Buttons, Badges & Pins - People Power Blog

FLEX1000 and FLEX2000 Hobby Button Maker Manuals Now Available Online June 16 2017

If you have a FLEX1000 or FLEX2000 hobby button maker and have lost the instruction manual that was sent with your start-up kit, don't worry! You can now download the instruction manual for each model here.

 multi-size button makerall metal hobby pin machine

Download the FLEX1000 Instruction Manual (No Rings) here.

Download the FLEX2000 Instruction Manual here.

Just a note about any reference to rings. Our newer models don't require the plastic rings so if you see any reference to them, but you never received the rings, don't worry. Your version of the machine does not use plastic rings. Not sure, give us a call and we can help you out.

Keep it paperless and access online whenever you need it or print it out if you'd like a tangible copy. The choice is now yours.

Even if you don't have one of our all-metal FLEX machines you can take a peek to walk through the steps and see how it works!

And for the visual folks out there, here are the Button Guy videos showing you the FLEX1000 and FLEX2000 button makers in action. See how both hobby pin machines work:

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Custom Rounded Rectangle Buttons are Here: A Smooth and Sleek Option for Name Tags June 07 2017

It’s not often that a new pin shape is introduced, but there is a new button kid on the block. Helloooo Custom Rounded Rectangle Buttons!

This button has rounded corners, making it a smoother and sleeker option for name tags, poster art, marketing and campaign buttons.

rounded rectangle name tag buttons

Many Great Uses for the Rounded Rectangle Button

These are just a few great choices for this new pin shape:

Name Tags - Rounded rectangle buttons make great durable event name tags for workshops, trade shows and conventions. They can double as great event souvenirs.

Marketing Buttons - Available as 1-3/4” x 2-3/4” pinbacks, these buttons are the same size as a business card, which makes this button an obvious choice for marketing your business.

Poster Art Buttons - This new pin shape is a perfect choice for poster art buttons because of their layout and retro design.

Two Sizes Available!

The new rounded rectangle button comes in 1-3/4” x 2-3/4” and 2” x 3” sizes. The smaller size is the same size as a business card. The larger size gives you a bit more room to make your message stand out.

1-3/4" x 2-3/4" rounded rectangle business card buttons2" x 3" rounded rectangle campaign buttons

A Perfect Choice for Vertical and Horizontal Layouts

The rounded corner buttons are available as vertical or horizontal pins. These layouts may be more suitable for logos and designs that are also have vertical or horizontal designs.

Now you get a rounded corner without having to adapt your design to a circle or oval shape and possibly losing part of your artwork.

But if you are looking for something with a harder edge, be sure to check out all our custom button sizes so you can make the choice that best suits your design!


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Say it With a 2” x 3” Rectangle Fridge Magnet: Great for Personal Statement Gifts, Promotional Giveaways and More! April 24 2017

The 2" x 3” Rectangle Fridge Magnet is a great versatile choice. A popular size for family photos and personal statement gifts, this magnet is a favourite souvenir shop idea and for real estate promotional giveaways too.

See the process of making a 2" x 3” Rectangle Fridge Magnet in this new video from The Button Guy. This video will show you important tips to successfully make magnets with the 2” x 3” rectangle button maker.

This essential advice includes how to cut your artwork, how to properly apply the peel n’ stick magnet and why it is important to let your magnets sit on a flat surface for 24 hours before hanging them on another surface.

Once you see how easy it is to make 2" x 3” Rectangle Fridge Magnets you will be able to get busy. Some projects include:

  • Decorating your locker or fridge with family photos and other art
  • Making personalized statement gifts for friends and family
  • Creating promotional giveaways for your business to hand out to clients and at trade shows and conferences
  • Designing your artwork like a postcard for your city's attractions for a great souvenir shop idea

rectangle magnets for promotional giveaways and more!


To get started you will need the 2 x 3” Rectangle Button Maker Kit. This machine will also make pinback buttons so you can really have some fun! You will also need all the supplies to make 2 x 3” Rectangle Peel n’ Stick Magnets.

Peel n' Stick Magnet Parts for Family Photos

Loving the idea of these fridge magnets, but not ready to invest in a button maker? We can make Custom 2 x 3” Rectangle Magnets for you with the design of your choice. Check out the other custom magnet sizes we have available.


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Machine Tune-Ups and Maintenance Services May 10 2016

Every once in a while your trusty hand press might benefit from a bit of TLC.

People Power Press can help you keep that machine in tip-top condition with our maintenance services :) If your machine needs a little more than a simple tune-up, there is also advanced maintenance available

If you want to try to do a machine tune-up on your own, we have resources for that too! Check out this comprehensive video showing you how to maintain your machine.



Below is a checklist that's a great reference if you're attempting a tune-up on your own.  The machine diagram below will help you figure out where all of the parts are on your machine:

  • Check, lubricate and tighten top bolts & shim - silicon spray
  • Check Lubricate and tighten handle - silicon spray
  • Lubricate beveled edge on crimp die - silicon stick
  • Lubricate top die - silicon stick
  • Lubricate between die table and base plate - lithium grease
  • Check and tighten brass bolts and flat head bolts on underside of base plate


Next time your machine is in need of a tune-up feel free to get in touch :) We can help you place an order for maintenance services, or guide you through any tune-up troubles you may experience!



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2015 Holiday Gift Guide November 14 2015

Well, it’s that time of year again – holiday shopping season!

And this year we've got so many more fun gift ideas for you. You'll be surprised at all the different things a button machine and some people power can make : ) In fact, this year YOU can come and make the gifts yourself in our new Toronto Maker-Space. Just let us know what you want to make, book a time to use our machines in store, and we'll show you how to do it!

Without further ado, here is our 2015 Gift Guide for all the crafty people (and more!) on your shopping list.

Gift Idea #1: For the Crafters and Kids (or Kids at Heart!)

Hobby button makers are a great gift for craft lovers, young and old! And, at a significantly lower price than professional grade machines, they are affordable for many gift givers. In the spirit of the season, we have put together HOLIDAY themed kits for our FLEX Series of Button Makers, complete with everything you'd normally get in the start up kit plus a set of pre-cut holiday button art in both full colour and black and white (for colouring). 

FLEX1000 Button Maker Kits

The FLEX1000 Holiday themed hobby button maker kit comes with 3 sizes of button making dies and parts/supplies as well as pre-cut art. inexpensive gift ideas!

The FLEX1000 is a durable multi-size button maker, made of solid metal and can make up to SIX different sizes! Die set add-ons (required to press different sizes) can be purchased separately, if you want to start small, or in a kit, for extra savings.

FLEX2000 Button Maker Kits

 FLEX2000 Holiday Themed Hobby Button Maker machine. This cheap button maker kit comes with parts and supplies to make pinback buttons and round magnets.

The FLEX2000 is another great all-metal button maker with interchangeable dies. While it only makes four different sizes - for now! - its sliding die system makes aligning the artwork a little easier than the FLEX1000.

