Make Your Own Buttons

Make Your Own Polymer Clay ButtonsIf it’s not enough to spin your own yarn in order to knit your own sweater, how about going even further – making your own personalized buttons to put on it?

I started playing with clay – to make a shawl pin for a swap partner, actually – and once I got started, I got all sorts of ideas of what I could do with this great, mold-able stuff. My first thought was buttons. I spend a lot of money buying unique and interesting buttons for my knitwear. These are so easy to make that from now on, even my buttons will be originals!

So – you start with polymer clay. They sell it in little 2 ounce packages at most craft stores. I tried both Fimo and Premo! brand. I have to say that I liked the Premo best. The Fimo was stiffer and took a lot more prep work to soften it enough to mold with.

Make Your Own Polymer Clay Buttons This stuff comes in all colors, but I played it safe and stuck with neutrals. For these buttons, I’m using Ecru.

Work your clay on a smooth surface. I used a plate – a ceramic tile would be ideal. Fold it over and over, work it into a ball, squeeze it, beat it – whatever – until it’s soft enough to roll out. I rolled mine out with a pizza roller.

Make Your Own Polymer Clay ButtonsCut out your button shapes just like you’re making cookies. I used Wilton Fondant cutters. They come in lots of cute shapes and are sized just about right for smallish to large, chunky buttons. The heart cutters came in a package of three sizes. This is the medium size – about one and a half inch wide.

Make Your Own Polymer Clay Buttons I added texture using a rubber stamp, but you could use a piece of lace, burlap or other textured material. You could also draw your own design with a chopstick or the end of a knitting needle.

DIY Polymer Clay Buttons

You’ll need to create holes to sew your button on. You can use a variety of things to make your holes. I think the end of one of those skinny straws they use as coffee stirrers would work great. I used a cake decorating tip I happened to have in my craft supplies.

Make Your Own Polymer Clay ButtonsNow put your buttons, without those holes you cut out, onto an oven safe dish and bake them according to the directions on the package. Allow them to cool completely.

Make Your Own Polymer Clay Buttons

 For the antique effect on my buttons, I mixed a little bit of burnt umber acrylic paint with water to make a thin wash and painted it over the entire top.

Make Your Own Polymer Clay Buttons

 I let the paint dry for about 20 minutes, then took a soft rag and polished the top of the button which took most of the paint off the smooth surface of the button but left it in the textured areas.

Make Your Own Polymer Clay Buttons Finish buttons with a couple of coats of Sculpey Satin Glaze for polymer clay.

Now you better get to spinning the yarn for knitting that sweater for your new buttons!



  1. Laura says

    This is a perfect finishing touch for the baby sweaters I am in the process of making. You can never find buttons that suit. Thank you for the great tutorial.

    • Mom says

      and I saw the cutest little animal shaped fondant cutters you could use. Check out Wilton’s fondant cutters. They even had a giraffe! Cuteness!

  2. says

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I made my list (have most of it) and am ready to try it. I love hearts, all things hearts, so will practice on those. Great way to save! Thanks.

    • Mom says

      You’re so very welcome Sheri! I totally love hearts too. Have you seen the heart quilt in the new Sew Red for Women book by Tula Pink? Scroll down and fall in love! :-)

    • Mom says

      Hi Lacey! No, I cut the buttonholes out before I bake. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. I used the tip of an icing decorator and the inside of the holes came away inside the icing tip when I cut them out.

  3. poppy says

    Hi there,
    Just found out about this great tutorial. Got a question though, can these button be (machine) washed? Or do I have to take them off before washing?
    Thanks for the great idea.

    • Mom says

      Hmmmmm. That’s a good one, Poppy. I have no idea how they’d do in a washing machine. I would think they’d do fine since they’re baked and hardened. Let us know what you find out if you try it?


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