Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Buttons. Rated PG13, for some blood and disturbing images.

This how I make my buttons. 

Basic soldering skills, a few tools and some Band-Aids are all that are needed. Once you have the idea down you can go to town with your designs and stop relying on other sources to get the jewelry supplies you're looking for.

I use shears, a disc cutter, a dapping block and a cordless, hand held, dremel. You can figure out different ways to get similar effects without them but if you are interested in making your own jewelry it's worth your while eventually investing in some decent tools. I also use an acetylene torch which is fine for me at the moment. There are lots of different torches out there, some more expensive and some less so. If you don't want to invest in a larger torch, or you worry about blowing up your studio, especially if your torch is in the same room as your kiln and you forget to turn it off sometimes, you can buy - this, but, in general, I find the hand held torches to be a bit disappointing for soldering.

Anyway, this is just a basic, step by step, how to, which, if you are already pretty handy at making jewelry you are not going to want to bother reading - unless you're here for the gore of course.

Note, I'm pretty much a wing it gal so please play more safely than I do :)

Start with scraps. Cut copper discs and place the scraps on top. Both discs and scraps should be cleaned or sanded at the points of contact. Use flux and a little solder to fuse together.


Cut the edges of the scrap copper flush with the discs. Use shears - but don't do this. If you do, make sure you clean the cut well and wrap your finger in a Band-Aid, as I did :)


Sand the edges of your discs and any rough surfaces. Now the discs can be domed into a button shape or left flat if you so wish.


Using 16 gauge copper wire create small loops with round nose pliers. Cut along the base to create your button loop.


Solder loop onto back of discs. Again, both surfaces that you wish to solder together should be clean. Cutting along the base of the loop is enough to clean the wire but you will have to sand the inside of the domed button. Also, don't forget the flux and the solder, I used a little too much solder here but I wont tell if you don't.


Voila! Buttons!


O.K. I know, your buttons didn't quite turn out like this. When everything above is done you will probably end up with a grungy, blackened button. That's fine if you like grungy, blackened buttons and sometimes a piece will definitely benefit from one, but, if you want buttons that are warm and red and cozy, like the ones pictured above, there is one more step. 

Clean the buttons. (You could clean the buttons in pickle but I don't bother, I just roughly sand most of the black off.) Cover the top of the button with a coat of flux and heat it again until it is glowing red. Once it is red, quench the button in cold water. This can be a bit tricky as the loop underneath might come off in the heat, but with a bit of practice it'll be fine. Trust me.

Buff the copper with a thin coat of wax to seal and enjoy.


  1. You make it sounds so easy (with the exception of the finger injury LOL)

  2. :) i was thinking of doing another 'how to' but i'm not sure my body can take any more injuries ...

  3. I really should give this a try next time I need buttons. I'm notorious for having to make ready-bought my own anyway so maybe starting from scratch is the way to go. Thanks for the info.

  4. So glad I found your blog....I'm an instant fan!