Buttons, Badges & Pins - People Power Blog

How to make christmas decorations with your button maker. November 10 2012

Personalized gifts for Christmas?  What about hanging family photos in a mirror back button on the tree.  Wow.  Shiny!

It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of ribbon or elastic and a button maker.  As always with buttons you need a good design - regardless what you’re making the design is key.  Most of your effort and energy should go into improving your design but once you have a good design, you can easily make ……..in this case Christmas decorations that can hang on your Christmas Tree.

Firstly I chose to make mirror buttons with a Santa on the front.  You could just use pin-backs or flat backs, they too will reflect the lights of the tree but I decided to use mirrors.  To make mirror buttons you need a 2-1/4” button maker or larger. 2-1/2”, 3”, 3-1/2” all have mirror buttons as do 2”x 3” and 2-1/2” x 3-1/2” buttons.  Also oval buttons make great mirrors.

To make mirrors you need:

mirror button parts

Here’s a video explaining how to make mirrors: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXgRjUbir8k&feature=share&list=ULtXgRjUbir8k

Once you know how to make the mirror, you need to add the elastic or ribbon to let it hang in the tree.  Here’s a few picks.

attaching ribbon to a button maker

In the above example I made a hole in the shim and fed the elastic through. I had some issues with the metal shim cutting the elastic.  I just made the hole with a pointed bradle. But a lot of effort and not the best way.

using elastic to make christmas tree decorations

Even though in the above 2 images the mirror works and hangs on the tree well, the ribbon or elastic does not need to be super strong.  But as you see in the 2 images above it does not look great, if you’re selling these you can see the elastic is not allowing the button to really crimp properly.

Attaching ribbon to a mirror button

By using thin ribbon it works well, carries the weight and crimps the button properly.  I also tried simply taping the ribbon to the back of the image.  That worked well too.

christmas tree decoration

Mirror buttons as Christmas tree decorations

As I said above the ribbon worked best producing a great mirror button for the Christmas tree.

If you’re selling these this is a great product to sell in sets.  Any product that needs not just a single decoration but a hole set is great and if you have a tree full of these mirrors it’s going to be shiny!

But if you want to get professional you could also use tabs and slot back buttons. These are usually used for pendents or key-chain buttons.  Slot back buttons are available for 1-1/2”, 1-3/4”, 2-1/4”, 2-1/2” and 3” sizes.  You can even get 2-3/8” slot backs for badge-a-minit button makers.

This is what slot back buttons with tabs look like:

slot back button with tab

You can use the above to make professional looking Christmas Decorations and holiday season ornaments for the tree.  Thread ribbon or elastic through the ring.

Happy crafting!

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The Pro's and Cons of Multiple/ Interchangeable Die Machines March 12 2012

Multisize button makers sounds great.  A button maker that makes different sized buttons because it has interchangeable dies - sweet idea!

But the reality is not so sweet...........

Problems with multi-size button makers are many.  The advantages of multi-size button makers are few, in fact I can't think of any but if you have bought one and see an advantage let me know.  I would love to hear about it.

1) Most multi-size button makers including the badge-a-minit use a plastic base for the dies.  This is problematic, as the plastic wears quickly and the button makers no longer line up.  This also applies to some of the made in China machines.

badge-a-minit 3-in-1 Badge-A-Matic Combo interchangeable die, multisize button maker
Badge-A-Minit: 3-in-1 Badge-A-Matic Combo  $1099 on sale!
$1699 on sale with cutters & parts.


2) Price!  The badge-a-minit machine is the same price as 3 standard button makers!!

3) Button parts -  Badge-A-Minit takes non-standard button parts up to 300% more expensive than standard button parts.and also certain chinese machines use button sizes with European mm dies.  Also non-standard.

4) And for me the biggest point is that button making is labour intensive.  One machine with multi dies means only 1 person can work at a time and you have to keep messing with the dies.  

Give me 3 different machines any day!

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