Handmade Buttons

Like many people, as soon as fall—my favorite time of the year—rolls around, I am hit with a sudden urge to start knitting. And for the past three years or so, it seems that all I really want to knit are fingerless mittens and I’m always searching for new patterns that aren’t too terribly complicated. (I don’t like to have to pay too much attention to my knitting or I don’t enjoy it so much. Come to think about it, I’m that way with painting, as well.) So, last spring when I attended Artfest, naturally I had to stop at my favorite yarn store, Churchmouse Yarns & Teas, and I was giddy to have found a new pattern there for my favorite thing to knit.

The pattern suggests embellishing the cuffs of the mitts with pretty little buttons. I have knit four pairs of these mitts since I bought the pattern, and the need/hunt for pretty little buttons really starts to add up. So as I was most recently experimenting with a new kind of yarn for my latest pair and was stitching the cuffs, it dawned on me that I should just try making my own buttons and knew just the right material to make them from. Epoxy Clay!

I learned what a fabulous art material epoxy clay was from Kerin Gale through her book, Inspired Remnants, Curious Dreams: Mixed-Media Projects in Epoxy Clay. Tiny little buttons are a far cry from the incredible things Kerin makes in the book, but I had played with the clay before, so I knew it would be perfect. Kerin recommends Aves Studio brand for the clay, and that’s what I used. Aves makes several formulas, and I used the Fixit variety. In her book, Kerin has some great tips for mixing the two-part clay as well as adding texture to it and coloring it. She really knows this clay, so I heeded all of her advice. I mixed, I shaped, I textured, I added color. When the buttons were finished, I gave them a quick coat of varnish to give them a bit of shine.

The thing that’s so great about epoxy clay is that you don’t need to bake it and when it cures, it’s even more durable and solid than polymer clay. And you can make all kinds of things with it from buttons to jewelry to light fixtures. I might even try making knitting needles out of it next . . .

Whether you want to sculpt an artful statue or make buttons for your next craft project, I recommend you check out Inspired Remnants, Curious Dreams and see more about all the amazing things this clay (and you) can do.


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4 Responses to Handmade Buttons

  1. Arteest says:

    Great post! Love the Apoxie clay…I must try. Thanks for your article.

    • Tonia Davenport says:

      Thanks for the comment, Arteest! Yes, what a great way to have custom buttons, right? If you do try it, let me know how it comes out.

  2. judysheart says:

    I love this.. thank you. I also make handmade polymer clay buttons. You ca see a tutorial on my blog http://thekeytomyart.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/oh-buttons-oh-my/. I absolutely love making them.. I call them “Button n’Bellishments”, as I make the button and embellishments for my mixed media work. Great to see others creating them.