Making Polymer Clay Buttons For Sewing, Knitting & Scrapbooking

Polymer Clay Buttons “My interest is in learning to make unique polymer clay buttons for quilted wall hangings and pillows.” ~Robin-R

Since polymer clay buttons are such a close relative to polymer clay beads, it makes sense to include them here at the blog. They can be used in place of normal buttons for sewing projects, knitting, crochet and quilting. They can also be used as interesting accents in paper crafts as well as in jewelry designs.

Durability is an important considerations when making polymer clay buttons. They will have to be strong enough so as not to crack or break with normal wear and tear. Plus the finish must hold up against washing machine detergents and clothes dryer heat.

Thickness, overall size and hole size are important design elements to think about. Thin buttons can work for scrapbooking, but they are not so good for sewing onto clothes. Will the button be functional or just for decoration? Are you using brads instead of thread to fasten the buttons? If so, make sure the button holes are large enough.

There are so many creative options for designing polymer clay buttons, that it is not surprising they have become quite popular over the last few years.

My interest is in learning to make unique polymer clay buttons for quilted wall hangings and pillows. Do you have any videos featuring button making? Thank you Cindy. ~Robin-R

Hi. Love your videos.. Do you have info on making buttons. I fell in love with a tree frog button at a quilt show but didn’t want to pay 8.00 per button for something less than an inch long, even through they were adorable. ~Dolores-D

Cindy, I got a couple of good ideas from your course that improved my buttons immensely! I love your videos. ~Joan-D

You can create your handmade buttons using many of the surface techniques and cane designs that I’ve been teaching, including:

I just love the Faux Raku style beads especially the crackled ones. They would definitely make great buttons! And I agree they are earthy and organic looking. And I usually have to touch beads because I love the texture and the colors so these are fantastic! Keep it coming! ~Lupe-M

I thought I was the only one that loved to plunge my hand into a bowl of beads just to feel them. I do the same thing with buttons. Cindy do you ever make polymer clay buttons? Take care. ~Susan-K

Lupe and Susan, I’m exactly the same when it comes to touching and feeling beads and buttons. There’s just something about it that is so wonderful and comforting!

Did you know… that many of the handmade polymer clay buttons sold by artists on Etsy and Artfire, are listed for as much as $38 a piece! Kind makes you wanna make your own buttons, doesn’t it!?

If there is enough interest in this topic, I will add it into the next round of video tutorials at the members library. Cast your “vote” in the comments section below. And if there is anything specific about polymer clay buttons that you would like to know, or if you have special requests, let me know that too.

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** Win Some Polymer Clay Beads: Handmade by Cindy Lietz.
Time to send in your photo entires: Polymer Clay Giveaway Contest

For anyone who wants to follow along from beginning, the following link will take you to a summary of all the articles in this fun and educational Polymer Clay Bead Giveaway series.

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Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


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Comments

  1. My friend at work, with whom I share an office, keeps suggesting that I try making buttons and cufflinks with the small disk beads that I use for necklaces. So a tutorial from you on buttons would be simply wonderful! My vote is “YES”!

  2. I recently approached local shops about selling my jewelry. Their initial concern was they already sell so much jewelry; yes indeed it all looks alike. After seeing what I made they decided this was A LOT different and want in in their store. I want to continue exploring other projects to expand my offerings. Button sounds like a great idea.

    Anna-being smothered in by snow in Des Moines, Iowa.

  3. Hi Cindy and all, I am back again after my holiday and raring to go: so much to catch up on i will be on your site for ever looking at the videos etc. I have made buttons before, some flowers and some with a crystal in the centre. I was very pleased with the results, although matching the colour with shop buttons was a problem. I only used them on hand wash garments. How good if we could use them in the washing machine I don’t see why not on a cool wash. I vote yes please for a video tutorial.

  4. Oh, me too for the tut!!

    On a related note I would love to hear about people’s experiences selling at bead (and button) shows. I placed my beads at a church bazaar late last year and they sold well. I also sold some (on consignment) in a shop here in El Paso with good results. I am now thinking of doing a larger (and expensive) bead show later this year. It makes sense to me that pc beads ought to sell like hotcakes, being so beautifully unique and different from the usual bead show fare, but then I wonder if people would be willing to pay for their worth. (Cindy, knowing that people offer single buttons for $38 is encouraging).
    Anyway, any and all advice, feedback, recommendations would be most appreciated. As I am jewelry design challenged, bead shows make more sense for me. Thank you.

