I had been knitting an awesome orange and aqua striped sweater… and I just couldn’t find the right buttons to suit it! So I thought, ‘I should make them!’ Let me show you a bit of my button-making journey!
About Polymer Clay
Polymer Clay has always fascinated me. It’s a sculpting material made from plastics (details on the Wikipedia page that can be baked in your home oven to harden. You may know it by the name of one of the 2 popular brands that make it: Fimo or Scupley.
Polymer clay is a much more accessible craft than, for example, pottery- which requires access to a kiln to fire. And the wide variety of colors also means that it’s easy to get the look you’re going for without complicated glazes. It’s a lot like playing with play doh!
Updated (after original publishing date) Information: Barbara Forbes-Lyons (a polymer clay artist and twitter buddy of mine) recommends using Fimo or Kato brands of Polymer Clay. Sculpey may seem like it will work, but is too brittle to hold up to wearing.
I have an oldie but a goodie: The Polymer Clay Techniques book. It’s chock-full of great techniques that will be useful for your button making, such as : mixing colors, making gradients of color, shaping beads/buttons, making millifori and faux decorative finishes (if you want to get fancy).
The best part of polymer clay is that you’re only limited by your imagination. The only information you need to know is the baking temperature/time (instructions on the back of the polymer clay package)!
I wanted to make square buttons in a color orange that would match the orange in my sweater. So, I did a little color mixing…
Once the color was what I wanted, I divided the clay into 4 equal-sized pieces and shaped them into squares:
To turn these squares into buttons, I just used a paperclip to punch holes (large enough for sewing) into the center:
Do you like them?
After a 20 minute bake in the oven, they were ready!
To sew them on the sweater, I used a little trick… while attaching a handmade button, I simultaneously attach a plain button on the back. This keeps (a slightly heavy) button from pulling excessively on the knitting.
With my buttons complete, I have a sweater that I can wear!
Now, when you can’t find buttons to suit your knitted garment, you can make your own! I hope you’re inspired to give some polymer clay a try!