Saturday, August 17, 2013

Polymer Clay Shank Buttons

This week I wanted to try and make a different type of button.  Normally I make two-hole buttons but I wanted to make shank style buttons.  I searched online for pre-made shanks. But I was feeling impatient. I wanted to make these NOW! I didn't want to have to order the shanks and then wait for them to be delivered. So I decided to use what I had and make them myself.  I wasn't sure if it would work but there was only one way to find out. This is what I did.

I had this spool of 20 gauge wire on hand and thought that would work just fine.  I cut 6, 1-1/2" pieces with my wire cutters, one for each button.

I centered the wire on my round nose pliers and bent each end down, forming a loop.

 Like this.

I then coiled each end, like this.

I placed the looped and coiled wire on what will be the back of the button.  I pressed in down just slightly.
I took another, smaller circle of clay, cut a small slit in the center of it with my X-acto blade and pushed it down over the loop, covering the coiled ends of the wire.

I blended the edges of the smaller circle into the back of the button. I then textured the whole back to seamlessly join the two circles of clay together.

After doing this for all 6 buttons, I cured them in the oven for about 30 minutes. After sanding and polishing, here they are!

I am really pleased with the way they turned out.  They appear to be very sturdy, which was my biggest worry.  So I think I will make more of this type of button. In fact, I already have an idea for my next set!


  1. That is super awesome!!!

    One question I had about the little circle on top to cover the coils...didn't pushing it down on the loop make it tear? How does it look so uniform!?

    1. Thanks Kashmira! I guess I should have explained I cut a small slit in the circle with an x-acto blade first. I am super stoked about these!

    2. wow, its blended in so well! love it!

  2. Great little tutorial Kathy! These came out great!! You never cease to amaze me:)