Perhaps you decide to start an indie band.
Perhaps you want your zine to go viral.
Perhaps you play Roller Derby. The Bleeding Heartland Rollergirls are looking for some fresh meat, I hear.
If you have any reason, ANY reason at all, to want a large number of pinback buttons, I doubt that you want to pay shipping to have them mass-produced in some sweatshop on foreign soil, or receive a bunch of cheap, poorly designed crap in exchange for your hard-earned moolah.
A button machine isn’t for everyone, but if a button machine is for you, then you should know that there are lame machines and excellent machines. My American Button Machines 1″ Button Maker is one of the excellent machines.
Now, the American Button Machines machines are pricey. I about had a cow when I bought my button machine years ago, ponying up that kind of money when the majority of my other craft fair expenditures come from the dumpster or the thrift store. Let me tell you, I knew exactly the moment at which I’d sold enough buttons to pay off my machine, and then I had a little party and lowered my prices a tad.
You also have to know what you want when you buy an American Button Machines machine. My 1″ Button Maker, although it has the accessories to make magnets or key chains or a whole bunch of other junk, does not make 1.5″ buttons. It does not make 2″ buttons. It does not make 3″ buttons. It makes 1″ buttons. Fortunately, I really like 1″ buttons, and I think that other button sizes are tacky. You may have to develop similar loyalties if you plan to spring for a specific button maker from this company.
These button makers, however, have two very large advantages to basically every other button machine that I’ve seen on the market. First of all, they’re super-sturdy. My button maker is compact and easy to transport, but it’s also made of steel, with a rubber grip on the handle. It can get banged around in the trunk of my car or in my luggage on an airplane or in the bottom of a Rubbermaid bin on the way to a craft fair. With no plastic parts at all, my button maker is in no danger of harm.
My button maker is also extremely easy to use. There are two steps to perform, and five parts to put together. If patrons at a craft fair see me making buttons and want to try it out, I let them, and they’re always successful. My five-year-old can make buttons completely independently with the 1″ button maker. So can my three-year-old.
I’ve made pinback buttons from everything from vintage paper doilies to Entertainment Weekly, although lately I’ve been on a big comic book kick. And also cassette tape covers, the kids’ artwork, vintage wallpaper samples, road maps…