FLEX3000 Button Maker Kits

 the FLEX3000 hobby button maker is a sturdy machine with sliding dies that makes buttons in the 3" size only. The holiday kit includes pre-cut holiday themed button art.

The FLEX3000 is the second sliding-die machine in the series and is used for making big 3" buttons (which cannot be made with the other sliding-die machine, FLEX2000).

Gift Idea #2: For the Artist or Budding Entrepreneur

Give the gift of entrepreneurialism and self-reliance this holiday season! : ) That's right, button making is more than just fun, it can also be a successful business opportunity for someone who is keen to turn their art into cash and can even be a supplemental service for an existing business. Given the ease of use and maintenance of the professional series of machine, it is a cheap and fast way to turn fun into profits :)

Professional Button Maker Kits

 1-3/4" professional button maker kit with parts and supplies for 1.75" buttons

Gift Idea #3: For the Musicians in Your Family

Button Making Kits – Get a button maker kit to help band members make buttons to support their music. Smaller sizes like 7/8”, 1” or 1.25” are recommended!

Pre-Pay for Custom Buttons – Don't want to invest in buying a machine, but know a musician who would love to use buttons to promote their music? Give the gift of custom buttons and we will make the buttons for them!

band buttons. Custom buttons for bands. help promote your favourite artist this holiday season

Guitar Pick Punches – Musicians can make their own custom picks with our guitar pick punch. They won’t have to worry about losing another pick with this handy tool!

Guitar Pick Punch - the perfect christmas gift for musicians

Gift Idea #4: Personalized Holiday Keepsakes

Custom Buttons – We Make Them For You!
Buttons make great gifts, even if you don’t want to make buttons yourself. Did you know that we can make more than just buttons? Send us your custom button artwork or photos and will we make a special gift to give out this holiday season. We can even work with you to create your custom artwork by scratch.

Custom Jewelry - Magnetic necklace and bracelet bases let your pop your custom design in and out to be always changing your look.

Coasters - Make a truly personalized and practical gift with a set of 3.5” round coasters this year.

custom holiday coasters to give as gifts. make great keepsakes. personalized christmas presents.

Bottle Openers - Like giving practical gifts? Bottle openers can be fun, but also useful. Keyring and magnetic bottle openers are also available.

custom bottle openers. order ready to give as gifts or come into our shop and personalise them for your friends and family

Magnets – Send out your holiday greeting or family photo as a fridge magnet this year. Different shapes are available.

Gift Idea #5: Stocking Stuffers and Other Great Gifts - As low as $2 !

Make-A-Button Packs - Pre-packaged button packs come with all the parts needed to make 5 buttons, including the artwork. Then kids just bring the supplies into our retail store and get started.

Pre-Paid Make-A-Button Cards – Give a pre-paid card to someone so that they can just come into the store and make their own buttons. Make eleven buttons for the price of ten! Recipients can make one at a time or make them all at once.

make-a-button gift pack. bring your friends to people power press and make buttons in our store

Dry Erase Silly Face Tree Ornaments, Fridge Magnets, and Buttons – Choose from our Christmas Faces and Snowy Faces collections or have us turn your family and friends into blank faced caricatures for everyone to draw on and decorate in silly, silly ways :) Use outlines from real photos or your own graphics. Then draw, laugh, erase and repeat! Contact us for custom pricing!

silly face christmas dry erase buttons, magnets and tree ornamentssnowy face dry erase buttons, magnets, and christmas tree ornaments

Upcycled Library Books -These hardcover library books with coil binding make one-of-a-kind, Eco-friendly notebooks and sketch books for the environmentally friendly folks in your family :) Bound with unruled Tree Free or 100% recycled paper. Notebook (small) and Sketchbook (large) sizes available. Want a specific cover? Bring in one of your old books and we'll upcycle it into a notebook or sketchbook for you! Contact us for custom book upcycling pricing :)

upcycled sketch books and recycled note books made from discarded library books

Gift Idea #6: A Gift to Yourself (Preparation!)

Do you have enough button making supplies for all your holiday button projects and parties?

If you already have a button maker then you may already know about all of the creative ways you can use your button machine this holiday season.

Make special gifts such as coasters, ornaments, jewelry, magnets, keychains, zipper pulls and bottle openers.

Gift Idea #7: Gift Cards

Still not sure? Give a Gift Card!

If you know someone who already has a buttonmaker and is passionate about buttonmaking, but aren’t sure what machine they have or what size of buttons they make, we now have gift cards that can be purchased and redeemed online.

Gift cards are also great if you think someone would like a button maker, but can’t afford to buy a whole kit. They will appreciate your contribution to the cost of a button making kit and supporting their button making dream.

You can even use them towards button machine rentals!

An Extra Note About Holiday Shipping!

Just make sure you order your gifts and supplies in time! We recommend you place your order as soon as possible so that we have enough time to ship your order to you.

All of our couriers get extra busy at this time of year so we don’t want any delays to upset your gifting plans. Give us a shout so we can help you determine how long shipping will take to your destination.

Our Toronto retail store is now also open Saturdays so you can pick up items. Just call ahead to make sure we have what you need!

Please call us today so one of our friendly sales team can answer all your questions and help you pick out the perfect button gift.

Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!

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Unlock the Potential of your 2-1/4" Buttonmaker! November 10 2015

A Whole World Of Products For Your 2-1/4" Button Maker!


Ever thought about branching out and making more items that showcase your message, art, or brand? Your 2-1/4” button maker may be the key to creating the key chains, bottle openers and magnets you've been dreaming of!

 2-1/4" Bottle Opener2-1/4" Key Chain


You can get a variety of parts for you 2-1/4” button maker. Pocket mirrors, bottle openers, and key chains are just the beginning! Check out our website for a complete list of products available for your 2-1/4" machine.


Everything for your 2-1/4" Button Maker


The process is no more complicated that pressing a standard pinback button so don’t be thrown off by the different backings. If you need help navigating a new product visit our blog or YouTube channel for many helpful tricks of the trade.


Don’t have a 2-1/4” machine? There are plenty of options available to make different items with all sorts of button makers! Check the product page associated with your button maker to get more details!

For daily tips and ideas follow us on social media! You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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Make Your Own Button Necklaces with Magnetic Pendants! February 28 2015

Available in two shapes and three different styles to suit your taste, these fun and classy magnetic necklace pendants are a great way to show off your favourite button creations in new and original ways.

Designed to hold a 1" round or square flat back button, the pendants are made with super strong rare earth magnets that won't let go of your button until you want them to.

Pendants for 1" ROUND necklaces:

1 inch round megnetic pendant button jewlery for 1" button necklace

Pendants for 1" SQUARE necklaces:

1 inch pendant square button jewlery for necklace


Infinitely customizable, you now have the greatest excuse to make all of the buttons you could ever want to wear and change up your look weekly, daily, hourly, or as often as you'd like! Without poking holes in your shirt! :)

Like a locket, button pendant necklaces make a meaningful personalized gift, arts and crafts project, or raffle giveaway.

