Friday 28 June 2019

Buttons & Tags

Buying buttons, and also tags for quilts, can be time-consuming and costly. But in a few minutes, you can make your own, personalising and designing at whim.
Here is a tutorial on making buttons and tags from shrink plastic.

I used the white shrink plastic, but you can also get clear, which are great if you want to see through what you sew the button or tag on to.

Shrink plastic sheet shrinks 7 times thicker than the original when heated. I prefer to place my designs on a baking sheet and place in a preheated oven (at 160 °C 320 °F Gas 3) but you can use a heat gun.

I stamped shrink plastic sheet using some stamps from my collection and Stazon solvent ink pad 

I then used permanent pens to add a little colour. You can also use coloured pencils on white shrink plastic. There is no point in lots of careful colouring as the details will be lost on shrinking.
Here is a keyring next to the heart stamp used to make it, to help give you an idea of the size change:

I made some tags using a stamp and when the ink has dried, wrote on with a pencil. I also made a hole in them to allow me to sew them to my finished textile art pieces.
Here they are ready to go into the oven.

And here they are after heating:

To make circular buttons, cut circles from the shrink plastic.
I drew round a lid to guide my cutting out.

Make holes to enable sewing buttons, either 2 or 4 holes. I marked the centre of my circles using a ruler and making a pencil cross. I used my craft hole punch tool to make holes, making sure I was not doing this on a surface that could be marked or damaged. I would usually use my self-healing cutting mat for this but was creating these while away.
Again, because of shrinkage, it doesn’t matter being too accurate with hole punching. Yeah, this is my kind of craft!

To give you a guide on shrinkage, my original 8.5 cm diameter circles shrank to about 3cm in 2 minutes in the oven.
Add a design to your buttons.
I did some circles with marker pens, but you can use acrylic paint.

It's important to remember that any colours will become darker and more intense as the plastic shrinks: Plan for this by keeping colours lighter than you want the finished look to be.

Place buttons on a baking sheet and into the oven for a couple of minutes. Note the buttons will twist and curl before magically straightening out into their smaller size.
Remove the tray from the oven using heatproof gloves and allow to cool.
Choose what you want to sew your buttons onto and prepare to say “why thank you, I made them myself”

I would love to hear what you have used your shrink plastic creations for, please share.

Helen x

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