Buttons, Badges & Pins - People Power Blog

Get Your Bottles Open - Bottle Openers Just in Time For Summer!! June 06 2013

Bottle openers come in handy all year round but a bottle opener attached to your key chain is especially handy during the summertime.  It is simple to design and make your own custom bottle openers using button parts.  Here are a few examples using split rings, keyrings and keychains

  Split Ring Bottle Opener

  Mini Split Ring Bottle Opener

Chain Keychain with Split Ring Bottle Opener

Chain Keychain with Mini Split Ring Bottle Opener

 Pull-Apart Keyring Bottle Opener

Please note that the metal bottle opener button parts (the backs) are only available for 2-1/4" button makers and that the keyrings, keychains and split rings are sold separately and are available for most sized solid metal North American button makers.

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Matte Buttons Or Glossy! May 24 2013

 Matte Finish, Gloss Finish 

I wanted to post a photo that Illustrates the difference between a matte and glossy finish for button-making.  The matte button examples are pictured on the left, and the glossy buttons are on the right.  Notice how the gloss finish is reflective and allows the colors to "pop" or appear brighter and the matte finish produces a more subdued feel with very little sheen.  Which one you choose will depend on the effect you wish to achieve.

Gloss buttons are created by using standard transparent, high-gloss mylar over top of your artwork and matte buttons are created using laminated artwork (see below) and do not require mylar.  Button-making mylar is currently only available in high-gloss but we and button makers alike are hoping that soon that won't be the case.  Bring on the matte!

Lamination, Matte Finish

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Summer Fun Custom Mirrors May 22 2013

Custom Mirrors, Matte Buttons, Pinback-Button Parts 
Hooray! Summer is almost here and we all scream for Ice Cream!!
In preparation for summer, I decided to make 3" ice cream cone custom mirrors that are compact enough to travel to all your summer destinations : ).  I also took the opportunity to try out a matte finish on the artwork - which is achieved by laminating your artwork and not using mylar.  If you want the usual shiny finish then you use regular mylar

Custom Mirrors, Summer buttons

Summer Fun Custom Mirrors 
To make a mirror using pin-back button parts you will need: a shell, a collet, a shim and a mirror plus mylar if you want shiny artwork. Great for customized mirrors.
If you order from us don't worry, these parts ship complete!  We carry sets to make: 2-1/4", 3", 3-1/2" round, 1-3/4" x 2-3/4" Oval, 2" x 3" & 2-1/2" x 3-1/2" Rectangular Mirrors.  Click here for more info on parts or send us your artwork and we will be happy to make them for you. 
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New Online Button Designer Software just went live! Free online button designer! May 10 2013

online button designer

New online button designer from The Button Guy. Easy button design and button artwork creation.

We just went live! Checkout this simple button design software: it’s free. A great tool for designing buttons and creating button artwork.  It even takes your button design and lays it out on the sheet for you.  With a 2-1/4″ button you make your design and then you go to print and it puts 9 up on the page in a pdf, ready to print.  In your profile you can collect and save all your designs and then print 9 different buttons on each sheet if you wish.  Simple and effective.

Online Button Designer

If you’re a graphic designer then no problem, stick to Photoshop, Illustrator, Gimp etc. But if you are not a graphics person then you can instantly make your button artwork and then the system lays your button artwork out on a page ready for printing. Sweet!

Remember your button design is key.  Once you have a good button maker, making buttons is inexpensive and pressing them is easy.  Coming up with great button artwork or a really good button design is not so easy.  Invest time in your designs.  It will pay off.  Remember a few tips:

  • More is less!   Do not clutter your button.
  • Bright but simple works well
  • Button designs with white backgrounds work very well on buttons.
  • One bright colour works well on buttons. eg. Black white then a splash of red.
  • If you’re using multiple colours ensure they hang together well.
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Making Metallic Buttons May 03 2013

Metallic Buttons, Silver Buttons, acetate

Add Some Shine to your Buttons!

We've also been experimenting with making silver buttons.  The process is very simple: Print your artwork on acetate transparency or use Dura-Lar Film for printing and button making  in reverse, cut it out and press - and let the silver shine through.  Press the button with your artwork shiny side up as the printed image will scratch off. 

You print your image in reverse and put it ink side down when making the button.  This stops any chance of the ink scratching off the button once it's made.  The ink is inside and protected.

