diy wednedays: 9-hole buttons

button1
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
toothpick

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.

button2
button3

  1. Sarah says:

    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.

  2. Kim from Milwaukee says:

    Do these buttons survive being washed in a washing machine?

  3. Newbie says:

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

  4. Oh my goodness, these are brilliant!

  5. alexis says:

    i’m running to the craft store on my break, so cute!

  6. grace wieber says:

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

  7. Wow!!! 9-hole… I didn’t know them and I’m really fascinated!

  8. Laura. says:

    this is sooo cooool!!!!!

  9. Alice Lam says:

    Love this idea. Really cute for a baby sweater.

  10. Britt says:

    I have been wanting to make buttons with more holes, like the crazy ones on this couch:
    http://mocoloco.com/archives/001762.php
    This would definitely work! Thanks, Derek and Lauren!

  11. Ariana says:

    Sew cute. Love this!

  12. Dee Wilcox says:

    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. :)

  13. Erin says:

    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.)

  14. jenn says:

    that’s awesome! i love custom buttons. so cute!!!

  15. Pam says:

    Gosh, these are SO cute! I have a bunch of Sculpey somewhere…

  16. *gemmifer* says:

    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.

  17. AmberLee says:

    i completely love it…all the possibilities!

  18. Amy says:

    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.

  19. pamela says:

    imps+elfs is a great company that makes children’s clothing… i bought a onesie for my daughter and the buttons spell LOVE… it’s one of my favorites.

    http://www.twirlkids.com/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=34&products_id=1534&osCsid=bhv8qju71l6trrnfi2kp6timh1

    by the way anyone know how to make a “tiny” url?

    1. grace says:

      pamela

      just drop your url in the provided box at tinyurl.com :)

      g

  20. These are wonderful. I never made my own buttons. I am going to give it a try.

  21. Bri says:

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

  22. Eva says:

    so easy and cute. greatgreatgreat.

  23. Ann says:

    So clever – I love this.

  24. 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 ;)
    Thanks!

  25. justin says:

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

  26. Kathleen says:

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

  27. tar says:

    You can make a Q, it’ll just be diamond-shaped.

  28. calamity kim says:

    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!
    teehee:)
    calamity kim

  29. What a fantastic idea! I’m getting so many ideas on how this can be used..

  30. cumpcake says:

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

  31. Missy K. says:

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

  32. Billy says:

    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: http://www.abc-button.com/
    BTW: you can find a stich diagram there, too.

  33. lauren says:

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

  34. Judith says:

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

  35. chico says:

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

  36. Kelly says:

    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?

  37. shelley says:

    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!

  38. it’s a very smart and new technique. Awesome !!!

  39. Yana says:

    Now I know how to use my son’s play dooh!

  40. I am going to try this with some leftover Sugru – it’s silicone, so I suspect it will do fine in the washer.

  41. 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.

  42. Erin Nelson says:

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

  43. dina says:

    I intended to do “D” and I didn’t :P , I’ll try it again

  44. Carole brisson says:

    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

  45. Kristin says:

    Did anyone think to just call them “Alphabet Buttons”? I think it’s a much catchier name, just sayin’…

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