Preparing for trade shows can be overwhelming decision making process. Starting with 'What new products should we launch?', followed by 'How should we decorate the booth?', ending with 'What should we give away?'. I've worked through the new products and will share them with you next week. I'm tackling the booth decor this weekend. The past couple of days I've been playing with one-inch button making instead of working on pressing design deadlines. This is the one give away I hope will end up on attendees badge ribbons and tote bags.
After much research I decided to invest in the middle of the road button maker. I ordered an Artec off eBay for just over a hundred dollars, it came with the parts to make 500 pins. The American made Techre is the elite button maker and would be my first choice if price wasn't a consideration and I was going to produce buttons on a regular basis. There's a very inexpensive hand held Badge a Minit product that I was forewarned would be too time consuming for large quantities. I unboxed my new toy on Monday. It arrived without any instructions. Fortunately I found a utube video that helped clarify how to assemble the machine and make the buttons.
Making a button is simple. First you cut out the paper circles. I didn't bother with the included circle cutter. I reached for a trusty old Marvy 1" paper punch. I sharpened it by punching out a few circles of folded aluminum foil.
I'm lucky to be surrounded by talented graphic designers. Maria Gonzalez put together a wonderful sheet of 1" circles for me. The images are from my 'Forest Frolics' fabric line and our new Whimsy Kits. I'm thrilled with how well the images held up in miniature.
The button maker has two sliding cylinders on the base. Fit a metal shell, right side up into the left cylinder. Top it with a paper circle and cover it with the included Mylar circle.
Slide the loaded cylinder under the center handle and pull down. The parts will be suctioned up into the handle base.
Fit a button back/pin right side down into the cylinder on the right.
Slide this cylinder under the handle and pull down again.
Presto, the covered shell is attached to the pin back.
I've had a couple duds where the shell hasn't attached to the pin back. Be careful to insert just a single layer of Mylar, it won't work if two layers are stuck together. It also doesn't work if the pin back is loaded pin side up!
The Fox design from my fabric is my favorite of the bunch. The Techre model uses a metal collet to clamp the Mylar edges and the bent wire pin back needs to be inserted by hand into the shell back. I have piles to make and am grateful to skip these extra steps. The buttons are piling up in my bowl, just a few more hundred to go!
If you're coming to Quilt Market or TNNA please stop by our booth and button up!