Put the acetate print side down on a naked button to get the silver effect.Simple.  Want to make gold buttons?  Lay a metallic gold paper under the acetate.  Fluorescent?  Yes you can use fluorescent or glow in the dark papers!

You can buy acetate or clear dura-lar on our website.  Also bright gold sheets!

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Copper Buttons with optional embossing April 30 2013


embossed copper pin-back button

Hey Guys - Check out our latest discovery!!!  You can make creative buttons out of copper sheet metal.  Use the copper sheet metal as your artwork instead of paper and you do not require mylar and you get a really nice copper finish.  In the above example we embossed the copper with an old embossing machine.  It marks the soft copper and gives a kind of old fashioned typewriter effect.

This is just another example of different ways to make art buttons.  You can really get creative with your button machine!

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Gold and silver pin-back buttons – Button Making Ideas! April 20 2013

The problem is quite simple.  How do I make buttons that are fluorescent?  My printer cannot print fluorescent colours.  How do I make gold or silver buttons? My printer cannot print gold or silver.  Well the fact is very few printers can print fluorescent colours or gold.  Even bright pink is difficult to reproduce so this article explains how to get around the limitations of printing and put really bright colors on a button. So if you want bright pink buttons just use this idea and substitute the gold paper for fluorescent pink or whatever color you choose.

I will use the example of gold because no printer can print shiny reflective gold.

What do you need to make really shiny gold buttons:

  • Gold foil paper
  • Printable acetate transparencies
  • Circle cutter, printer and button maker (Just like you need for any button making job)

Make your artwork just like you would for any button and then reverse it. Then simply print the reverse image on a transparency.  Lay the transparency over a sheet of the gold foil paper and cut out the gold sheet and acetate together. If you have trouble with the gold foil you can always cut it separately with scissors and put it under the acetate.  It only need show through where there is no colour printed on the acetate.  You don’t even need to cut very accurately.  Now put acetate with gold backing into the button maker and press as normal. Voila!

Another tip is to print the image NOT reversed and lay the acetate over the gold foil print side down.  This way the print side is protected.  Depending on your printer and acetate combo the ink may scratch off.  This way your print is protected.

acetate for button printing

A printed transparency with the image showing through the clear acetate. The printer printed on the reverse of this transparency to protect the print surface.

printed acetate sheet for pin-back buttons.

The printed sheet is placed over a gold foil sheet with printed side down but image showing correctly through the acetate. Note the photo here cannot reproduce the shiny gold as per the actual gold leaf. You need to see this button. It shines!


Die cutting gold leaf pin-back buttons

Here we cut the acetate and the gold leaf die simultaneously using a cutting die. If you are using a graphic punch to make your buttons then cut the acetate with your punch and cut the gold leaf with scissors.

Eye catching gold leaf buttons

Finished buttons with shiny gold showing through the acetate. A great way to make visually striking buttons. This photo here cannot reproduce the eye catching gold.
Make one yourself and see what I mean.

Syndicated article from The Button GuySyndicated blog from TheButtonGuy.net This article is reprinted with permission. http://TheButtonGuy.net/
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New product for 1″ Button Makers – Button Jewelery – Artclix Pendants and bracelets with 1″ button art! April 13 2013

A great way to utilize a 1″ button maker to make interchangeable jewelry with FLAT BACK Button parts (sold separately: click for Round or Square).

The Artclix metal pendants and bracelets have a rare earth magnet inside so you can change the design of your bracelet or pendant as often as you change your undies! Or more often, depending on how you roll : ) haha

button pendants and button bracelets

Artclix jewelery for pendants and bracelets with your 1″ button maker.

You can find the bracelets here on People Power Press.  Pendants here.


Artclix Magnetic Button Bracelets

Button bracelets available so you can have interchangeable sets of button designs on a magnetic bracelet button holder.

How do you spell Jewelry Jewellery Jewelery?  No idea!


Syndicated article from The Button GuySyndicated blog from TheButtonGuy.net
This article is reprinted with permission.
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Diamond Shaped Buttons March 28 2013


Put your own artwork on a Pin-back Button!  I chose to make a Diamond Pin-back Button based on a painting I'd done of diamond designsDiamond Pin-back Buttons are made using square pin-back button parts; the square pin-back (which is black plastic) comes with three holes which can be pinned straight across for square, or diagonally for diamond.  We carry four square sizes to suite your needs: 1", 1.5", 2" and 3" and have parts to make either pin-back buttons or magnets.  

