Beginner Button Class – Asymmetrical Stripe Buttons

So how was Lesson Two of the Beginner Button Class for you?  There weren’t very many comments or additions to the gallery.  Don’t be shy!  If you have questions, please ask them.  And if you make the buttons, please show them off! The galleries will remain open for at least a month after the lessons are posted (I’m considering leaving them open even longer), so jump in whenever you can.

For this third lesson, we will be creating stripes, and using a cookie cutter to make consistently-shaped buttons. We’ll be making nine of them, three in each background color.

If you need a refresher on Conditioning or Baking your clay, you can find these instructions, as well as a Supplies + Tools list in Lesson One.

Additional Tools

  • 3/4-inch round cutter.  I have a large nested set like this one, which I love, but you can find smaller more affordable options at Polymer Clay Express, if you can’t find them locally.
  • brayer or acrylic rod.  Or, even the side of a straight-sided drinking glass that is no longer being used in the kitchen.  You just need something to flatten snakes of clay with.

Directions

For these buttons, we’ll be using 1/4 block of each color.  Cut each quarter in half, and then one of each half in half again, so that you have three pieces (2 small, one larger) of each color as shown.  Select one of the larger pieces to use as your base, and two of the smaller pieces to use as stripes, and set the other sections aside.

Condition the sections, and then use the brayer to roll out the larger piece to roughly 1/8-inch thickness.  Roll the two smaller pieces into snakes (as shown in Lesson Two).  They should be super skinny, about 1/8-inch wide.

Cut the snakes into 4 or 5 pieces, and lay them on top of the base, alternating colors, and pressing them down with your finger as you go.  Be sure to leave some space between the stripes so that the base color can show through.  The stripes will spread out as they are flattened.

Once you’ve covered the entire base with stripes, use your brayer to press the stripes into the base smoothly and evenly.

Position your cutter over the striped slab, looking through the top so as to choose the most pleasing arrangement of stripes to cut out.  You should be able to get three buttons out of this slab.

Repeat the entire process in the other two colors, for a total of nine striped buttons.  Poke your holes as usual and bake the buttons.

The rest of the slab – the parts that are too small and oddly-shaped to become a button – is the beginnings of your scrap pile.  Just press the scraps gently together in a ball-like shape, and set them aside.  We’ll be making something out of them in a future lesson.  Nothing goes to waste with polymer!

You may notice that you have extra snakes leftover.   So did I.  All this indicates is that we probably could have gotten away with using more clay for the bases, and less clay for the stripes.   If you want to try distributing your cuts differently in the first step (i.e. don’t cut it exactly in half – make the “half” that will become the slab a little bit larger than the “half” that will become the snakes) you would likely end up with fewer leftover snakes, and enough of a slab to cut out an extra button or two.  Feel free to experiment!  The worst that can happen is you end up with more for  your scrap pile.  It’s ok – there will still be enough clay left to finish the class, even if you have to re-do one of the lessons.

Your turn

Go forth and be stripey! If you have any questions, you may leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them. Once your buttons are done, I hope you will blog about them, or post them to flickr, and leave your link below so we can all see how you did!



Next week

Polka Dot Focal Buttons!

29 thoughts on “Beginner Button Class – Asymmetrical Stripe Buttons

  1. I’m making these mentally, step by step, each time you put
    up a new lesson. I hope to get to a store this weekend and
    get a cutter. I think your precision is part of what makes
    your buttons so lovely. I have a couple of new collections
    of fat quarters and charm packs I’m anxious to make something
    with and make buttons to match following your lessons. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful talent. Hope I can
    put some pictures up soon.

    • Ooh, fun! I love matching clay colors to fabric :-) I’m glad you’re enjoying the lessons! Here’s a little tip: if you are making buttons with a pattern on them, and you don’t want to pattern to get lost among the pattern in your fabric, put the button on a patch of solid fabric. Kind of like these scarves, or this mug cozy. Looking forward to seeing what you make!

  2. Lisa,
    On the striped buttons, my stripes are raised from the base of the button. Is that correct, or should I have rolled them more, until they were level with the base?

    • Mine are also raised from the base. It’s a matter of preference. I often prefer everything to lay flat, but in this case (and in tomorrow’s lesson) I like the added bits to be somewhat distinct from the base. Whatever you think looks best for your own buttons is fine!

    • I wash them all of the time. As long as you are using a strong clay like I mentioned in the first lesson, they should be just fine. Some have suggested using a gentle cycle, or leaving the garment inside-out, or not putting them through the dryer, but I’ve never taken any special precautions with mine.

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  5. Oops, I’ll have to try the stripe lesson again. I rolled my base color too thin. Don’t think they would hold up very long. Fun lesson though. Thanks again!

    • You’re welcome. And you should try baking the buttons anyway. They may surprise you – the right brands of polymer are exceptionally strong when baked properly, even when rolled thin.

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  9. Não sei nfalar Inglês, por isso gostaria de obter a tradução do passo a passo de como fazer botõe.
    Obrigada

    Ledir

  10. Wow, have tried to make these and they have come out ok. I’m trying to make them look as professional as possible but having a problem with the shape. I’m using a silicone button mould but fine it difficult to get them out and having to slice the excess off the back which ruins the shape of the button. Any ideas…. Thank you Natasha x x

    • I have two suggestions:

      1. Use a mold release. Spray the mold with a little bit of water, or dust it with some corn starch, to keep the clay from sticking in the mold.
      2. Use a very sharp blade to cut the excess clay from the back. If the blade is sharp enough, it should slice right through without distorting the shape of the clay. A scientific tissue blade, or a clay blade like this one should do the trick.

      Hope that helps!

  11. Hello Lisa, Good Night.
    I’m very happy, because I found your site. It helps me so much. Just a detail, I made my buttons with cold porcelain ( biscuit ), and they were beautiful ! Congratulations for your works and god bless you ! A big Kiss for You !

    A Brazilian Fan !

    • I am so happy to hear that! I have never used cold porcelain, but I am glad to hear that the same technique can work. Thank you for leaving a comment!

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