opaque white color.
Step 10 – Remove the white casting from the mold.
Step 11 – Take your finished piece and place it on a wood board either thick enough or elevated for drilling.
Step 12 – Drill the button holes. Choose a good spot on your object to drill. Usually in the middle and at least a quarter of an inch apart works best.
Step 13 – Spray paint or hand paint as you like. I would recommend oil based paint or something that will adhere nicely to plastic.
Step 14 – Repeat and sew your custom buttons onto your favorite garment 🙂