Making buttons isn’t quite as easy as you might think. I didn’t pick up a book to learn from or take a class or workshop – I’ve learned on my own, all along the way. In fact, until I started making these buttons last year, I had never worked with polymer clay. At all!
My first buttons and my most recent buttons are two different animals. Over the course of this last year, I’ve learned so much about working with polymer clay, glazes, polyurethane, my dremel, acrylic paint and mica, etc.
My current process is rather long and I’d love to shorten it:
- Condition clay
- Impress with design, cut out buttons
- Bake (cure)
- Bake (cure)
- Completely cool
- Measure/drill button holes
- Sand (wet sand, using increasingly fine levels of grit, from 400 to 3000)_
- Several coats of polyurethane
I started experimenting with my dremel’s abrasive buffs this weekend (between bouts of coughing and sneezing), which are a great way to skip a few steps of sanding. One buff is used up, though, in just a few buttons.
Then I remembered Nick’s suggestion to me last year about using scrubbing/scouring pads instead of buffs. I’d tried it last year, but it wasn’t abrasive enough for sanding. But, I decided to try again. I had a pack of four from home depot in my supplies, so cut out a (sort of) circle (see above!) and tried it on an already sanded button.
Wow! I was blown away to see that my button now had a super shiny surface! My improvised buffs are perfect for polishing!!!
I tested this a little more today and found that I can probably forego polyurethane coats with plain (not shimmery or pearlescent) polymer! However, polymer with the shimmery additives doesn’t get quite as high of a shine, so polyurethane is still essential.
Don’t you love it when you learn something new about your particular craft that makes your life easier and/or your end results better?