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Tutorial – Button Mold

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One of my fellow AJE team members wanted to know how I make my button molds so I thought I would share how I do it with you too!  This is just a culmination of my experience – yours may be different and you may make yours totally differently than I do and that’s ok – there’s lots of ways to do lots of things!

Supplies:

  • Two-part silicone mold making putty
  • Ceramic Tile
  • Plastic Measuring Spoons
  • Buttons

Tip – make sure you have all your supplies together before you begin.  Once you mix the putty, you only have a certain amount of time before the putty sets.  The putty is not inexpensive so you don’t want to waste it!
 
First, start off with a button.  Or two.  Or heck, just a whole pile if you want!  Tip – choose a button that has a nice curve to it.

Tip – to measure the silicone putty, I like to use inexpensive plastic measuring spoons I purchased at the grocery store. Mark them for the two colors of your putty – here, I used a silver sharpie to mark W for white and P for purple.  This way, you won’t contaminate your two colors before you mix them.

I have no idea where I purchased this silicone putty – I wish I could remember.  It was a long time ago.  Which is also a testament to how long this particular putty lasts and still works. I have heard that Michael’s now sells less-expensive two-part silicone putty, but I haven’t tried it so I have no idea how it works.  If you really want good, high-quality molds, I recommend buying high-quality putty even though it’s more expensive, especially if you plan on using the molds many times.

Measure out your two colors of putty in the measuring spoons to ensure you get an even amount of each color.  This helps the chemical reaction that occurs when you mix your putty work correctly.  Tip – use a larger measure of putty than the button you are pressing.  Remember, you are going to be pressing the button down and need enough putty to make it work!

Put the two pieces of putty together on a piece of ceramic tile.  Tip – This is to protect any surfaces you may be mixing on, and to keep the putty clean.

I like to tear the putty blob in half, put it back together, and tear again several times in this way to begin the mixing process.

Here’s what it looks like after several tears – keep doing this, and begin to smoosh (yes, technical word) the colors together, blending them until you can see no white left.

Here’s how it looks after blending.  Note you can’t see any white in the mix.

I then like to form a ball with the putty by rolling it in my hands, just like rolling cookie dough!

I put it flat on the tile, and then just very gently smoosh (there’s that technical word again) it down so it becomes a little bit flat.

Then, I position my button on top of the putty in the center before I push it down.  Tip – if you don’t like the position of your button, just roll the putty and start again.  But remember, you only have a certain amount of time before the putty sets.

Here’s a photo of the button pushed down into the putty.  You’re just going to have to get the feel for how far to push the button down – you can’t push it too far down or it will be too thin on the bottom.
Push with an even pressure on the button.

Now to wait.  You must wait the prescribed amount of time for your putty to set.  This is a good time to go wash your hands, as you have chemicals from the silicone putty mold on them.  Tip – use the very edge of your fingernail to gently push into the side of the mold.  If the silicone does not retain the fingernail mark, it is ready to unmold.

Once you’ve waited the required amount of time, take your mold (button and all) off the tile and gently twist the mold to the side to release the button.  There should be no rips or distortion if you waited the correct length of time.  If you are in doubt, just wait longer!

And here’s what your button mold will look like!  I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that it helped you if you are having difficulties getting your button molds just right!

 
 
 

Susan Kennedy

Susan Kennedy Susan, the owner of SueBeads, started making glass beads in 2005 because she loved lampworked beads so much, but wanted to make her own instead of buying them on ebay! She also makes enameled components and dabbles in polymer clay, but her first love is glass. She has attended jewelry-making classes at ArtBLISS and has taken classes from Barbara Lewis (torch fired enameling) in addition to several classes at the Pittsburgh Glass Center.
  1. Reply

    Sounds like the perfect excuse to collect and hoard cool buttons!!

  2. Reply

    Your measuring spoon idea is simply genius, I can't believe I never thought of it. I always just eye ball it which works fine but I always end up with more of one left at the end of the container. I've even thought about weighing each one out on the postage scale but measuring spoons are way easier. I love molding stuff and your mold is so perfect!! Thanks for sharing Sue!

  3. Reply

    THis can be adapted for so many fun things too…thanks fro sharing SUe.

  4. Reply

    Thanks ladies!

  5. Reply

    Great tutorial. Easy Mold is sold at Michaels. Kind of expensive there, just easy to obtain. I think it can be found cheaper online (maybe not with shipping!) Fun to use!!!

    • Reply

      Michaels has 40% coupons constantly, that's almost the only time I buy it, same with Hobby Lobby.

  6. Reply

    I recommend MicroMark (online) for their RTV putty. Their prices per volume were comparable to polymer clay places that sell it as well. I haven't used Rio's brand ( which is blue) but then I haven't noticed much difference between brands either.

  7. Reply

    Thanks, Sue…I have a tendency to push in to far, or be chintzy with the putty, so end up with too thin molds! I like the measuring spoon tip as well!

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