Make 1:12 Scale Buttons from Polymer Clay

  • 01 of 07

    Make Tiny Buttons for Dolls House Projects or Doll Clothes

    Heart shaped and round buttons made in dolls house scale from polymer clay.
    Photo copyright 2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    Polymer clay is a useful material for making miniature dolls house scale buttons. The buttons can be used for scale miniature upholstery or doll clothes. If you have very fine needles, you can add sewing holes, depending on the size of the button design. In other cases, you can glue the button in place on the fabric, or use it as part of the clothing design.

    The methods shown here use polymer clay with small paper punches, or clay designs cut from tiny polymer clay canes.

    To Make Poly Clay Buttons You Will Need:

    • Polymer Clay in colors that match your project. As these items are so small, it is a good idea to make lots in several colors when you are working on a particular batch. Pearl colored clay or translucent white clay can be combined with colored centers or outlines to make lots of interesting basic buttons.
    • Clay Roller and some card to roll out even thicknesses of clay.
    • Paper Punch with a small scale design.
    • Corn Starch to prevent your clay from sticking to the punch.
    • Parchment Paper or a baking tile to bake your buttons on.
    • One-sided razor blade or a fine clay blade to cut small buttons off formed clay canes.
    • Fine Sharp Needle to make buttonholes if you wish.
    • Oven or Toaster Oven to bake and cure your polymer clay
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  • 02 of 07

    Rolling Polymer Clay to a Uniform Thickness

    Using strips of cardboard to guide a roller and create an even thickness of polymer clay.
    Photo copyright 2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    To roll polymer clay to a uniform thickness for dolls house scale buttons, set up two rolling guides. Set your conditioned clay between the guides, and roll it out, keeping the roller always on the guides. This will give you a piece of clay which is the thickness of your rolling guides. You can use the clay with a punch to cut out tiny button shapes, or you can use it to make layers for a clay cane for buttons.

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  • 03 of 07

    Using a Paper Punch With Polymer Clay

    Use a paper punch to cut shapes from thin polymer clay for dolls house scale buttons.
    Photo copyright 2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    Use a paper punch to shape buttons: Small paper punches can be used to make tiny buttons. Roll out your clay to the correct thickness for your buttons. Dust the clay lightly with corn starch and punch the shapes out of the clay. You may have to use a blade to remove the punched shape from the surface of the punch if it sticks.

    Decorate the Button Surface: Mark a thin indentation around the edge as trim. You can also press carved bead sections into the button to create a texture if you wish. If you press something onto the button shape, make sure you don't push it in so far that it distorts the button.

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  • 04 of 07

    Making Holes in Tiny Buttons

    Holes are made in dolls house scale buttons using a fine needle.
    Photo copyright 2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    To make holes in tiny buttons use a fine piece of ​jeweler's wire or a very fine needle. Put the holes right through the buttons with a needle if you intend to sew your buttons in place. If you will be gluing your buttons to the fabric, you can make indentations that suggest holes. Make sure you leave a separation between the holes to hold the thread.​​

    Once you have made holes in your buttons, bake them according to the instructions for your particular brand of polymer clay and sew or glue them in place.

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  • 05 of 07

    Make Polymer Clay Canes As A Base for Sets of Miniature Buttons

    Making a basic polymer clay cane by wrapping clay evenly around a core.
    Photo copyright 2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    Buttons are a good way to practice making small even canes of polymer clay. You don't need a huge cane to start, as you don't usually want a lot of buttons.

    Begin the Cane: Start a simple cane by rolling a center core from a tiny amount of a dark color of clay. High contrast canes work better for buttons as they are such a small finished object. Wrap this core with a 1/4 to 1/2 inch cylinder of translucent, white or pearl clay.

    Use a thin, uniform layer of colored clay to wrap the white cylinder. This will form the base of your clay cane. Cut the ends off your short, thick cane to make sure the clays are even throughout the cane.

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  • 06 of 07

    Roll Out a Polymer Clay Cane to Make Miniature Buttons

    A 1/8 diameter cane roll of polymer clay can be sliced to make dolls house scale buttons.
    Photo copyright 2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    To make miniature buttons from a polymer clay cane, roll the thick cane you made in the previous step down to a width equal to the diameter you want your buttons. Make sure you roll it as evenly as possible to keep the central and outside colored layers even.

    When your cane is the correct diameter, set it aside in a cool place or your freezer for an hour or so to firm up. Using a sharp blade, trim the end of the cane to check that the pattern is even. If your clay is firm enough you may be able to cut slices now for buttons. If your clay roll flattens as you cut it, you will have to cut it after baking.

    Bake your cut buttons or your clay roll according to the package directions. If you have cut buttons from the unbaked roll, you can add texture or shape them with beads gently pressed into the button. You can also add sewing holes

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  • 07 of 07

    Cut Buttons from a Cane of Baked Polymer Clay

    Tiny doll house scale buttons are sliced from a partially baked cane of polymer clay.
    Photo copyright 2008 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc.

    If your tiny polymer clay can be flattened when you tried to cut buttons from it, you can bake it according to the directions for the clay and cut the buttons before the clay cools. This method will allow you to cut round buttons which are not flattened by the clay or razor blade.

    Clays made from firmer clays may not need to be pre-baked before cutting. Softer clays may need to be pre-baked.

    When cutting buttons from a cane of baked clay, make sure you hold your blade at right angles to the cane. If your blade is slightly angled, your buttons will not be flat and the cane pattern may be slightly distorted.

    Angle cut buttons can be corrected by sanding them on fine flat sandpaper if you wish. If your baked buttons are not as high a gloss as you like, you can coat them with acrylic floor wax, or a gloss acrylic clearcoat. The buttons can be glued onto your fabric when dry.