We would be happy to make diamond or square buttons for you - click here for pricing or you can look at our selection of square button makers and make them yourself!  Happy Button Making!

Square Pin-back Button, Diamond Pin-back Button

Diamond Pin-back Buttons


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We Miss You "Stompin' Tom" Connors March 27 2013

 Tribute Button, Stompin Tom Connors

Tribute Buttons for "Stompin' Tom" Connors

The folks at Winnipeg's 103.1 Virgin Radio had these tribute buttons made to celebrate the life and music of Canada's country and folk singer-songwriter "Stompin' Tom" Connors.  Best known for his songs Sudbury Saturday Night, Bud the Spud and The Hockey Song,Tom Connors music will keep us Stompin' for years to come!!

Connect with 103.1 Virgin Radio:



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Compulsion Games, Inc: Contrast Video Game Buttons March 20 2013

custom video game buttons, 7/8" custom buttons 

7/8" Custom Buttons for Compulsion Games, Inc Video Game: Contrast!

Compulsion Games, Inc, a Montreal based, small independent video game studio that is working on an upcoming game called ContrastContrast is a story about a little girl, Didi, and her imaginary friend Dawn.  Normally, Didi and Dawn run around in a beautiful film noir, 1920s 3D world, but she also has the power to turn into her shadow at will, and run on a 2d landscape to help Didi out.

The button design is an iconic shot of Dawn's shadow running through the world and also the icon for the game - when you play it, that's the icon you'll double click. The design was made by their concept artist, Whitney Clayton, who works with them full time making outstanding art.  Her personal website is being refurbished, but you can always get in touch with her through their website :)


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Come by our shop!! March 14 2013


Come by our Button Shop in Toronto and take a look at our unique collection of Button Makers! We can give you advice on Button Making and demo how to use our hand presses.  You can learn how to make buttons : )  See you soon.

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Turn your Favourite Instagram Pics into Button or Magnet Art March 13 2013

button your instagrams

Make Buttons or Magnets from your Instagram Photos 

Instagram is a fantastic smart phone application which provides you with the ability to quickly and easily apply filters to your photos. There are about a dozen filters for you to choose from with brightness/contrast control and border features for each.  The one problem is that with Instagram your photos only ever exist online -- so why not make them into long lasting, physical BUTTONS or MAGNETS!  Read below to find out how...

 Instagram photos, Instagram buttons, Instagram magnets

Step 1: Take a picture using Instagram

You can either use Instagram to take a photo or bring in outside photos from your camera roll to Instagram. 

. Take an instagram photo

When you have decided on a photo you may choose to apply a filter, a blur, add a border or adjust brightness and contrast.

instagram button on an iphone


Once published, the app will save a full size, high resolution image to your camera roll.  That feature is turned off by default but can be changed in the iphone's settings app. If you get stuck, you can always save the photo by right clicking it on your Instragram feed while using your computer, but the quality might not be as high.

Step 2: Place Your Order

Instagram square buttons

We have four square sizes for you to choose from: 1", 1.5", 2" and 3". 

Click on the following link to be taken to our Instagram Button and Magnet order page:


 Step 3: Upload Your Artwork

Upload your Instagram picture using the link that is sent with your order confirmation 


Email it to us :)

Step 4: Get Excited About Receiving Your Buttons/Magnets! :)

We endeavour to make and ship your custom orders within 24-48 hours of payment and artwork being received and can often get your buttons in the mail same day!

Instagram Magnet

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pre-cut blank paper circles for button making March 12 2013

 If you are not ready to invest in your very own graphic punch we are more than happy to provide you with pre-cut paper circles in any size and quantity for button making.  Having these around is a great addition to button making parties, especially when children are involved : )


 pre-ut circles for button making

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Button Sizes and Shapes March 08 2013

Check out this photo of all the shapes and sizes that we offer in button parts and custom buttons; round buttons, square and diamond buttons, rectangular buttons, oval buttons and oblong buttons.  We carry button parts to make pin-back buttons, magnets, mirrors, key chains, bottle openers, coasters and much more.