Create and sell a series of interchangeable designs that people can buy together as a set or collect over time.

They can also be used as a unique and creative marketing tool. Above all else, they're a one of a kind accessory that will never get old.

Available individually or by the thousands (volume discounts apply).

To DIY it up and make them yourself, you’ll need a standard size 1” button maker.

1-inch button maker for making pins and badges and button jewlery

Or a 1” square button maker.

 1-inch square button maker for making pins and badges, button jewelry, necklaces and pendants

You will also need flat back button parts to make your masterpiece.

Order everything for 1” ROUND Flat Back Buttons here.

Button parts to make 1" round flat back buttons and jewelry with buttons

Supplies for 1” SQUARE Unpinned Back Buttons are here.

Button parts to make 1" square unpinned back buttons and jewelry with buttons

Watch this great how-to video to see how effortless it is to make these new necklaces:

Don’t have a 1” machine?

If you love these pretty little things and want some of your own, but don’t own a 1” machine, you can buy the necklace pendants and then rent a button maker from us or have us make your buttons for you.

The pendants for the necklaces are sold without chains so you can wear your design with a chain you already own or choose exactly the style you want. We have a few necklace chain styles in stock and are adding more. If you are looking for a chain style we don’t have, just let us know and we can likely get what you need!

Be sure to check in often to see what new style options we have. Stay tuned for customizable bracelets and other new items to be introduced in the coming weeks and months!

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The 2014 Gift Guide December 16 2014

It is time to shop for the holidays! Button makers, buttons and button supplies make great and unique gifts for the crafty person in your life. If you don’t know this yet – buttons make people very happy. And we are happy to bring you a gift guide to help you figure out the perfect button gift for that special someone. : )

Gift Idea #1: For the Kids (And Kids at Heart!)

A hobby button maker is great for anyone who likes to do crafts. The T150 and Orange Multi-Size Hobby Button Makers will both make fantastic gifts for kids and hobbyists who will not make a lot of buttons and won’t be selling their buttons as a business.

T150 Hobby Button Maker Kit




T150 Hobby Button Maker Kit - This machine has a plastic body and makes 2-1/4” buttons only. The kit comes with enough parts to get you started.




Orange Multi-Size Hobby Button Maker Kits - If you are looking at a hobby maker, but want something that is a bit more durable and offers a few different size options than the T150, then you may be interested in getting our new multi-size button maker kit. This machine’s body is metal (not plastic like the T150) and can make up to three different sizes!











 Multi-size Hobby Button Maker Kit

Gift Idea #2: For the Artist or Budding Entrepreneur

Button making is loads of fun, but it can also be a successful business opportunity.

Button Maker Kits Badge Making Pin Machine

Professional Button Maker Kits - Make the investment in the one of the fantastic and oh-so-robust Tecre button presses and you can give a gift that will last long after the holidays are over. These machines can make thousands of buttons with consistent quality suitable for people who want to sell buttons as a business pursuit, to make some money as a fun side project or to showcase their fine artwork. Different sizes available.

Gift Idea #3: For the Musicians in Your Family

Button Making Kits – Get a button maker kit to help band members make buttons to support their music. Smaller sizes of button makers are recommended!

Pre-Pay for Custom Buttons – Know a musician who would love to use buttons to promote their music? Give the gift of custom buttons and we will make the buttons for you!

Guitar Pick PunchPick Punches – Musicians can make their own custom picks with this new guitar pick punch. They won’t have to worry about losing another pick with this handy tool!

Gift Idea #4: Personalized Holiday Keepsakes

Custom Buttons – We Make Them For You! - Buttons make great gifts, even if you don’t want to make buttons yourself. Did you know that we can make more than just buttons? Send us your custom button artwork or photos and will we make a special gift to give out this holiday season. We can even work with you to create your custom artwork by scratch.

Christmas Badge Making Supplies

Necklaces – One of our newest products, these magnetic pendants let your pop your custom design in and out to be always changing your look. Contact us for pricing!

Coasters – Make a truly personalized gift with a set of 3.5” round coasters this year.

Bottle Openers – Like giving practical gifts? Bottle openers can be fun, but also useful. Keyring and magnetic bottle openers are also available.

Magnets – Send out your holiday greeting or family photo as a fridge magnet this year. Different shapes are available.

Family Photo Silly Face Buttons – Create your own dry erase design so that you can make your own silly faces. Use outlines from real photos or your own graphics. Then draw, laugh, erase and repeat!

Gift Idea #5: A Gift to Yourself (Preparation!)

Make sure you have enough button making supplies for all your holiday button projects and parties.

Holiday Button Making Supplies Pins Badges

If you already have a button maker then you may already know about all of the creative ways you can use your button machine this holiday season. Make special gifts such as ornaments, jewelry, magnets, keychains, zipper pulls and bottle openers in addition to buttons.




Just make sure you order your supplies in time to make something for everyone on your list! We will be closed Dec. 24-26 and Jan. 1-2. We are not open on weekends. We recommend you place your order as soon as possible so that we have enough time to ship your order to you. Give us a shout so we can help you determine how long shipping will take to your destination.

Please call us today so one of our friendly sales team can answer all your questions and help you pick out the perfect button gift.








Gift Idea #6: Gift Cards

Gift Certificates Make the Perfect Gift Button Makers

Still not sure? Give a Gift Card!

If you know someone who already has a buttonmaker and is passionate about buttonmaking, but aren’t sure what machine they have or what size of buttons they make, we now have gift cards that can be purchased and redeemed online.

Gift cards are also great if you think someone would like a button maker, but can’t afford to buy a whole kit. They will appreciate your contribution to the cost of a button making kit and supporting their button making dream.

You can even use them towards button machine rentals!

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How to make a button with the new Multi Size Button Maker July 15 2014

Making buttons is easy with this simple, solid metal, multi size button maker. A new multi die or multiple size button maker that works!

Interchangeable Die Button Maker

The new multiple size die button maker kits

Whilst this machine is not as fast as a pro button maker if you need buttons in smaller quantities but in different sizes this is an option. The difference in cost is substantial. The multi machine at $400 is equivalent to 3 pro button makers at $1200 – $1600. Pro machines are faster but if you are not running a button business or producing bulk buttons this could be a low cost solution.

Multiple Dies available

Interchangeable dies for button making. Picture shows 1″, 2-1/4″ and 3″ dies.