    • @Elizabeth S.: Elisabeth, At the sale at my church on Sunday the PC did very well. Over half of the items sold were PC – the rest my wire art. I did note that none of the beaded pieces sold, but the pendants were very popular. It could be just the opposite next time around. I try to keep the prices down, especially in this economy … and I don’t have Don hovering over my shoulder saying, ‘Double that price!’ He always said I priced my work too low and if it is too low people will not think about the art factor. I did sell one African turquoise cabochon set in sterling bangle for $148. It was a complex pieces and the guy who bought it for his Valentine, recognized the art work involved. With my PC pendants, they were in the $20-30 price range. People did know that I made everything myself and some commented on the very reasonable prices. Go figure!

      • Carolyn,
        First of all, thank you so much for your encouraging response and more importantly, congratulations on a very successful show!! I chuckled when reading about your hubby chiding you for pricing your pieces too low. Mine does that all the time-how wonderful that we have such support for our art, right? I’m so happy for your success-the valentine who receives your cabachon is lucky indeed. You have provided some guidelines that are so helpful and I am most grateful and appreciative.@carolyn:

  5. Wow! I just recently turned my interest to buttons and have made a few sets now. I would love pointers on making buttons and I’m going to have to try out these buttons that I have already made for durability.

  6. I’ve always loved sorting through button collections too. Count me in, I’d love to see how these are made. I’ve been curious, but wasn’t sure how or if the buttons would hold up strength-wise. $38 for a button, wow!

  7. Thanks so much everyone for being so responsive. I really appreciate it! Keep those votes coming!

    @Ritzs – It’s so great to have you back! Everyone missed you around here.

    Add if you have not yet read the comment/question from Elizabeth-S above, please have a look-see. She is asking for tips and advice on how to sell buttons at bead or jewelry shows. If anyone has had success in this area, or has read about selling ideas that have worked for others, please do share your thoughts.

    “What goes around comes around” is one of those “Laws of the Universe” that is always working in the background. So, if you are able to offer feedback when someone asks a questions, chances are great that you will also get quick answers and support when you need help with something down the road. This community is for you guys to benefit from. Let’s make it the best it can be for polymer clayer’s everywhere.

    Cue music… “We are the World…” :-) :-)

  8. I make a lot of buttons, and I believe they hold up very well to washing, I’ve never had any complaints. I recommend not to iron over them (the heat might scorch them) and I’ve heard you shouldn’t dryclean them, so I recommend that to people who buy my buttons, just to be on the safe side.

    Use a brand of clay known for strength, and bake them long, I do for an hour. Make sure the holes are big enough (you can enlarge them after baking with a drill bit) and not too close together, or the bridge between might be weak.

    To all you with snow – it’s hot here in New Zealand.

  9. Such pretty buttons! I’d love some pretty polymer buttons on my clothes! Plus, you can still make jewelry with buttons…

    Ahhh, “We Are The World” always gives me the chills (& brings a tear to my eye!) It was such an amazing, powerful thing at the time. There have been other big events like this since — but none have the effect on me that this original does. (Well, “Band-Aid” was the original, but this was America’s first.) The look Huey Lewis gives Cindy Lauper is priceless, though. A bit of comic relief in this “moving” song. I was always impressed that although Lionel Richie co-wrote it with MJ, he only sang a small part at the beginning. He stepped back and let everyone else sing the spotlights. Another “funny” thing about this song is it’s one of the few where you can actually hear the lyrics Bob Dillon’s singing!

  10. WOW! I was just thinking about making some buttons! This sounds awesome! I know there is quite an interest in custom made buttons. Can’t wait!!

  11. Yes, being to understand the lyrics of Bob Dillon is amazing; he is a brilliant lyricist. I hope you understand when I say we are AMAZING generation and so lucky to live during this time; although a very difficult era of circumstance. I hope to soon see the new We Are The World Video.

  12. Hi Cindy! You are so sweet! I’m so glad the book arrived and can’t wait to get your feedback! :) By the way, any snow you would like to have from Ohio is all yours!! :)

  13. @Anna: Yes, Bob is an amazing lyricist, his songs are poetry. It’s funny how some of his older tunes are renowned for their indecipherable lyrics, though. I, too, am looking forward to the new “We Are the World (for Haiti.)” There was a blip about it on E.T. or Extra (one of those) tonight on TV and it was sooo exciting to see some of the new lineup.

