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Polymer Clay Buttons

Polymer Clay Buttons main article image
Posted on July 23, 2021 by Samantha Cullen
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Are you a button fanatic? They provide the perfect finish to your textile projects, whether that’s by giving them a fun accent colour or by subtly complementing the rest of your work. How great would it be if you had every size, colour, and design of button, ready and waiting for you to pluck out and finish that cardigan with? Well, guess what? You can!

My love for polymer clay is twofold; the process of creating is so soothing, it’s just like playing with Play-Doh as a kid! But unlike with Play-Doh—where you squish everything back together at the end—you can bake and keep your creations and end up with fun jewellery, ornaments or, in this case, buttons!

The options are endless; you can create simple yet striking designs, or go all out with intricate designs of cute animals. If you can imagine it, polymer clay will help you to bring it to life.

I use Sculpey Premo, which is a slightly harder clay and takes a little bit more work to soften it up, but it’s much better at holding its shape with finer details than some of its softer counterparts. Baking paper is a great work surface as the clay doesn’t stick to it when you’re rolling and cutting it. You can also cook it on the same paper. It needs to be cooked at 130ºC for fifteen minutes per 6 mm. Most buttons are unlikely to be much thicker than this, so as a general rule you can stick with this time.

Here are a few different designs and the techniques I used to achieve them. I hope that they inspire you to make some of your own!

Marbled

This technique is great because you can achieve so many different looks by changing up the colours you use, or even the amounts of each colour. You could use equal amounts of each colour, or have one main colour and one or two accent colours. Start with two or three colours, then next time, if you like the idea, try adding more. It’s usually more effective to use fewer colours.

Take your chosen colours and roll them out into logs. Lay them next to each other and twist them together into one strand. As it gets thinner fold it over itself and twist it again. Repeat the fold and twist once more, then roll it into a smooth log.

Break or cut pieces off in the size that you want each button to be. Gently roll them into a circle, then flatten them into a disk using your fingers or a rolling pin. You could also roll the whole piece out and cut circles out with a cutter. Once you have the shape, use a toothpick, pencil or another similar tool to make your holes. Typically you should have two or four holes, but as these are your own creations, you’re the boss! Just make sure that your holes go all the way through and are wide enough for you to sew them onto your project.

marbled

Striped

Choose the colours you want to use and soften them up with your fingers. Roll the colours into strands. Lay them next to each other tightly in your preferred pattern. Using a rolling pin, roll it to your desired thickness. This also serves the purpose of sticking the different colours together, so make sure that they are well joined otherwise they might break apart after they’re cooked!

Cut your buttons into whichever shape you like, and make your holes!

striped

 

Metal Leaf

Gold, silver and bronze leaf give you an easy way to make your projects just that little bit fancier. It comes in super thin and delicate sheets, but it’s really easy to apply. To get that lovely crackled look apply pieces of the leaf to your buttons, either in small pieces or covering the whole thing. Next, carefully roll over it with the rolling pin. Done! Tweezers make this job much easier.

metal leaf

Flowers

These flowers are super simple yet effective. You could make them all the same, or in a variety of colours. Add details like metal leaf or multicoloured petals to give them a different look.

Using a heart cutter, cut four hearts for the petals of your flower. Cut them a little bit thicker than you want them to be when they’re finished as you will need to roll them. Using a toothpick or the point of a knife, (very carefully!) score the edges of the hearts where they will be joining together. Carefully press them together so that you don’t lose their shape. For the centre of the flower, roll a small piece of clay into a ball and push it onto the flower. Using your rolling pin, lightly roll the entire flower a little. This helps to make the joins even stronger. Make two or four holes in the centre.

flowers

Little Foxes

How cute are these little guys!? They are so perfect for a little kids jacket or bag. I know my little ones were fascinated with them!

Start by making a drop shape with your main colour for the tail. Curve the tip of the tail slightly upwards. Roll a slightly smaller piece into a ball for the head. Flatten it into a circle, then push the top of it down to shape the ears.

Score the back of the head and the front of the tail where they join, and firmly but carefully push them together.

Next, the white accents of the eyes and tail! Roll a piece of white clay quite thin. Lay the edge of the circle over the tip of the tail and cut around the edges. Press the edges down. Cut pointed oval shapes for the eyes and press them onto the edges of the face.

Roll very thin pieces of black for the eyes. For such delicate pieces it’s much easier to use tweezers than fingers. You want to make little ‘u’ shapes for the closed eyes, and a small black dot for the nose.

To turn the little cutie into a button, make two holes underneath the head.

foxes

I hope that you’ve found some inspiration in this post! I would love to hear what wonderful designs you come up with too!


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