Currently this machine is available with dies in 1″, 2-1/4″ and 3″. 1-1/4″, 1-1/2″ and 1-3/4″ dies will be available by the end of the year. Additional die sets with a matching circle cutter are around $100 to $150 depending on size. To swap dies simply pull the pin out and remove the die carrier. Once you have replaced the die carrier with the size you need you slot it in place, slip in the pin and you’re away. With this style of button maker there are no upper dies which are harder to replace and often consequently do not line up correctly causing poor quality buttons. With this multi machine you should have no trouble.

interchangeable die button maker

interchangeable die button maker

As I have said before the method of using the dies is slower but it does seem to be reliable. The method is a little bit like Badge-A-Minit except these are inexpensive standard button parts and the dies are solid metal and not plastic. To make a button you flip the dies and press the button in sequence. Here’s a detailed instruction on making a 2-1/4″ pin-back button using a multi size button maker:

Before you begin check that you have everything you need!
Your machine parts:

multiple die button press base

The basic press. This machine will press dies from 1″ to 3″.

Die table with 2 dies for button making.

Die table with 2 dies for button making. Pickup die on the left and crimp die on the right. The first press uses the left hand pickup die. The second press uses the right hand crimp die.







The positioning ring

Positioning ring

The positioning ring (bottom view) Do not use this way up.

The positioning ring

The correct side of the positioning ring – Always use this way up in both the left and right hand dies.

The pressing die

Pressing die

The pressing die. Use this way up for the first press.

Flip side of the pressing die

The pressing die (View of the flip side) Use this way up for the 2nd press.

White plastic spacer rings for 2-1/4″ only

Spacer Rings

Spacer rings – Only necessary for making 2-1/4″ buttons. Not supplied for other sizes.

Spacer ring for 2-1/4" pin-backs

Adding the plastic ring when using the 2-1/4″ die is just a question of laying the ring down before inserting the pin-back


Button parts – Remember each die set will make a specific size button.
Match your buttons to the die set you are using.

button parts

And you will also need your button parts

And you will need your button image or artwork cut and ready to go.

Artwork ready to cut

Artwork ready to cut first before pressing

Remember that you can also make magnets, key-chains, mirrors as well as all kinds of items. They usually involve changing the back button part, the front remains the same. Just follow these instructions but for example for a fridge magnet use a magnet back instead of the pin-back.

Once you’ve checked you’ve got everything you need you can begin making buttons.

 Place the button maker on the solid surface and turn the die table so you can access both dies.

Place the button maker in front of you with the dies easily accessible on a solid table so you can begin button making.


Place shell in pickup die

Place a shell in the left hand or pickup die. The edge of the shell slots into the circular slit in the pickup die. The shell fits exactly into the slot.


Add paper circle to die in a multi die machine

Add your pre prepared artwork or image over the shell. It should fit snugly in the available space. Now cover your art or image with a circular sheet of clear mylar.

 Note! Adding the white plastic spacer ring is only necessary for the 2-1/4″ die set.

Spacer ring for 2-1/4" pin-backs

Adding the plastic ring when using the 2-1/4″ die is just a question of laying the ring down before inserting the pin-back.

Multi die button maker

Place your pin-back, pin facing down and make sure your pin-back and the direction of your art match as per the photo. You want the pin to end up at the top of your art. So you now have your button maker loaded with shell, image and mylar in the left die and pin-back in the right die.

Place the positioning ring over your image

Place the positioning ring over your image so that the centre of your image shows through. Make sure the positioning ring has slotted into the lower die and is firm or it may be upside down.


Placement of the pressing die

Place the pressing die on top of the positioning ring. Note how most of the pressing die is sticking out of the positioning ring making it higher.

positioning ring and pressing die

So remember, in this order: shell, image then mylar. Positioning ring and then pressing die. To see which way up they go see above.


Pick up die first press

Now swivel the die table so that the left hand die moves to a position under the press and press your button. You will note with the first press that you feel the handle give as it presses your button. No force is necessary just pull the handle down.


First press on multi button maker

Make sure you go all the way down but force is not necessary.

You should have now successfully completed the first press. Now we will transfer the button over to the crimp die to make the second and final press. You know you did it correctly if you got that give in the handle as it shaped your button.


Flip the pressing die

Once the first press is complete remove the pressing die and flip it as you put it down ready for the second press. Remove the positioning ring from the left die and you will see your image pressed into the ring ready to move to the right hand die and to match up with the pin-back.

Positioning ring

This illustrates your positioning ring from the underneath. Your shell is pressed into the ring with your image and mylar. Note the edge of your art and the mylar around the edge ready for the pin-back.  Move carefully to retain the correct position.


Move the positioning ring to the crimp die

So carefully remove the positioning ring with your art from the left hand die and place it over the pin-back in the right hand die. Match the top of the back to the top of your image.

right hand multi-size die

Remember: The position of the art to the pin-back makes a difference to your final button.


pressing die into positioning ring.

You already flipped your pressing die so place it on top of your art. It should slide into the positioning ring. Make sure the curved or button shape surface is face down.

swing the die table

Now you’re ready for the second press. Swing your die table under the press to complete the second press.


Swing the die table

This is not far enough. Swing the die table all the way to the stop. Watch it doesn’t bounce back a little.

Make sure you're in the center of the die

Make sure you’re in the center of the die.


Second and final press

Pull the black handle down all the way in the centre of the die. There is no give on the second press. No force necessary. Just a steady pull all the way down.


button press complete

Once you have completed the second press you can remove the pressing die and the positioning ring and your button will be revealed. Check the pin lines up at the top of the art so the button is straight. If not watch for this on the next button. Make sure you line up the art and the pin. Happy button making!


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Cut button making time in half with a graphic punch. July 04 2013

graphic punch

Button Making: Tecre Graphic Punches

Is it time to invest in a graphic punch for button making - we think so (it will cut your time in half). Graphic punches are used to cut out graphics, paper or photos for button making and are a faster method than traditional "adjustable cutters", scissors or quick cutters.  Tecre graphic punches are of all metal construction, have clear and easy visual centering, are compact and light-weight and require very little force to operate.  And an added bonus is that these graphic punches come with a manufacturer's life-time warranty and are useful for all sorts of fine-art related projects.


Cutting Paper Circles and Blank Paper:

cutting paper circles


 Cutting Custom Button Artwork:

 cutting button artwork


Cutting Magazine Images to make Buttons:

magazine image buttons


Cutting Patterned Paper to make Buttons:

patterned paper buttons

Remember to cut your paper, photos, magazine images or custom button artwork into strips so that they fit to the graphic punch. We carry graphic punches for all sizes of button making.   For a complete list and pricing click here.  Happy Button Making!

paper circle cutting


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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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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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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
Anti-poverty Haiti relief
campaign button fundraising button fundraiser


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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Question: Are the tecre machine molds interchangable or are the units fixed? February 15 2013

Hi  Yes Tecre or all good button makers are fixed.  There are 2 problems with interchangeable die button makers.

  1.  Interchangeable die button makers use a plastic base for the die carrier.  After a short time this wears and the button maker no longer lines up properly.  All good button makers are single die non-interchangeable and they last 25 years.
  2. The 2 common manufacturers of multi die machines are BadgeAminit or of Chinese origin.  Made in China button makers are not North American standard but European standard with sizes in millimetres.  (a) They are very expensive  (b) They are not well made, often using glued pins or white plastic backs.  Badge-A-Minit button parts are equivalent to standard North American Button Parts but they are up to 3 x the price.


