Syndicated Blog from The Button Guy

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

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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Ponytail holders – Make Hair Elastics with your button maker December 08 2012

The great thing about a button maker is that it takes you as far as your imagination goes.  There’s so much you can do with a button maker and this article explains how to make ponytail elastics.

Most people make pin-backs with their button makers but center hole button parts are widely available.  You need centre hole backs and then you need welded up eyes.

shell, mylar, centre hole backWelded up eye close up

Welded up eye – Use with center hole backs to make ponytail elastics.

Once you’ve put your design on a centre hole button with a welded up eye poking out you can loop your hair elastic through the loop of the welded up eye. Bingo!

Hair elastics, ponytail holders

Hair elastics with centre hole button

welded up eye for ponytail elastics

Where can I buy ponytail elastics – Best bet is your local dollar store.

Where can I buy centre hole backs and welded up eyes?  In the US   In Canada

Where can I get further info on how to make stuff with my button maker?  Video’s

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How to make personalized gifts for Christmas with your Button Maker – Button Making Ideas! December 08 2012

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

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

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

To make mirrors you need:

mirror button parts

Here’s a video explaining how to make mirrors:

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

attaching ribbon to a button maker

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

using elastic to make christmas tree decorations

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

Attaching ribbon to a mirror button

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

christmas tree decoration

Mirror buttons as Christmas tree decorations

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

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

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

This is what slot back buttons with tabs look like:

slot back button with tab

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

Happy crafting!

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Putting QR Codes on buttons or magnets – Why? How? December 08 2012

QR Codes or Quick Response codes and buttons are a marriage made in heaven.


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 and see where you end up!

QR code button making techniques

How to generate your QR code artwork for a button.  There are dozens of free code generators online.  Try this one  or just search for one online.

What are QR codes

QR-Code in a Newspaper

“QR-Codes are two dimensional barcode (datamatrix) that is designed to have its contents decoded at a high speed.” source

With the technology of mobile phones constantly advancing, especially within mobile internet, QR-Codes are the perfect solution to quickly and efficiently bring mobile phone users onto the mobile web. QR-Codes can be used to store all kinds of data including web addresses. QR codes can also be used on:

  • Buttons ( pins, badges)
  • Fridge magnets, locker magnets
  • Magazines
  • Papers
  • Business Cards
  • Buses
  • Signs
  • T-shirts

How QR-codes Work?

Take a mobile phone such as an iPhone, android or blackberry or any phone with a digital camera. Take a photo (or scan) the QR code to capture a picture of the QR-Code.  The in built QR-Code software decoder will then transform the data into an action by the mobile phone, such as:

  • Connect to a web address
  • Download a MP3
  • Dial a telephone number
  • Prompt your email client with a sender address

This is done in a millisecond making the transformation from a users mobile phone to the mobile web instantaneous.

How to put a QR-code on a button

Putting a QR-code on a button is not really different from putting anything on a button.  You need a good quality artwork and you need a reasonable printer. Artwork can be generated online.  Just decide on the url you want to link to, fill out a simple online form and most sites email you back a .png file instantly.

Try this free online QR-code generator

Layout your sheet as you would normally.  Of course a square button is great, especially if you have a square button maker or if you are getting your buttons custom made by a pro, they will have a square button machine, but a round button will also work fine.

Add some text for the visual:  What about “Scan me”,  “Follow me” or “special offer”

You can use colour – they do not have to be black – but whatever you do TEST your qr-code before you make a bunch of buttons.  Make sure your code works!!


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