Monday, 21 September 2015

How They're Made - Button Edition

I frequently get asked how I make my ceramic buttons, so I thought I would take a few moments and show the process from start to finish for one particular button.

First I roll out a small ball of clay into a rather thin slab, and stamp it with the design for that particular button.  This one is a rubber stamp, but usually I use a clay stamp that I have previously made.

I cut the stamped slab into the shape I am currently working these ones are squares.
(sometimes I cut out the individual hears you can see in this pattern, sometimes it is a larger square that includes four of the hearts).

When they are "exactly dry enough", I trim off the edges,

pierce in the holes, and then make the holes bigger with a drill bit,

and then smooth all of the edges and back, being careful not to destroy the stamped image in the process.

Then they go through the first round in the kiln...once I have enough other items to fill the whole kiln
(you need the mass for it to heat up properly).

I paint on the underglaze,

wash it back off again,

glaze them, and then they are ready for the second run through the kiln.
I glaze mine on all sides for a nice smooth finish everywhere that won't snag on your knitting, or sewing, or be scratchy on your skin, but it involves a rather intricate process of wiring and balancing the buttons.
I firmly believe the result is worth the effort.
The whole process takes about 4 to 6 weeks, depending on how many pieces are ready for their kiln run. 

Ta-Da...the finished product.  
Some I keep to admire or for inspiration for further projects.  
Some I sew onto my hats, mittens, gloves, bags, whatever.
I'll be honest...some I just string onto a cord and where as a necklace.  That's kinda my favourite.
And of course, some are in my etsy shop so other people can enjoy them too.

I hope you enjoyed my little behind the scenes look at the making of such a humble little object.

Joining my friends over at:
do hop on over for a peek!


  1. Love the glimpse into the story of your buttons. Thanks for sharing. Inspired by blog as I always am!

  2. Natalie, they turned out beautifully, I'd love to see them in a finished product! Thanks so much again for visiting:)

  3. These are beautiful! Thanks for sharing how they are made!

  4. neat to see the process! just ordered some. :) maybe it will inspire me to finish my sweater... ;)

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this fascinating process. I have always loved pottery and claywork. The end result is really special.