I would always recommend a solid metal button maker, no plastic parts (on the button maker or the button parts) and the button maker should be of a standard North American size so that you can use cheap, good quality button parts.  At the end of the day your customers, clients or purchases of your buttons don’t care how you made your buttons.  But they do want an excellent quality all metal button and you want to produce that at the best price – so get a Tecre Button Maker.

Plastic parts in a button maker

Looks all very well but the white plastic base will wear out pretty quickly and the button maker will not align any more


Tecre Button Maker

All metal, solid steel, no plastic – How a button maker should be!


Tecre button maker

Tecre button maker with the distinctive black with red handle.

Syndicated article from The Button GuySyndicated blog from TheButtonGuy.net
This article is reprinted with permission.
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For Your Valentine... February 11 2013

Button Maker 

Nothing says I Love You like a Button Maker :)

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Renting a button maker in Toronto January 19 2013

Renting a button maker in Toronto couldn't be easier.  We all possible sizes of button maker in our rental program from less than an inch to 6 inches.  We have round, square, rectangle, oblong and oval button, badge and pin making machines.

Button Maker Rental Program from $58.04 / day.

Order online

People Power Press
3095 Dundas St West
Toronto, ON M6P1Z9

Tel: 416 204 1984  Open Monday-Friday from 11am to 5pm and Saturdays 11-4

We are open weekdays for button making machine rentals in Toronto. Closed Weekends.  You can pickup a machine and the necessary parts from our store in the Junction from 11am to 5pm.  To rent a button maker you need a credit card and we take a security for the value of the machine on your card.  It is better to call in advance and book your rental so we can also prepare the machines as well as the button parts you will need.  On pick up we will show you how to use the machine if you need it. BUTTON MAKING TRAINING INCLUDED

With our rental service you can rent a wide range of button makers from less than 1” to 6” round as well as oval, square, oblong and rectangular shapes in varying sizes.

Below is a link to our online Toronto Button Maker Rental product.  Rentals include the button maker as well as the corresponding Graphic Punch for circle cutting. You can place your order online. 

Toronto Button Making Rental 

This is the perfect Toronto button making rental opportunity! If you need to rent a button maker in Toronto we have everything you need!

If you have questions please feel free to call us on 416 204 1984 with any questions. Checkout the online order form.

Rent a button maker Toronto

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What printer and what ink would you use for business level quality graphics? January 14 2013

Syndicated Button Guy Blog Syndicated blog from TheButtonGuy.net
The following article is reprinted with
  • What kind of printer do I need to start a custom button making business?
  • What paper is best for making custom buttons?
  • What is the cost of printing custom button?
  • How can I lower the cost of making buttons
Original question:   In your experience with button making what type of printer and ink would you   use for a business level quality graphics? I know that over time ink can sun   bleach and paper can break down, so for a good quality product for my   customers any ideas? I have not started my button side of my business yet but   looking to soon. Love your site btw and thank you for your time. Have a great   day.

Paper choices for Button Makers and Button Making.

Button makers are mostly designed for standard 20lb (75gsm) to 32 lb (120 gsm)paper.  There are some special photo button machines designed for thicker photo paper but in the digital age photo paper is a bit obsolete so the special machines are quite rare and not really necessary.   I think the key to good buttons is that you choose a super white paper, the look and the way it prints being more important than the weight.  That way when you print black (or any other color) on white you have the maximum contrast. I have also found that papers with a gloss finish print well.

When purchasing paper I have always found better prices and quality from commercial print shop suppliers rather than retailers like Staples.  A standard pure white glossy commercial printer paper will do it.  No problem.

Printer choices for Button Makers and Button Making.

Your choice is basically Ink Jet or Laser.  Inkjet will give you better quality for photos and artwork especially if you get a high end Epson but you will pay dearly for the ink. Inkjet or bubble jet have higher resolution than laser. Laser printers are not as good quality but are generally reasonable quality and are much cheaper per page.  I have tried many but I have not found a good quality entry level laser printer (Up to $800) that can compete with the big machines installed in copy shops.  A good copy shop can give you really high quality results but don’t just go in and accept what you’re given. All print jobs need a little tweaking.  Colours can be enhanced, saturation improved.  Find a printer that cares and then give them lots of business.  Remember the quality of the printing can make or break your custom button business.  Once you’ve established your business it becomes time to consider the big expensive photocopier on a 5 year lease with a click charge per 18″ x 12″ print.

If you decide to print from your home or office with a $300 printer that can work too.  Make sure you’re maximizing the page and remember you do not have to print right up to the cut-line.  Save ink and take out any unnecessary color on your artwork that does not show – the buttons are not affected.  See the example below.  These are 1” buttons and 42 buttons fit on each letter size page.  The cut size for 1” buttons is 1.313” but we cut the color short – the white does not show on the button.

print sheet for custom buttons

Also speaking of saving ink, I personally have had no luck with refilling my ink cartridges.  The colors coming out of my printers have always suffered.  I am not supporting Canon, Xerox and the rest for overcharging for their cartridges and I have saved money by refilling cartridges locally but quality always declined. If color is not crucial it’s a good way to go.

Some companies, like Xerox have solid ink printers. These printers are not ideal for button making if you are making custom buttons for clients because the colors are way off and that can be a problem.  Solid ink printers may be good (or not so bad) for the environment but people are often fussy about their corporate logos and business colors and that can lead to problems if your printer cannot match colors on the monitor.

Issues with bleaching and paper deterioration.

I have never found bleaching or  paper deterioration to be a problem.  I have a few buttons that are maybe 20 years old.  Yes the paper changes color but that even adds to the effect for an old button.  You could try using acid free paper but I don’t think it’s necessary, buttons are pretty durable.  I had a store with a south facing window that got direct sunlight all day.  I filled the window with a mosaic of buttons and yes after a year buttons began to fade and after 18 months it was necessary to change them, but that is exceptional exposure for a simple button.

Cost of button printing.

The cost of printing buttons varies tremendously.  I calculated that some photo buttons using a cheap Canon printer ($400) with a 4 colour cartridge system ($440 for 4) were costing $1.30 for a full sheet.  Ouch!   But that was the luxury of doing it at home and not going to a printer and that meant printing costs of 3 cents for a 1” button (42 up) and 8 cents for a 2-1/4” button (9 up).  These days I have an 18” x 12” Xerox @ 8 cents a sheet.   That means the 2-1/4” button print costs 8 cents per 18 buttons as opposed to 8 cents each. The difference in the cost of printing buttons can be huge!  But if you’re selling a custom button service print quality is key.

