diy wednedays: 9-hole buttons

we’ve been obsessing over some 9-hole buttons we saw online a while back, and thought we’d try to make a few of our own using some oven bake clay from the art store. a film canister acts as a great cookie cutter for the buttons, and we indented the centers with an old wine cork. with 9 holes you can pretty much embroider any letter you want, which is great for personalizing your clothes or emblazoning your favorite coat with a catchy word or phrase.

have fun!
derek & lauren

CLICK HERE for the full instructions after the jump!

here’s what you’ll need:

sculpey, or fimo in a color of your choice
rolling pin
plastic wrap to cover your work surface
empty film canister or small round cookie cutter
wine cork

1. roll out a piece of clay to a little less than 1/4” thick.
2. press the open end of the film canister onto the clay to cut out a circle.
3. indent the middle of the circle using one end of your wine cork.
4. create a grid of 9 holes in the center of your clay circle using one end of a toothpick.
5. bake for 10-12 minutes in a 275-degree oven.
6. with embroidery floss or thick thread, attach the button to a garment of your choice, using the embroidery floss to create a letter of the alphabet as you sew on the button.



I have also seen and loved those 9-hole buttons—never occurred to me that I could make my own though! Thanks for the idea.

Kim from Milwaukee

Do these buttons survive being washed in a washing machine?


I love the texture the wine cork gives the middle of the button!

grace wieber

Ditto Bliss’s “Brilliant”. The nine holes lend themselves to mega possibilities.
Thanks for the tutorial. :)

Dee Wilcox

So cute! I made all kinds of fun things with Fimo as a kid but haven’t played with it in years… gosh, like fourteen years. Sheesh! And now, off to Hobby Lobby for Fimo I go. :)


Awesome. Sculpey makes a every color sample pack that I love and glazes for matte or shiny finishes. (Although you could use any kind of clear finish really, not just the Sculpey brand.)


I remember making some Fimo buttons for a cardigan back in college and loving them! This is a great new idea for a similar project.


Kim, I was wondering the same thing about whether or not you could wash the buttons. So I went online and discovered that Sculpey III has a tendency to crumble. However, according to the blogger, she has washed her Premo many many times. Hope this helps.


Those are really cute! What a great idea. Thanks for sharing the project.

Anke (anke-art)

Oh how sweet! These buttons have been on my wishlist for quite some time, but now that I see your tutorial, I guess DIY is much more charming. And cheaper ;)


I’m gonna make them THEN SPELL MY NAME. crafts make me a kid again. These are the neatest.


The only letter you can’t easily create is Q. The other 25 are fair game.

calamity kim

These are really great but I will have to look way back in the corner og my time machine for a film canister! LOL! Really- these are so cool! I’ve never seen them before- they’d be great for golfers- 9 holes- get it? Sorry- just had corn for dinner!
calamity kim


wow, this is extreme….
so makeing one right now

Missy K.

What a cute idea. I want to try that now. Do you have a stitch diagram for letters?


It’s fair game to take a DIY inspiration from a designer’s idea. That said, the guys who had the original idea would surely appreciate a link:
BTW: you can find a stich diagram there, too.


Hi Billy-
Thanks so much for the link to! You’re right- they definitely deserve to be mentioned since they were the inspiration for this project.


I’m with Missy – I’d love to see a stitch diagram for the entire alphabet!


i love your 9 button idea.. i was thinking of a nice way to customize my new set of bracelets..


This is wonderful and I know my kids are going to love making these with me!

The only Sculpey’s available to me around here are Original and Ultra-Light. Would either work? Or should I wait to find Premo out of town somewhere?


These are smart, and cute.

i beleive sculpty has the same properties as femo,…

earlyer this year i was tired of buying buttons, since by the time i made the outfit i wanted a differnt colour and already paid an arm and a leg for the ones i bought, so i made my own 4 and 2 whole buttons out of femo. baked them, and used them on my nephews pj’s (he is 5) they lasted perhaps a month, then they swere breaking and falling off.

i am going to try again by putting wire in the butten to give it more stregnth to see if that helps. but the 9 whole idea is still great!

Angela Mabray

Great idea!

For the commenters who asked about machine washing and drying polymer clay buttons, you can if you use a strong brand of clay. Different clays are good for different things — Sculpey III is intended to be a kid’s clay, so it’s not as durable as the artist-grade clays. Try Premo, Fimo (not Fimo Soft), or Kato for the best results on a project like this.

It’s also extremely important to thoroughly bake the buttons, double-checking your oven temperature with an external thermometer. Most oven’s internal thermostats are a little off, and while 25-50 degrees may not make or break your casserole’s success, it will cause problems with baking clay. Clay cooked at too high of a temperature will burn, while clay cooked at too low of a temperature is more likely to be brittle and break.

Erin Nelson

Thinking it’s time to go to Home Depot to buy some tiny drill bits…

Carole brisson

How about stitching the holes and then glueing a tie tack to the back of the button. This allows you to move the button from garment to garment