Shrinky Dink paper
Punch or pattern and scissors
Parchment paper and baking sheet
Paper image or stencil
I know I’m hinting to my age when I say that I can remember when I could buy a dozen buttons for a buck – or less. Now, it’ll cost you nearly a buck a button. As I became older, and saw button prices climbing, I decided to learn to make various buttons myself. Now, I’ve made wooden buttons, sweater buttons, and more. The tiny-yarn-ball sweater buttons were one of my favorites. But then, I discovered Shrinky Dink buttons. They’re cheap, fun to make, and can have any theme or color(s) that you want. Make your own buttons; you’re going to love them!
If you’ve never done a Shrinky Dink kit you don’t know what you’ve been missing. Cut from plastic sheets, Shrinky Dinks are first cut into the shape that you like, colored to look how you want them to, and then shrunk in an oven. The reasoning is that it’s much easier to draw and color a large picture than to try to make an image on a tiny piece of plastic. The concept gives you the perfect opportunity to create your own garment buttons.
Although you can purchase clear Shrinky Dink paper, the frosted type is much nicer as buttons. A circle punch is so useful but if you don’t have one you can draw around an object, like a dime, a quarter, or even a button. In fact, a button can be helpful to ensure that the holes of each new button are in perfect alignment, but you could also use a punch. Just remember that the plastic circles you cut will shrink considerably; there’s a guide within the kit or Shrinky Dink paper package.
Lay the cut plastic shape on a picture and trace with colored pencils. Another option is to use a stencil. Create a picture, a letter, a word, a number, or any other design. Keep in mind that lettering must be done backwards in order to be in correct order when the shrinking process is finished. After doing the images in colored pencil trace over them in permanent marker. (Hint: cut a small piece of Shrinky Dink paper, scribble on it with a permanent marker, then bake. Some markers perform better than others and this test will help you decide how the finished coloring will look.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, lay the plastic buttons out on a baking sheet (covered in parchment paper), and bake. At first, the designs will curl and twist. When they’ve done that, and are then lying flat, they’re finished. Sew them onto clothing and garments but be prepared; you’re going to have a lot of people asking you where you got such unique buttons.