 round button sizes

6 inch button 

square buttons, diamond buttons 

rectangle button, oblong button, oval button

button sizes 

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Circle Cutting March 06 2013

circle cutting 

Just taking a break from cutting out thousands of 1-1/2" circles for a custom button order: )

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Silicon Lubricant - A Button Maker's Best Friend... March 01 2013

Panef White Stick Lubricant with Silicone - Perfect for lubricating button makers.
Fixing or repairing a button maker can be tricky.  Lot's of spanners and wrenches and all kinds of tools.  But some problems are fixed without needing tools.  The answer can be as simple as lube for your machine.  But when fixing your button maker or making buttons NEVER use WD40 type products - they are designed to remove lubrication and rust, you need to add lubrication.  Don't use oil and grease on your dies - it will mess up your images. Use silicon lubricant in a lip balm or chapstick style tube like this:  The aerosol silicon is not so good for this particular issue - but is good for cleaning.

Recommended by THE BUTTON GUY for button maker lubrication!

silicon lubricant lube for button making

use lube to reair your button maker 

Over time a button maker will become unlubricated and produce mylar sealing problems (pictured above).  This white stick lubricant will combat that problem - simply lubricate the upper die on your button maker.  Be sure to wipe the grease off of your first few buttons after application and you should be good to go. 

Fixing or repairing a button maker 

This is what your edges should look like! To order a stick, click here or include one in your next order!  Happy Button Making.


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How to make a recipe magnet February 28 2013

Recipe on a magnet - Fridge ready!

Recipe Fridge Magnet

I often have the problem of forgetting where I found a great a great recipe.  I always plan to write it out, or print it from the internet but even then, where should one store it.  So the other day I had the idea to make one into a fridge magnet - what better spot for a recipe!!

Type-writer Magnet 

I decided to use my old fashioned type-writer because it is fun to use and also looks cool. 

square graphic punch 

 square magnet parts 

Then I cut it out using a 3" square graphic punch and got my button parts assembled for a 3" square magnet.  You need a shell, mylar, unpinned back and a magnet

square button maker

Then pressed my magnet with my 3" Square Button Maker and now I will never have to search all over the world again for this recipe. P.S. You should try it, it is delicious!



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Button Guard Dog Extraordinaire February 27 2013

Guard dog, Button Shop

Pancho is on watch all day making sure that your custom buttons and button supplies are safe.  Way to go Pancho!

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Coffee keeps us going making button orders February 26 2013

Coffee growers and button makers unite 

We're always drinking coffee to keep us going with Button Making.  When we're busy we work long hours making buttons. It's not nearly as hard work though as picking coffee beans.  When we found this postcard showing a coffee growers hand with coffee beans, we thought we should thank the coffee growers for their hard work which allows us to do our work making your buttons.

Coffee growers and button makers unite!!!  People Power Rules!

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Instagram Pet Magnets :) February 26 2013

Instagram Magnets 

Everybody loves Instagram Pet Magnets! 

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Mylar - The stuff that makes your buttons shiny! February 22 2013

 Mylar for pin-back button making 

Side view of a stack of Mylar for button making.   That stack will make about 1000 pin-back buttons. Mylar is available in 2ml & 3ml

Mylar or plastic covers for buttons

The plastic glossy cover on a button is actually made from mylar. Mylar is quite durable, strong, has a high tensile strength so it is ideal for holding buttons together.  The mylar goes over the image to seal the button.

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Fine Arts Buttons @ University of Lethbridge February 21 2013

Fine Arts Buttons

Fine Arts is fabulous and fun! 

The Department of Fine Arts at University of Lethbridge designed custom buttons to be used as swag for prospective students.  They will be given away after presentations by their recruitment officer and during Experience Fine Arts Day at the University.  

They will be highly sought after - who doesn’t want a cool button for free!


