Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Checkerboard Klimt Buttons - How do you do that?

Just last week I received a custom order for a set of buttons. I thought I would take some pictures of the process and share with you what is involved. So here we go.....

First I blended the colors that the customer wanted.

Then I ran each color through the pasta machine to flatten it out. I took a 1/2" circle cutter and cut out 12 disks of each color.

They look kind of like candy wafers, don't they?

I stacked all of the pink together in a random order, and gently smooshed (yes, that is a technical term) them together. This is just the right size and shape to fit into the barrel of my clay gun. The same thing is then done with the yellow disks.

Now I have a 12 inch long pink square snake. Then it's time to clean out all the remnants of the pink clay that are stuck to the inside of the barrel so that I can make a yellow snake.

I lay both the yellow and pink snakes together next to my ruler and cut them evenly in half.

Those two halfs are then stacked on top of each other and slightly stretched and squeezed until the 6 inch piece is now 8 inches long. Then I cut it into quarters.

Now I have 4, 2" pieces. These are then combined into a square.

And this is the final result. By now the clay has softened from all of this handling and needs to rest. So it is set aside until the next day.


In the next step of my button making process I roll out a sheet of yellow clay. Then I cut very thin slices from the end of my cane.

The slices are laid side by side on the yellow sheet and I use my acrylic roller to adhere them and stretch them just a bit.  It's rolled through the pasta machine so that it is of a uniform thickness. I roll out yet another sheet of yellow clay, lay the patterned sheet on top and make sure there are no air bubbles between the two sheets. This is placed on a ceramic tile.

My customer wanted 3/4" buttons so I get out my 3/4" circle cutter, cut them out and remove the excess clay. I poke small button holes in each button with a sewing needle.  After the buttons cure in a 275 degree oven for 30 minutes the next step is wet sanding. I like to make my buttons smooth on both sides and around the edge.  Then I drill the button holes bigger with my Dremel.

And there you have it! A custom set of buttons ready for use!

Do you have a project that needs some buttons? I would love to hear from you! Or take a look in my Etsy shop at the ready to ship buttons available. Until next time.......put a smile on!


  1. That's a lot of work!

  2. You really have some patience, there. That is a long process! Love the way they turned out!

  3. You make it sound so easy...:) and look so cute!! Enjoyed learning about your process! :)

  4. Wow that IS a lot of work. It's so beautiful though, and I'm sure so fulfilling when it's done. You know I love your work Kathy!

  5. WoW!! No wonder I fell in love with these buttons!! I know I will return to your shop again and again. Thank you for the tutorial!