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Which button maker, badge machine or pin maker would you recommend for a young artist. January 12 2013

Hi Button Guy,   I’m a young artist and lately I have had customers asking for customized   buttons. I really like the idea but I’m not totally sure on where to begin, I   don’t have that much money to spend on a machine and supplies at the moment.   Out of the machines you have tried, which would recommend for a first timer   on a budget? Also, what companies do you recommend getting the supplies from?  Julieann – Indiana

Hi Julieann

I work closely with Button Giant:  http://ButtonGiant.com

They do have a good starter machine. http://buttongiant.com/collections/frontpage/products/2-1-4-t15o-button-maker-hobby-kit-circle-cutter-250-button-parts-and-free-sample-pack   I have tested this kit.  It’s cheap, works well,  But read on!!

As a designer or as an artist, buttons are a great way for getting income, promoting your projects and creating a following. Whilst your designs and style will change and develop over the years, you will be able to use buttons at gallery openings, for website promotion, even as a calling cards or business cards.  The low cost of buttons means if somebody picks up one of your creations and pays $2, $1.90 is your cost excluding labor.  Sometimes it’s better to ask for a donation, then you’ll get $5 or even $25.  Few products offer that kind of margin.  But the most important thing? – People just like buttons.

I would actually recommend not getting the above starter kit unless you are in a real hurry.  I would wait, save your cash and get an all metal button maker that takes low cost, standard button parts.  The starter kit mentioned above will make buttons for a few years but an all metal machine will make buttons for a lifetime – your kids could use it!!

Avoid Button Makers with plastic parts, avoid button makers made in China (expensive parts often with ugly plastic backs), avoid Badge a Minit (expensive parts, starter kits often fail), avoid interchangeable dies (impractical & expensive parts)

Here’s a link to a solid all metal button maker on Button Giant:  http://buttongiant.com/collections/button-makers-and-diy-button-making-kits/products/1-1-4-button-maker-kit-with-graphic-punch-500-button-parts-includes-free-sample-pack

Here’s a link to an article about button making equipment:  Checkout my button maker guide!

Hope it helps!
The Button Guy

Button Maker Kit for artists and designers

A great button making kit for artists and designers




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Buy a kid a button and he’s happy for a day. Give a Kid A Button Maker and you’ve got happiness for a lifetime! December 08 2012

Syndicated Button Guy Blog Syndicated blog from TheButtonGuy.net
The following article is reprinted with

Have you considered giving a button maker as a gift this year?  Christmas, graduation, birthday, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or whatever the occasion, a button making kit will be the gift that inspires!

Button makers are ideal gifts for kids, teens and young adults because, unlike most fads and toys, they will last for years and keep their appeal through the ages and stages of your child’s development. The button designs may change, the button machine just keeps on pressing buttons.

 Children are fascinated by the idea of designing their own buttons.  What better than a creative gift?  Their first button making experience was often at a children’s party or school event but that’s not the same as owning your own button press. Once they see their artwork transformed into a wearable pin or stickable magnet, they’re hooked and can’t get enough. Making buttons encourages young children to be creative and to hone their design and aesthetic senses.

creative gift idea christmas gift, present

Older children love the idea of being able to wear a message they have designed. It gives them a way to tell the world who they are and what they like. As teens move through the school and university system, button makers move with them. Having the ability to produce ‘campaign’ materials for a variety of projects is a bonus during those stages when being included is so important. Button makers become part of social events that encourage teamwork, creativity and collaboration.

 To top it all off, button makers are not expensive relative to their value: a good quality, solid metal machine and circle cutter costs less than $500 and comes with a starter kit with usually more than 500 buttons. After that, button parts are relatively cheap (less than 10 cents a button) and you never need to buy batteries! If given a minimum of care, the machines will last for years and produce thousands of buttons.

holiday gift idea

There are cheaper options, I have seen kits for $189 like this one on Button Giant: $189 button maker kit  This kit works well but this is a hobby kit, if you can stretch to $300 you can get a metal machine that will work in elementary school and then still keep on pressing when your kids in University. $500 gets you the full enchilada.

There are few toys that match button makers for sturdy construction, ease of use, educational and social value, and affordability. Think about getting your kids into button making this year!  A memorable Christmas gift, graduation gift, birthday present or holiday surprise. Whether for Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, a Bar or Bat
Mitzvah, Christmas or New Year,  a button maker is the perfect creative gift.

what to get my kid for christmas kwanzaa, Hanukkah, birthday present

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I am an artist that attends various anime conventions throughout the year – What kind of button maker do I need? December 08 2012

Syndicated Button Guy Blog Syndicated blog from TheButtonGuy.net
The following article is reprinted with

Hi Button Guy

I am an artist that attends various anime conventions throughout the year. I had made a post about purchasing a button maker, in Deviantart’s forum, and you answered it, which I recently responded to. I figured that you may not get on DA frequently so I decided to try and catch you this way. Seeing as I’m going to get a machine within this month.

What I wanted to know is if the T150 model’s 2-1/4 die could be switched out with a 1-1/4 die? The 2-1/4 size is great for the mirrors I’m seriously considering adding to my table but not as buttons. Most of the buyers I’ve had at conventions prefer 1 to 1.5 size buttons. So if the T150 can swap out then I’ll have a 2-n-1 machine, which is exactly what I need.   Nat

comicon comic-con button maker

Hi Nat

 The above picture shows the T150 Hobby Kit for Button Making.  It’s good value! But it is a hobby kit.  Not a pro button maker. Unfortunately the T150 Button Making Kits do not have any options.  I have only seen dies for 2-1/4” buttons.

badge press as seen at comicon

You see the die is metal but the attachments on the Hobby Button Maker are plastic, if you’re knocking out buttons for your anime conventions or Comic-Con, how long will these plastic pieces last? I did not see anyone using a hobby kit at Comic-Con, San Diego or Comicon in Toronto or Vancouver

 As an anime artist going to conventions I would recommend an all metal button maker anyway.  And yes, 1”, 1-1/4” & 1-1/2” buttons are the most popular sizes for anime.

 The higher price is a barrier, but in the long term the metal button maker will last years.  I have a number of button makers at least 8 years old.  The paint has scratched off, they have been extremely well used and they still make a button perfectly every time with little to no maintenance.

 For anime conventions a button maker is a great addition to your product range, find a way to get a solid all metal machine and you won’t look back!

Cheers,  The Button Guy

Website    http://TheButtonGuy.net
Blog         http://blog.TheButtonGuy.net

Directory http://Button-Guy.com

button machine as seen at comicon

The above is a solid all metal button maker available from Button Giant or People Power Press. This is a pro machine suitable for anime conventions, comicon and serious uses. Look at the solid steel dies on this below: These machines just keep on going, they are precise, well made and worth the extra few bucks.

button maker as at comic-con

The perfect button maker, badge press, button machine, pin press or button making kit for anime conventions, fanexpo, comic-con, comicon or wherever you as an amime artist sells your art.

