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What Is a Button-Making Machine?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

A button-making machine is used to produce badges, rosettes and pin-back buttons. The type of button-making machine used often depends on how many buttons need to be made, as well as how often. These devices range from hand-operated presses to bench presses and automated machines.

The machine is basically a press. The button's front blank, artwork and plastic cover are pressed together first, then a button back is pressed onto the back to complete the button. The back half could be a mirror, magnet or a pin back. Magnetic backs enable the pin to be displayed on a metal surface, such as a refrigerator or file cabinet.

Buttons produced by a button-making machine come in a vast array of sizes. Most sizes fall between 1 and 6 inches (2.5 to 15.2cm) in diameter. The machine, artwork and the button blank are matched in size to make a particular-sized button.

Mother of pearl buttons.
Mother of pearl buttons.

Most styles of button-making machines can only process one size of button, which means a different size machine needs to be purchased in order to produce multiple sizes of buttons. The machines are also categorized by the method with which they make buttons. Some machines are hand-pressed or bench-pressed, while others are semi-automatic or automatic.

A hand-press button-making machine uses hand-applied force to join the components of the button together. A bench press also uses hand force, but is aided by the leverage of the bench. A semi-automatic machine can produce a greater number of buttons faster than a hand-held press, and an automatic button-making machine is electrically-powered so minimum effort is required to produce many buttons.

Depending on how many buttons need to be made and how often, the price of the button-making machine can be a pivotal factor in the selection process. Sports teams, clubs and charities often sell buttons as fundraisers. Buttons can be produced featuring a photo or words and help to promote a cause or support a political candidate.

In addition to buttons, a button-making machine can also be used to produce custom zipper pulls, can openers and key chains. The key chains typically have plain or mirror backs. By using a self-adhesive bulldog-style clip on a plain metal back, buttons can easily be attached to pockets and lanyards.

After using a button-making machine to create a button, the button can be transformed into a rosette. The button is inserted into the center of a cloth-covered circle. Ribbons and streamers can be attached to the rosette, and they may feature labels such as "Visitor" or "First-Place." The rosettes and streamers are available in a wide array of color combinations.

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    • Mother of pearl buttons.
      By: elen_studio
      Mother of pearl buttons.