Sunday, May 8, 2016

Pinback Button Equipment Guide

So you've seen all those fun, colorful pinback buttons that are out there and you want to make some yourself! I will give you a run down of the tools you'll need to make pinback buttons! These tools are non-computer related. I will cover pinback button making software and other programs in another post. Let's get to those tools!

Sketchbook and Pencil

You will want a sketchbook and a pencil to sketch out your designs before getting them into the computer. I’ve inherited some sketchbooks and purchased others. You can use regular copy paper or you can get a sketchbook at the dollar store. Any paper will do as long as it's plain and white!

Digital Camera or Scanner

A Digital camera or scanner is necessary to get artwork into the computer. I use a digital camera to get my artwork into the computer as I’ve had poor luck with scanners in the past.

Tecre Pinback Button Machine 1-1/4" size

I got my button machine with supplies from Button Biz. I chose to make the 1-1/4" size buttons as I felt that the 1" buttons were too small and anything bigger seemed too big. I find that this size works well for my needs.

Dynamo cutter

I highly recommend getting the Dynamo cutter to start versus the adjustable circle cutter. 

Hey, there's a really old button design I made in 2013! My button making kit came with the adaptable circle cutter and it wasn't very user friendly. You need a flat surface to work on so the cutting plate is level. It was very clumsy to work with.

I sold this cutter and purchased the Dynamo cutter. I'd like to upgrade to the graphic punch.


These are the plastic sheets that cover the pinback buttons. There are two different kinds of mylar:  matte and glossy. I prefer the glossy type as it works best with color. It is challenging to photography buttons with glossy mylar. They are usually sold bundled with the other supplies but they are also sold by themselves if you look hard enough. Matte is generally more difficult to find as well.

Bonus tip:  To prevent reflections when photographing buttons with glossy mylar, hold a similarly colored piece of paper over the button to reflect off the plastic.

Button shells

These are the top of the button. They can be used to make both pinback buttons and magnets. You need to be careful and make sure you don't have more than one stuck together when you punch your button. Otherwise you'll jam your machine!

Button pinbacks

These are the back of the pinback button. You can take the pin out to make magnets if you wish.


An alternative to removing the pins from the pinbacks is to purchase the flatbacks. I found that I saved a lot of time by purchasing the flatbacks. The product also looked better compared to taking the pin out as the magnet was glued on better to the product.


These magnets are smaller than the pinback or the flatback. They are 1" in diameter. You can purchase magnets with an adhesive backing. They generally come in a set to make magnets. These do not have an adhesive backing.

E6000 glue

I've tried a variety of glue to adhere the magnets to the flatbacks. E6000 glue is the kind I've had the best results with. It's also known as Goop.

This glue is highly toxic. You want to wash your hands very well after using this product. You also want to work in a well ventilated area as inhaling the fumes of this product is toxic. I recommend leaving the products out to dry overnight or at least 8 hours.


You don't need to have a printer if you don't make your artwork on the computer. I cover this in greater detail in another post.

If you do want to make your artwork on the computer, I highly recommend an inkjet printer over a laser printer. Inkjet printers have better resolution compared to laser printers. You can use a print shop to print your button artwork. Do your research ahead of time as you will be giving up your color control if you don't do it yourself.

Printer ink

You will want to use brand name ink. Let me say that again, you will want to use brand name ink. I’ve gotten burned by using the re-manufactured ink. I bought it from my local office supply store and put it in my printer only to find out that it didn’t work. I had to spend time, and gas money, to go back and return it for a new one. Save yourself the hassle and go brand name every time!

Printer paper

I use normal printer copy paper. I highly recommend you get Inkjet copy paper if you're going to use an Inkjet printer. Inkjet paper is designed to soak up Inkjet ink better than other types of paper. Your work will look so much better!

If you still have questions, or you just want to chat, I'd love to continue the conversation! Email me at!