    They are not having ANY repeat performers. Supposedly they’re trying to make it about the new generation, but they have lots of “older generation” talents like Barbra Streisand, Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole, Tony Bennett, Brian Wilson, Carlos Santana, the Wilson sisters of Heart, etc. They’ve got some powerhouse divas, like Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Pink, Babs (above,) etc. I heard part of Josh Groban’s solo today — his voice is so amazing! This time there will be a hip-hop break in the song, written by Black-eye Peas’ Will.I.Am. I just realized I don’t need to go on about this — you can read all about it in lots of places. I just think it’s just going to be really cool. Thanks, Cindy, for putting the song here. I’ve been singing it all day (& now I don’t have to wait long for the next one…)

  14. Everyone is complaining about snow across the US. We need to somehow get some to Vancouver – they need it for the Olympics! Hmmm, but how to ship snow…

  15. Thanks for the feedback everyone! Glad to hear you’re up for this one!

    PS. Great to see your face around these parts Ken! You must be busy right now in the theater since we haven’t seen you as much lately. Hope things are well with you!

  16. Yes a show, but it seems Philadelphia is getting all of Vancouver’s snow this year, we had a 20+ storm in Dec., and in one week in Feb, 24+ and 15+, it has become the snowiest winter on record (mind you the Dec. storm gave us our snowfall total for the winter) I’m so tired from digging out that when I’m not at work I go to bed early. Thanks for the concern, been keeping up with the blog and videos at work during lunch. Loved the changable bead pendant, so cool.

    • @Ken H: Yes, Ken, I’ve heard first hand about your snow. My son and daughter-in-law (Jonathan Fiene & Katherine Kuchenbecker) are on the faculty at UPenn. I plan to motorhome back there (from Lake Tahoe, NV) this Spring/Summer, Lord willing. I’ll be claying my way across the country. Maybe we can connect when I am there. It would be real cool to actually see another artist’s work – as well as getting a chance to meet in person. We can also keep in touch on facebook.

  17. NEW PHOTOS ADDED:
    Hi Guys,

    Polymer Clay Projects

    Some new project pictures that relate to the topic of this page (polymer clay buttons), have just been added in another post. The link by my name will take you to where you can see full size photos along with descriptions and stories about each one.

    BTW: Thanks to everyone above who took the time to comment. Your feedback and support is always such a wonderful part of my day.

  18. Hi Cindy,

    Your video polymer clay basics course is extremely helpful – it’s one thing to read instructions (via magazines and books, and from various websites), but it’s another thing to actually have a kind voice (especially another Canadian!) walking you through the steps. I’m an “in-your-face” kind of person – so learning comes so much easier when I’m able to see what needs to be done, to see the finished product, and hear suggestions along the way.

    I don’t use a laptop, but I make notes – each and every video has given me a piece of information that I didn’t know (who would have thought to use crayons for colouring! – yes, colouring with a ‘u’ even though my spellchecker doesn’t like it)!

    I’ve tried my hand at many various crafts over the years – from painting children’s clothes, teaching ceramics in Ottawa, selling my wheat weaving at the Kitchener Farmer’s Market, woodcarving (whoops – arthritis in the hands – couldn’t do that one for long), chainmail jewelry (hands didn’t like that one either) – but when I was introduced to polymer clay, my creative juices began to flow … the sky’s the limit with this product and with you putting me on the right path with your videos, I can see endless possibilities (silly thing to say, but I never even contemplated making buttons!)

    So, in a nutshell – yes, this is a very beneficial video course! I thank my lucky stars for the day that I happened onto your site!

    Keep up the Great Work!

    Gail

  19. Gail – Thank you so much for taking the time to write those very kind words. Sharing feedback like this really gives others great insight about what they can expect from the video tutorials. I truly appreciate your help.

  20. I noticed there doesn’t seem to be a link on this page to the actual Button Video Tute, or at least the page showing the preview, and the comments about the Button tutorial. I loved this video, so I want others to be able to see it, too! If you haven’t checked this out, you should! IMHO, of course. LOL ~Kat ;D

  21. Dear Cindy,

    I wanted to thank you so much for being my polymer tutor. First off, I feel like you are speaking directly to your students in a friendly and professional way, never condescending or patronizing. You speak in a very conversational manner, and it is greatly appreciated.

    In your Polymer Clay Beginners Course, I like the way you have set up your videos and the production quality is excellent. Your explanation and demonstrations are very thorough and I know if there are questions I can look on the blog or email you. Thank you for your ongoing support.

    I like buying the back issue videos and appreciated the discount you gave.

    I am a big knitter but feel that I was not actualizing my creative self with just following patterns, now with my idea to create complementary buttons, I feel much more of my creative spirit. I have slowly been amassing my clay and tools and feel ready to go, but it is great knowing I can just log on and refresh myself with your videos and tutoring. Much better for me than books.

    Thanks again, Leigh in Markham Ontario Canada

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