Do it yourself DIY button making kits, button maker tips and pro button making machines & equipment

Thinking of buying a button maker? Here are some pictures of button makers with my recommendation (or not) as to what is a good buy and which machines or companies to avoid. I have tested and used all this equipment myself, wasted a lot of $$$$$$......so you don't have to!

Tecre button maker with graphic punch kitDie Cutting Press with cutting diesSide to side action button maker with dodgy  plastic baseAir powered automatic machine with foot pedalStandard Tecre Black with red handle swing action button makerSpanish made distinctive blue machine. Takes standard button partsHandi Punch handy circle cutter for 1" buttonsBadge-A-Minit hobby button making kit. Pneumatic Die Cutting Press 

Perhaps you want to get your own button maker and make your own buttons. Here are some photos of the kind of equipment you can use to make buttons yourself in your home or office. I hope this information helps, I have bought, sold and used a lot of different button making equipment over the last 8 years. The first button makers I ever bought are still going, but a few I have used in the meantime were poorly designed or in some cases had plastic parts. Definitely not good if you want a machine that will last. It also blows my mind how much some manufacturers charge for their button parts and these companies with expensive button parts nearly always have non standard or odd sized buttons eg. 2-3/8" instead of the very popular and standard 2-1/4"

Button Making is easy - if you have the right button making equipment!

If you have questions about button makers, button making and related stuff you can always Ask the Button Guy blog here! 

Button Guy Articles: I am thinking about buying a button maker but there are 21 sizes, What size button maker should I buy.
I already have a button maker, What size buttons fit my button maker?
I need to download templates or I need a size guide.

antique button machine maker all metal older button maker

A good old solid metal almost antique button maker.

This is a good, almost antique, button machine
but probably hard to find now.

This machine was made in Russia, probably around the 60s or 70s. What's great about this machine is it is solid as a rock, takes standard 2-1/4" button parts which means you can still get the parts and they are inexpensive. If you see one of these at a yard sale grab it. But as always with buying a button maker - it doesn't have to look pretty but it must work. The only way is to test a used button maker. If that's the case, this button maker is worth more now than when it was made. The circle cutters that came with this button maker as standard are not really any good for the long term, but may just get you out of a fix.

Simple circle cutters for button making.

Circle Cutter similar to the one that comes standard with the Russian made button maker above. Like I say, not really great but a cheap option to get you going. You can pick these up for about $20 - $25.

Just found a photo of the Russian circle cutter - but really better to invest in a real circle cutter - a couple of good examples below.

      Ask the Button Guy - Button Expert Extraordinaire  Ask The Button Guy a question

circle cutter for button makingcircle cutter for button making
handi punch circle cutter for button making
handi punch circle cutter for button making

Handi Punch for circle cutting.

These kind of hand punches are about the only "Made in China" button making product that work. They are usually made for the small button sizes like 1" or 1-1/4". If you position your paper correctly you can cut more than 1 at a time. Maybe even up to 5. But they are really only recommended for small volume.
Price point: $75  Price check 1" button maker

Another image of the handipunch as above. Like I say, Not as fast as the Graphic Punches below but good for small volume.

    

die cutter, rotary circle cutter, graphic punch

Now we're really getting to it with circle cutters. These are the real thing! But not cheap.

At the back you have a die press with dies. The press is or $500 and each of the 5 dies you see can be from $100 - $500 depending on size. But if you have to make 25,000 buttons by Friday then this is what you need. Bottom left is an adjustable rotary cutter. If you sift through old comics and magazines to find your images for button making then the rotary cutter is excellent. Also, if you're on a tight budget but want to make more than one size of button, this punch is adjustable and can be good for multiple sizes of buttons. The Tecre graphic punch (bottom right) is described below - it's the biz!!

tecre graphic punch for button making

Tecre Graphic Punch for Circle Cutting.

As for circle cutting this is the Merc.

When your doing your artwork you line up your images in rows. Print your buttons out and just trim your paper into strips so you can feed them through this cutter. Then you just feed them through and pop them out. No blade, child safe!! Just feed and pop and you can get a good production speed and keep your buttons centred! Remember.... a round button with round artwork looks really bad if it's even only slightly off centre.
Price point $175  Price check Tecre machines 

       

Graphic Punches

This is another graphic punch from a different manufacturer. I haven't used one of these, but all metal and same principals make it look pretty good.

        

graphic punchhow to use graphic punch
hydraulic die cutting press

Hydraulic Die Cutter for volume circle cutting.

Die Cutter for use with steel rule or other dies.

This one I call the nodding donkey. The idea is good, it works but it is slow. It is hydraulic and you have to pump the handle a few times, whereas the die cutters below require just one movement. But this is a solid beast and a bit cheaper than those that follow.

   

fixed height die cutting presssteel rule die for button making

Die Cutter for volume circle cutting.

Die Cutter for use with steel rule dies only

Excellent die cutter for use with the cheaper steel rule dies (see left) Cuts 20 - 30 images at a time. Cuts quickly and well, but remember: if you have a placement-sensitive image, you probably are maxed out at 5 or 10 images at a time. Paper moves (even if you staple it) so a circle image inside a circular button must be cut very carefully. For sensitive images you may be back to the graphic punch and doing them 1 at a time.

     

This is a pro cutter for volume.

The counterbalance design means you can cut through 30 sheets without effort. Adjust the height using the adjustable press ram for easy changes in height adjustments

This machine will speed production but the same limitations apply: If the image must be placed exactly in your button, you are limited to how many you can cut, even if the machine cuts 30 sheets.

