Casting Custom Buttons

Custom buttons 3b3f004ff21d1f79330c0e5e57112935cb9415f1bdde37c593d2302707efd8b5

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
Tools 55d72667727e306185a581e144b04d3394f86ae3081c7837d4742316d92bd032

Step 1 – Glue the button to the board (face up).

Glue button 1 e8612acdd09b8cc5658efd6996a1386647ff6e2abe518e06541d6dcd72184b1a

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.

Glue button 2b8d25e4464ecb7b07410495f4044c1e78743a4e5836129702777bcad09f7fb8

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.

Putty 62e5b243c45b8b24e932e985d0dfc0c2a5ce28b15e60a46bdb4407910d56dc85

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.

Creating mold b883d38b01adf468aa4542df8ebd1b51d6d3762184c9e75b747a723b4c7df093 Molding 1a7b00c24974e52c3cd51a203104746634ac8ba5b6bab0659df51307a696e6f6

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.

Finished 8fe2fa4ddaf7efd89d4021c4d73b3c4c664603e041bc2e2cf104fc25ccb65e1c

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.

Affix mold 882a1c026f27c82edd0b6c41e79c439fe7045b2131f5e896a2d0e9daa001a916

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.

Set e1be1493e77b6d7459705103dc32d8c243596fd9fffadc64e5fa32cd1c86f2ff

Step 10 – Remove the white casting from the mold.

Pour 24f109237305b1fa237516d24d593e53dfaaa5e7b65add5a5002a0f10cb011af

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.

Drill holes 0ae4ef2e92067b2544a974569dd554b341929c16a68c5e26e05f3ffad36f8f09

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 🙂