How to Make Covered Buttons With a Grommet Machine

Updated February 21, 2017

Homemade covered buttons are easy to make and can tie a garment together when covered with matching or complementary fabric. Using a grommet or button machine is a multi-step process, but if done correctly, you can create professional looking, personalised buttons. Choose fabrics that are medium to heavy weight to prevent wear and tear to the buttons as they will be used and handled a lot on the garment. Follow any safety precautions listed with the button machine to prevent pinched fingers or damaged tools and supplies.

Mount button machine on a 2-by-6-inch board with provided hardware to create stability for the machine during use.

Screw the provided pressing plate into the top of the button machine. Place cutting block on the bottom of the machine. Set the chosen button fabric onto the block. Place the cutter on top of the fabric with the sharp side touching the fabric. Ensure the cutter is centred under the pressing plate. Press the button machine handle all the way down to cut through the fabric and create circular cut-outs. Fabric can be folded over multiple times to create multiple cut-outs at once.

Remove all parts and fabric from the machine. Leave the pressing plate screwed into the machine. Separate the fabric circles and set aside.

Put the bottom die into the base of the machine. Insert the button back into the die with the right side down.

Insert a fabric circle into the top die. Set a button shell on top of the fabric in the centre. The shell should sit right side down on the fabric. Insert the pusher into the centre of the button shell. Pull the die up with one hand while forcefully push down on the pusher with the other hand. Set the pusher aside.

Flip the top die over, and set it on top of the bottom die. It should fit snugly over the bottom die due to the grooved edges of the dies. Press the handle down all the way. You should feel the button suck together while you press the handle down.

Remove the top die from the button machine. Pop the button out of the die. Repeat process to make multiple covered buttons.

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About the Author

Gabrielle Black has been a professional writer, artist and designer since 2002. Her theatrical designs, puppet design and construction have been featured in "Theatre Design & Technology" magazine and she has written numerous articles for various websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Luther College and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Idaho, both in stage design and painting.