       

High polish steel cutting dies for above pro cutter. Expensive but a good investment to boost production.

       

Die Cutting Press with adjustable height ram

High Polish Dies for circle cutting
Badge-A-Minit handpress hobby kit

Hobby kits for button making.

This is a badge-a-minit hobby kit. Plastic parts are always problematic and with so many rings and bits they are easily lost. These are also NOT standard 2-1/4" buttons, but are in fact 2-3/8"! These non standard button parts can be 300% more expensive than standard parts so what seemed like a deal at the time can end up being a mistake. Also, as I have mentioned above, to test a used button maker you make a load of buttons and see how many fail. With this stuff AT LEAST 50% will fail so be careful.

Good button makers are made of solid metal! For button maker tips, button maker ratings and questions on all DIY Button Making Kits - Ask The Button Guy 

Badge-a-minit bench press hobby kit

Bench Press Hobby Kit

This is another hobby kit from badge-a-minit and in my tests this is no different to the one directly above:

* overpriced button parts
* plastic pieces that wear out
* non-standard button sizes can be hard (or expensive) to get
* failure rate at more than 50% in my tests and this has been confirmed to me by many colleagues (could have been that I'm just no good at it!)

 

Real Button Makers.

This is a badge-a-minit semi-pro machine. It's metal and it works quite well. Comes in 3 sizes: 1-1/4", 2-1/4" and 3". Remember this is badge-a-minit so these are non-standard sizes!!! But if you see one of these on Craigslist or at a yard sale, do the 50 button test and buy it. The badge-a-minit circle cutters (on the right) do work but are plastic and slow. But good for cutting artwork out of comics and magazines!!!!

 

Good button makers take standard North American Button Parts - Unfortunately Badge-A-Minit machines take non-standard button parts!  All the best button makers take standard parts.

2-3/8inch badge-a-minit button maker
Interchangeable die button maker

Interchangeable dies for multi size machines.

Not without their problems!

This is a multisize machine from badge-a-minit: 1-1/4", 2-1/4" and 3" sized buttons. It seems to work well and is a superior machine to many of the poorly made chinese machines that have been out there recently, but it does have some of the same issues. See interchangeable die problems below. Also this machine takes expensive non-standard buttons.

   

The problem with Made in China button makers.

These button makers have major problems: the interchangeable die carrier is PLASTIC. After changing the die a few times they no longer line up. This makes the failure rate very high.

  NOT RECOMMENDED

Another problem with made in china button makers is the price and quality of the parts. A lot of the button parts are simply not nicely made. Who wants a button with a cheesy white plastic back, or a magnet that looks like it's from the dollar store? Remember these are made in non-standard sizes! You can't just buy the good stuff. It won't fit!

NOT RECOMMENDED

Ask the button guy - he knows buttons   Ask The Button Guy a question

I repeat - NON STANDARD SIZES means very expensive button parts and you cannot use the US made quality buttons in these machines.... and I mean expensive. They are selling 100 buttons for almost the price I buy 1000.

  NOT RECOMMENDED



Good button makers.

There are excellent button makers from sources other than the US. Spain, Portugal and Germany all produce great button makers with standard size buttons. These normally take standard buttons! But check!! Watch out for European mm sizes. They are not compatible.

       

The Tecre Button Making Kit.

Distinctive black machine with red handle from Tecre. The swing base method is fast and easy to use. If you ever see one of these used - GRAB IT!!

       Price check Tecre machines 

The Tecre 2-1/4" button maker.

Solid metal, standard size buttons, 0.0001 failure rate. Fast swing action means you can really produce but the machine is compact and light so fine for traveling to events.
Price Point $275  Price check Tecre machines 

 

If you have questions about button makers, button making and related stuff you should checkout the blog here! 

These Tecre machines normally get the best button maker reviews and these solid metal button makers comprise the best button making equipment on the market.

An electronic combo machine for Badge-A-Minit 2-1/4" (which means actually 2-3/8") buttons. It works well but it's a bit of an overkill. It is much more expensive, but no faster than the badge-a-minit semi-pro machine above. But it works so if you like burning up the planets resources....knock yourself out!

 

electronic fully-automated button maker machine
Lightweight plastic button maker

Plastic and low cost machine but it does take standard low cost button parts. Recommended for low volume hobby button makers.
Price point $150.

       

These hobby button makers gets good button maker reviews but reviews relative to price not ease of use, quality or longevity. Good button makers or good DIY button making kits are normally solid metal.  This is a good hobby button maker or button making starter kit.  For all button making questions and button maker tips - Ask The Button Guy

Industrial button making - Air power attachments available.

An all metal beast! A precision instrument making rectangular, round or oval buttons or magnets. But you choose your size. Like most good button makers, each machine makes one size.

     

Professional button making machine press
Industrial button machine Air compatible button machine semi automatic button maker

More industrial button machines.

These are solid machines. Side to side action (as opposed to swing) works well too. These are heavy machines, great for using air power in an industrial setting but a bit heavy for transporting to events. The circle cutters that come with these are not great, but add a graphic punch or a die cutter as they are standard sizes.

       for the machines, 

Price check industrial machines

Air Power for button makers with foot pedal.

This is the kind of equipment you need to power a side action (not swing) button maker with air. You will need an inexpensive compressor and a standard hook up. Picture shows button maker, air head with foot pedal control.

 


    Ask The Button Guy a question

Price check Industrial Machines

Air power head for button makers  Airpowered semi automatic button maker

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