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I've got a shell stuck up inside my button maker - button maker jam! November 17 2012

Syndicated Button Guy Blog Syndicated blog from TheButtonGuy.net
The following article is reprinted with

Great videos! I’ve always had success with the following method. When a shell is
stuck simply remove any parts from the crimp die, spin the die table around as if
you were going to crimp then pull the handle down. The shell will pop right out.
In the 10 years that we’ve been doing custom buttons here at punkit.com this
method has worked for us 100% of the time.

I’ve had some sort of malfunction with the button
press, where the entire apparatus seems to have lifted
off its base.



How to unjam your button maker
- button making machine repair.

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I've had some sort of malfunction with the button press, where the entire apparatus seems to have lifted off its base. November 15 2012

Syndicated Button Guy Blog Syndicated blog from TheButtonGuy.net
The following article is reprinted with

Button Maker Problemo

Hi Button Guy  I came and scooped up one of two 2 1/4” button makers with my mom as you may remember.  I’ve had some sort of malfunction with the button press, where the entire apparatus seems to have lifted off its base.  I’m trying to make buttons with a heavier photo paper and it worked fine once, but this second time, it seems to have jammed the damn thing.  Unless you have a secret tip to help dislodge the thing, perhaps I could bring the thing in and have it diagnosed.  I’ve attached a picture of the press to show you what I mean.  The press part won’t become disengaged from the dome side of the swivel.         Thanks,   John

Jammed Button Maker

Hi John    This is a straightforward jam by the look of it.  But you never know.  It could mean you have more than one shell or mylar stuck inside or it could be your photo paper was too thick.  I’m inclined to think it’s just the parts got doubled up inside.

 You are welcome to swing by with your button maker and I will unjam your button machine.  You could also checkout this video.

 http://thebuttonguy.net/videos.html     At the bottom is unjam your button maker - How to fix a button maker jam.     Let me know if it helps.   The Button Guy

Button Guy, you’re a genius!  I should have consulted the videos straight away.  Problem fixed.  I just didn’t want to take a big hard tool to my wonderful button maker.  But I suppose they’re designed for some hard goings-over! Thanks,   John

Do go steady with your dies John. The inside of the dies are sensitive and yes they are solid metal button makers but you have to be sensible when using a tool to unjam the machine. You do not want to void the warranty or damage the die. Glad it got fixed quickly.  Cheers  The Button Guy

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How do I get people or businesses interested in getting buttons made or using buttons for fundraisers? October 23 2012

Faisal asked

“I’m interested in button making and I design fanart too. How do I get people or businesses interested in getting buttons made or using buttons for fundraisers?”

Thanks for the question Faisal, it’s a big question and I will try to answer it here in short form and at the end I will link to other related articles that I have written.  Cheers!

How do I start my custom button making business?  How do I market my buttons? How do I start a button making business.

1. Create your tools.

2. Identify your market.

3. Create your marketing plan for your launch.

4. Consider timely or seasonal and ongoing strategies.

1.   Create your tools:

Your tools are what you need when you walk in the door the first time to meet a potential customer.

Samples and Business Cards.  Keep samples handy, that way when you see your friends, family or meet new people, you can give them one. They’ll probably compliment the design, at which point you can say “Thank you! I made it myself. If you ever need buttons for an event or business, let me know”. They might not need them right away, but they’ll have you in mind for when they (or someone they know) do. Better yet, make your samples double as your business card: put your contact info on a button and voila! You’ve got a button business card. It can be round, square, or whatever shape and size you want. If you make them as magnets instead of pinbacks, you have the added benefit of the free publicity you’ll get when they put it on their fridge, locker, etc. The 1-3/4” x 2-3/4” rectangular button maker makes great business card sized magnet or pin-back buttons. BUT REMEMBER: if that’s your card, people may ask for the same shape and size, so be ready to buy that machine – or limit your business cards to the size of the button maker you own.

You need a price list.  That means an easy to read, single piece of paper with your prices.   Give price breaks for larger quantities, but don’t go too cheap.  No point making 100,000,000 buttons if you’re going to lose money (and time) on every single one!

You need a website. This can be a free site (such as Wordpress). To start, make sure you have 2 pages: one that says who you are and what you do and the other with your contact information so potential customers can get in touch to place an order. Having a website with your address, phone, etc. increases trust while publishing prices online assures customers they are getting a fair deal.

2.   Identify your market:

You have, in your question, identified fundraisers as a potential market.  Who raises funds?  Community groups, Non-profits, church groups and activist organisations. Start with a list of local groups that you wish to contact.  Send them samples (5 buttons or magnets, or a mix of both, is more than enough) and a pricelist.  If you see an excellent potential client, make them a personalized button and go and meet with them face to face (perhaps at one of their events!).

If you want to sell CUSTOM buttons (meaning, you use or create designs specifically for your customer):

Any local business is a potential customer, canvas your local business area or drop a business card button through the door whilst taking the dog for a walk.  Local small businesses are your best bet when starting out, as big chain stores often buy at head office and not at branch level.

Don’t forget your friends: they are your biggest supporters, probably your first customers, and will be the happiest to tell other people that their friend is in the button making business. Create a personalized button for each of your friends (if they like Godzilla, give them a Godzilla button with their name on it). They will wear it, go forth and spread the word.

If you want to sell YOUR buttons (meaning, you want to sell your own art in button form):

Set up a booth at local farmers’ markets, flea markets, or one-of-a-kind shows.

Create an online store on etsy, ebay, or other online shop.

Do a “crowdfunding” campaign. Rockethub is a great company to help you with this and can give you more information. Simply put, you set a goal for the amount of money you want to raise (which can go towards establishing your button business: maybe you don’t have a machine yet, maybe you want to get another one) and then you promise your donors a product in return for their donation (which you give to them once your campaign is complete). This is a great way to a) get the funds you need to purchase your gear and, b) start establishing a word-of-mouth client base before your business even begins!

Identify potential resellers. Look for stores in your area that could resell for you and take it a step further: ask the local bicycle store if they want to sell bicycle buttons, ask the computer store if they want to sell nerd buttons, ask the pet store if they want to sell animal buttons / fluffy animal buttons / animal rights buttons.  Then use your creative genius to design a set of buttons for them to sell.  Either they buy a box of buttons from you or you negotiate a cut of consignment sales. Talk to them, get their ideas. For example, you could create 5-30 designs for them, laid out on a clean, professional looking board (or in a counter top box or jar) in the store and split the sale 50/50 with the store owner.  You may have to settle with a consignment deal – meaning, you get paid when they sell (so you’ll have to keep an inventory and check in from time to time).  But if the store owner allows a small add on the board that says “I Make Custom Buttons” and contact info, then it could be the beginning of something good.

