As you can see, my banner above is full of buttons, beads and embellishments. Those are all made of polymer clay. Well I’ve been busy in the workshop making some to show you. I thought I would show you how to make my buttons.
Some call me a texture queen cuz I just love textures. In clay and on my mixed media canvases, pushed into molding pastes, built up by using stencils.. I’m in love.
So, let’s have some fun, shall we?
Safety note: Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after working with the clay. Also, work in a well ventilated area when using the oven when baking the clay. Make sure your oven is regulated. If it spikes, it may burn the clay which will give off fumes. You may want to test the temperature by using a separate thermometer to show exact temp before you put your clay in the oven. Please visit this site for everything polymer clay such as baking, brands, conditioning, safety, etc. Just search via the index to the left.
What you’ll need:
- 1 package polymer clay (I like Premo or Fimo Soft). I used a beige color to get the results I want, but you really can use any color; it’s your world. A whole package will make several buttons.
- textures: rubber stamps, jewelry, other buttons, doily, etc..
- baby powder or water
- brown acrylic paint
- dedicated oven for baking polymer clay
- knitting needle or wooden skewer to make the button holes
- Future Floor Wax or any other sealer or varnish
- don’t forget rags, paper towels, too
- optional: rubber gloves
Start out by conditioning your clay in her hands until soft and pliable. I also have a dedicated electronic pasta machine to help with conditioning.
Depending on how big you want your buttons, make a log out of your conditioned clay. Cut these into equal pieces if you want them to be all the same, and then roll into balls and then press with your finger to make a disc. You can also use something flat, like a jar lid to smoosh it down.
Now, here is where the fun comes in. Take your discs and start to impress them (maybe do a dance or tell a joke; just kidding) with objects or rubber stamps. I am using a rubber stamp sheet that is flexible.
Sandwich in it between the sheet and press down making the textured impression.
Well, lookie there. Are you excited yet?
Do this to all your discs, using the other textures… Here’s an old plastic doily that I pushed the clay into with a plastic lid.
Excited? Okay, I’m exhausted.. I’ll do one more… tough crowd.
Now make your button holes using your knitting needle, wooden skewer or whatever suites your fancy.
Once you finish these steps with ALL your discs, it’s time for the shakin and bakin.. well, we’re not gonna shake, but we are going to bake.
Here are your buttons, ready to go in the oven. I use a ceramic tile.
Bake these according to your clay package directions and visit the site I mentioned above in my “safety note”.
The timer has gone off and the baked clay is cooled, right? Let’s keep going…
Here they are baked and cooled.
Feel like getting messy? You may want to wear rubber gloves… or not… up to you.
Now, it’s time to antique them. Take your brown acrylic paint and smoosh (there’s that word again) it into the grooves and crevices of the textures.
With a lightly dampened rag, wipe off the excess on top, so all that’s left if the paint in the deep textures. This will also give the clay a golden vintage look.
Let dry completely or you can speed it up with a hair drying or heat gun, moving over it in a fanning fashion. Note: make sure your push your hole maker thingamajiggy back in the baked holes, as the paint will get in the and they need to be free of it.
Here they are all “antiqued” and “vintagy” (is that word? it is now) looking. I threw in a few turquoise buttons, one of my favorites. Now tell me you’re excited.
One last step…….
Get out your varnish and brush on one coat on the buttons, front and back.
Let the varnish/future dry, or you can use your heat gun again.
Here they are finished. So purdy.. I see you smiling.. you ARE excited?
Here are a few other techniques. I used a burgundy clay with a gold antique, a black clay with turquoise antique and then the red button was baked with no texture then I stamped on it with a rubber stamp with black ink stamp pad.
You can certainly sew these button on sweaters or make smaller ones for shirts. They can be washed, but in cold water and put the garment inside out.
My main uses are to use them in my mixed media art. However, it you can make charms, bracelets, necklaces, mosaics. … Make a colorful bunch and fill up a glass jar.. put them in a cool looking bowl..just imagine.
Here is a small canvas I did with wire sewing one clay embellishment and thread sewing a button. They are great for chunky journals too.
I hope you liked this tutorial. I have such fun making these pieces. They look so beautiful all in a pile; as you can see from my banner.
Please let me know if you have any questions… or have any feedback.
Please share this with your friends; it’s such a fun project with beautiful results.
Thanks for stopping by.
Next up……. Polymer Clay Artist Trading Cards (ATC’s) Workshop. Don’t miss it!