Website: http://www.uleth.ca/finearts/ 


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Non-Profits, Not-for-Profits, Charities, Organizations – Why you need a button maker! February 15 2013

Non-Profits, Not-for-Profits, Charities, Organizations all need to raise funds for their causes.  There are many ways to do this.   Many of them get into the junkmail business, many canvas door to door or on street corners.  Many of the canvassers do not even care for the cause and are paid quite well for bugging people.  The large charities employ sub-contractors to knock on doors and if they make a sale of, say, a $10 monthly subscription the first 2 years or as much as $240 will go to the sub-contracting company and only the subscriptions in the third year and beyond benefit the charity.  I know I’m going to get angry emails from the large charities telling me “It’s only the first years subscription that goes to the sub-contractor” but whatever the deal is and I know they vary, I don’t think the generous subscriber new they were filling the coffers of the for-profit canvassing company. Full disclosure and real volunteers would be a better way to go, but I actually believe these charities harm their image when they call people on the phone during dinner or knock on doors when people are relaxing (or sleeping).  As for the junk mail?  That’s just got to stop.  Our household has given annualy to possibly 10 charities for years.  We probably get more than 1000 letters a year.  Yes averaging more than 3 unnecessary letters a day.  You could argue that’s a lot of trees but it’s also a lot of cash that should be going to saving whales, fighting climate change, or building women’s shelters.  It should be used for whatever the money was actually intended for. 

Darfur campaign button Anti-poverty fundraising button Haiti relief fundraiser
Darfur, Sudan relief
Haiti relief

campaign button
fundraising button

Fundraising with buttons is extremely low cost, fun, attracts new subscribers and interested parties and does not bug anybody because people come to you

There are many ideas for using buttons to fundraise and I will layout a few ideas to show that instead of sending junk mail getting a button maker is a better investment.

1) Buttons are a low cost way to promote your organization.  Get your name logo out there.  It’s obvious but simple.

2) But what about a “Make your own buttons table” in front of your office, at street festivals, yard sales, schools, universities or any public events.  As well as your button maker you need blank circles, crayons, pens and markers. Get people to draw their designs and put it in a button for them right there and then. People will flock to your table and as they come they will bring more people (naturally, you don’t have to set up a robocall)  Make it for a donation for your cause and you will get $5, $10 for a button that costs 8 cents.  I once even got $50 for a single button because the donor believed in the cause.  You should also have your own designs available at the table for people who don’t want to draw.  Not just a button with your logo but a load of buttons that are relevant for your cause.  Make them funny, make them pertinent, make them serious. Make some radical and some gentle.  Have buttons that describe the full array of your cause with humour and with passion.  All the time people stand at your table, reading your button designs, more people will come. ( You won’t have to bludgeon anyone with your clipboard anymore, they will come to you.)

Do get a graphic designer to design your buttons!  Good design is the key!!!

QR code button 

3) Got something interesting on your website? Draw traffic to the page with a QR code.  What’s a QR code?

Pin-back buttons, pins, badges or whatever you call them are an ideal vehicle for promoting websites but what about a button that can be scanned on a cellphone and the image takes the cellphone user straight to your website.

QR codes don’t just need to go to a homepage, you can generate a QR code to lead a browser to any web address, to a special offer page, to a secret page or a surprise page.  Follow a QR code button on your smart phone and see where you end up!



4) Use your button maker as a tool to leverage volunteers.  If you have a large number of volunteers coming in to help then that’s great but you need a way to utilise that people power.  You also need a way to give those that do volunteer a sense of satisfaction, the sense that there voluntary labour was put to good use.  I used to be involved in an organization that had lots of walk-in volunteers. I found that if I invested time in explaing tasks to them I would sometimes be dissapointed as they could loose interest and drift away.  On asking I found they often thought the volunteer jobs pointless.  But explaining to a new volunteer how to make buttons takes literally a minute or two.  They work away at making buttons and as the finished buttons pile up they get a sense of achievement. You can use the button maker to judge staying power in your new volunteer.  Once they have proved themselves making buttons for your next event, you can invest some time and take them to the next level, they have earnt it.

5) A printing press in your office.  Once you get good at making buttons you can publish a new button even daily, it takes minutes. As and when a new campaign slogan comes up, a reaction to a press release or a new idea formulates; put it on a button.  Have new designs on the website with a pile of freebies at the front desk for drop ins, for a donation or otherwise. Those buttons will go forward and spread the word. Let your supporters spread the word for you.

  • Buttons are inexpensive
  • Buttons are excellent low cost fundaisers (Do the math!)
  • Buttons draw people to your organisation
  • Buttons draw traffic to your website
  • Buttons can be used to leverage volunteer power
  • A button maker is like your own printing press in the office
Syndicated article from The Button GuySyndicated blog from TheButtonGuy.net
This article is reprinted with permission.
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