NOTE: Match the buttons you create to your personality and the personality of the store (and owner) you choose to work with.  If you’re an avid cyclist do cycle stores.  If you’re a tech wiz do computer stores.  YOU WON’T CREATE GOOD PRODUCTS IF YOU’RE NOT INTERESTED!   Example: If you’re allergic to anything furry and hate animals it will be harder for you to identify with animal lovers, likely your buttons won’t be so good.  If you’re an animal rights activist and want to make anti-cruelty buttons (and I’m 100% with you), there is still no point going to the local pet store that sells Chihuahua’s with pink bows if the store owner isn’t an activist.  Put a Chihuahua with a pink bow on a button and you will win that customer.  (Disclaimer:  Here I apologize to all animal activists that have Chihuahuas with pink bows – I have a Pitbull that behaves like a Chihuahua and wears pink bows sometimes.)

3.   Create your marketing plan:

A marketing plan for a new business usually means a $0 budget but there are still free online notice boards, free classifieds, crowd funding possibilities, trade/swop ideas and tabling event possibilities. Follow this simple list, add your own ideas and work through the list. That’s a plan!

Free classifieds: There are many local online noticeboards such as Craigslist and Kijiji. Just go in, use the free option and place some ads. Search for free classifieds online. Some newspapers allow free classifieds but keep it local to start. You can get into shipping, returns, credit card payments etc. later. This may bring an order or two but it’s a good place to start, you begin to formulate in your own mind why you are better, why people should use your service and primarily that will be because you are “local”. People like to deal with neighbours. Don’t just be cheap! Underselling products is a key reason for small business failures.

Tabling, Festivals, Street Parties, Yard Sales:  Tap into your local community, what’s coming up? Setup a table at your neighbours’ yard sale. What about the Christmas fundraiser at the church. Does your local business community run a festival? Talk to the Business Improvement Association. Even if you go there and stand all day and sell just $50, next time your neighbour talks to someone they may just say, “I know someone who makes buttons.”  Do not underestimate how much money you can make at a school or college lunchtime break if you can setup a table. What about a “Make your own button table.” Basically any public event is a potential button marketing event.

Birthday party events for kids:   What about doing birthday party events for kids with your button maker?  It’s simple to organize coloured pens, markers and pre-cut circles for kids to draw on.  Don’t forget to take a few magazines or comics so the kids can cut out the stuff they’re into. Create a craigslist (or other) post specifically about your birthday party services and see what happens!

Trade / Swop: You’re starting out, you have no cash – what if the local church wants $30 for a table – offer them custom buttons instead.  If a local business is willing to trade products or advertising in exchange for buttons, that could be a good way to get the ball rolling and lower your start up costs.

4.   Consider timely / seasonal and ongoing strategies.

Whether it’s for the launch of your business or for ongoing business you’ve got to be timely and seasonal.  As I write, Christmas is looming. So why not offer to put family pictures on a button for people to give out as Christmas gifts or include with their yearly Christmas cards?  In the Spring you want to be thinking about Summer events/festivals and planning ahead.

Here’s a simple framework – I know it’s not rocket science – for how a button maker should be thinking and preparing:

Spring:     Summer events, street festivals, beer gardens, yard sales

Summer:  Back to school

Autumn / Fall: Halloween, Harvest Festival, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah,

Winter:   Christmas, Holiday Season, New Year, New Year Resolutions, Valentines

All year round:  Birthdays, Marriages, Funerals, Graduations, Births.  Also new movies, trends (QR codes), comic books (any new Marvel release) and then the humdinger of them all: ELECTIONS at every level: local school or National Presidential elections all need buttons!

Some final words for reflection and advice:

Starting ANY business takes a lot of legwork to get it up and running.  The most effective advertising is ALWAYS word of mouth.  Do a good job for each customer and they will become your ‘sales representatives’.  It may go wrong occasionally (don’t ignore it!), do what it takes to win that customer back (but remember that once in a while you’ll run into a client that can never be pleased. Don’t take it personally).  Go a step further for your customers: Under promise and over deliver. Establish your customer base and as long as your service and product is good (and fills a need) it will grow naturally without expensive advertising.  Be creative. Don’t try to get too big too quick, steady as she goes and I wish you luck with your new button business! 


The Button Guy Blog on People Power Press

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Using thick Photo Paper in a button maker? Creating photo buttons with my button machines. October 20 2012

  • Robert: I am wondering if there is an adjustment I can make to use photo paper (thick) in a button maker. I would use photo paper exclusively so it could be set up once and left that way. Right now I have some of the badge parts inc machines. Thanks for you help
  • The Button Guy: Hi Robert First thing is size? What size photo buttons do you want to make? Depending on size you may just need to cut your image slightly smaller. That could mean buying a graphic punch sized for photos. Depending as well on what make of button maker you have. The manufacturer can reset some of the sizes, tolerances on your machine but this may be more expensive than just getting a photo button maker, ready sized for photos. So let me know the button size and I’ll let you know what you need to do.
  • Robert: I have a 1 3/4x 2 3/4 oblong model 700 maker from badge parts inc. Is the work on the machine something I could do? I’m pretty handy and have access to lathes, mills etc. Thanks
  • The Button Guy: I do not have a 1-3/4” x 2-3/4” oblong machine from Badge Parts here and I know Joe at Badge Parts does not make all his machines standard so I do not know the exact size. But you could ask Joe at Badge Parts if he can reset the machine. A simpler and cheaper solution is to change the cut size of the cutter. This you can test with scissors. Cut your photo paper so it is not the normal size you would use for a button but cut it smaller so the paper fills the front of the button but does not fold around the back. Experiment with this and you should find the size you need. You want to fill as much of the front of the button as you can but not go around the back. The mylar which is normally the same size as the button image will be larger in this case. The mylar will hold your paper in place. Then make or get a die maker to make you a die that cuts the special size and you’re done. With my 1-3/4” x 2-3/4” oblong machine I can put quite thick paper, even fabric in it anyway but as I say it’s a different manufacturer and possibly a different size.

The two photos show the same button maker. The first shows a circle cut for a photo button.  The second shows a circle cut for a standard button.

circle cut for photo button

  • The Button Guy: Generally speaking button makers can mostly make buttons with relatively thick paper but seeing as most photography is digital today and can be printed on standard 24 lb paper it is quite rare these days to find specially sized photo button makers and photo circle cutters. In most cases as I mention above the solution is just to cut the paper smaller than the mylar so that the paper does not need to fold around. Thicker paper tends to tear on the edge as some fabric does when it is pressed around the button. Sizing the image to the front of the button will normally solve the problem. There are some “specially” sized photo cutters or graphic punches that do just that. They are available for 2”, 2-1/4” and 2” x 3” buttons.

Note how this circle fills the full die whereas the photo button cut above only fills the inner circle of the button maker. This is the same button machine.

circle cut for a standard button

  • What the smaller cut size of a PHOTO CUTTER does is match the inner circumference of the button maker allowing you to still centre your image.
  • There are also some photo button makers in 3”, 3-1/2” and 4” but my advice would be to print your photos on thinner paper and get standard button maker/ cutters. The special photo papers are covered up by a layer of plastic anyway. So there is no great advantage and they are certainly more expensive than standard papers. The best paper for button making is ultra white 20 lb paper.
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