Getting Started

Posted by Rebecca on 3/29/2018 to How-To
Getting Started
Buttons are a great way to get your message, logo, or brand out there. Making them yourself can allow you to make your take-away in the most cost effective way. At minimum you will need the following to get started making buttons:

  • a way to design and print or draw designs on paper
  • a way to cut your designs into circles
  • a button making machine
  • button supplies


DESIGN

- Online Software -
Button Design Software
We offer an online design tool for $10 a month (3 months for free when you buy a button maker from us!)

- Photoshop Templates -
We also offer free downloadable button design templates for popular programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

- Free Software -
If you don't have any design software and are on a budget, here is a video on how to use a free software, Open Office Draw, to design buttons.

PRINT

- Inkjet -
Once you have your button graphics designed, you need to print them. To get started, a standard inkjet printer is a great option. You just need to make sure that the paper that you're using is the correct paper for your printer. Inkjet printers have super-high resolution which makes tiny button graphics more legible than some consumer-grade laser printers. But the way inkjet printers achieve this is with tiny dots of ink on special coated paper. The paper holds the dots and keeps them looking crisp. If you use regular ol office paper in your inkjet printer, the ink dots will spread and look real bad. So, you need to use inkjet paper, but there is no reason to use thick glossy paper for buttons. You'll want to look for a thinner paper, 20-30lbs or so, that's made for "graphics" "presentations" or 3 star ratings, etc.

- Laser -
If you're using a laser printer, the paper doesn't really affect the quality of the images in the same way. Just use a bright white paper. Again, stay away from super thick card stocks.

- Draw -
Another fun option is to draw your own. We often bring button makers to parties with pre-cut circles and just let attendees go to town with crayons and markers. Kids love this option!

CUT CIRCLES

- Graphic Punch -
Button Circle Cutter Punch
Our graphic punches work like a big hole punch. You cut your printed graphics into strips and punch them out by pushing a handle down. It's a fast and easy option and if you are making buttons for resale, your time is money and this thing will pay for itself in the time savings. It's also super accurate so if you are concerned about quality, you'll want to go with this option.

- Rotary Cutter -
The adjustable rotary cutter can be set to 1 inch, 1.5 inch, 2.25 inch, 3 inch, and 3.5 inch button sizes. It is a good option if you want to make several different button sizes. It takes quite a bit longer to cut circles as compared to the graphic punch, and it's less accurate. Also it uses blades that need to be replaced every so often.

- Scissors -
If you've got a lot of time and not a lot of money, you can totally go at it with scissors or an exacto. Though I don't recommend this, it is doable in a pinch.

BUTTON MAKER

Button Making Machine
A Professional Button Making Machine from ButtonMakers.net is an essential piece of equipment for making buttons. It's sturdy, US made, and backed by a lifetime guarantee. Each machine makes just one button size. The small ones, 7/8, 1 inch, 1.25, and 1.5 inch tend to appeal more to teens and young adults. The medium sized ones, 1.75, 2.25, and 2.5 are most often used for political campaigns, and non-profits. The 3 inch, and 3.5 inch sizes are often used for photo buttons and memorial buttons.

BUTTON SUPPLIES

Button Supplies
We carry the highest quality US manufactured button supplies. When you order

You will want to make sure to buy the supplies that are the right size for your machine. Button Makers does carry a couple of Badge-A-Minit sizes that do not work with our button machines. But for the most part the supplies we carry work with the machines we carry. If you have a machine you bought elsewhere, please check our Parts Compatibility gallery or order samples before making a purchase.

When you order "Button Supplies" from us, you always get all the pieces you need to make a button, that's usually Shells, Pinned Backs, and Mylar. For 1 inch and 7/8 inch sizes, that's Shells, Mylar, Collets, and Lockpins. The only time you would not get complete sets is if you order from the "Bits-N-Pieces" section.