Monday, November 22, 2010

Dime Buttons

Here's a quick project that wasn't nearly as quick as I initially hoped: dime buttons!

If you haven't already, you'll need to reference my penny buttons post to follow this tutorial; it's essentially the same process, with the key difference of aging the dimes so the detail show through.

My test dimes.

See how nicely the detail "pops" on the far right? I did a lot of experimenting to find a finish that was easy to apply and would withstand machine washing. More on that in a second, though.

First, make your dime buttons using your trusty doming block, epoxy paste, and O rings:

(Again, for more detailed instructions see my penny button tutorial.)

You could stop here, of course, but from a distance they'd just look like plain silver buttons. Where's the fun in that?

So instead, get out your trusty Sharpie.

(Yes, really.)

After much messing about with paints and glazes, I finally determined that a simple coating with a Sharpie marker was the best base coat to age the dimes. So:

1) Color your dime solid black with a Sharpie. Make sure the ink gets in all the nooks and crannies. (For a softer look, try a dark brown Sharpie.)

2) Let it dry for a few seconds, until just barely tacky. (If you start to rub before the ink dries, your finish will have more contrast, and more areas of solid silver showing through.)

3) Using a paper towel or cloth, rub off the peaks of the dime until you like the way it looks. I wrapped the paper towel around my index finger and used a twist & rub technique, but play around with it and find whatever works for you. This will also take a few minutes of rubbing, so don't panic if it seems to be taking a while to get through the ink.

4) To seal the finish, spray your finished buttons with a high quality lacquer clear coat. (Check the spray-paint aisle.) I used a high gloss, but a flat sheen would look great, too.

The finished products:

Aren't they gorgeous? And I only had to wipe off the finishes with lacquer thinner and start all over again three times! :D

A few more beauty shots, since these were kind of a pain to photograph well:

Initially I planned to attach these to a black and gray military-style shrug, but the buttons are a bit too dark; they don't show up all that well. So instead I'm hunting through my closet for something brighter. This finish looks *amazing* against blue, yellow, or dark orange. Actually, it'd probably look good on anything other than black, gray, or brown, so I have a lot of options.

Oh, and these are bigger than your average shirt buttons, so keep that in mind if you decide to replace the buttons on something you own. The lacquer finish will withstand soap, water, and scrubbing, but I haven't tested the epoxy putty in the dryer yet, so no promises there. You may want to air dry, just to be safe.

Hope you enjoyed! And as always, please send pictures if you try this yourself!


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  1. Gorgeous! I enjoy your craft projects so much. However, I now have so many things I want to try but don't have time to do.

  2. hrk... hrk...

    that's ...

    gah, what are you doing to TEH MONIEZ!!!!

    It's money, Jen! Money! Spend the money, save the money, pile the money in a huge vault and swim in the money, but for the love of Mammon, stop destroying the money! You'll ... uh, deflate the entire economy or something! Something bad!

    Poor Moniez, come to RO, I will take care of you and treat you right good and proper, poor thing. No mean old doming block in MY house, I promise. I will save you, and spend you, and never ever make you into a button, I promises.

  3. these are awesome.
    but the important thing here is that i had just enough tabs open in my browser that this post was shortened to "dime butt"!

  4. Oh brilliant, RO, subscribe to teh comments on a Jen blog. Awesome, that.

  5. I have a special "thing" with dimes, wear one on a necklace every day, my first thought when I saw the penny tutorial was dimes. I've bought the doming block already, just not the epoxy and o-rings.

    I'm working on some ideas related to journals, for gifts. ;)

  6. Once again I'm in awe of your creaftivity.

    Yes, I did make up that word.

  7. I love seeing the crazy, wacky, COOL things you come up with!!! I'm not a big commenter, but I read everything you post, just wanted to say thanks!!

  8. Sa-weet!! I just added a doming block to my Christmas list. I am very excited!!

  9. Brilliant!! I think I like these more than the penny buttons! Wait. Maybe not...

    I really love both. I need a doming block, STAT!

  10. That is so incredibly cool! I never thought about that being cheaper... I just recently started following you, but I'm loving it so far!

  11. Jen, this doesn't have much to do with dime or buttons, but this ezine was just recommended to me. You may already know about it, but if not:

  12. kinda an FYI kinda didja try this? Magic eraser gets sharpie off, maybe if you just rub lightly only the images would be cleaned??

  13. My grandfather used to make me jewelry out of dimes soldered to safety pins. He called them "dime-and-pins" (which sounds like "diamond pins"). This made me think of it...although your dime buttons are much more sophisticated-looking :)

  14. Years ago in junior high shop one of our assignments was to dome a dime and turn it into a ring; my husband and I both have one somewhere. I love what the sharpie did to it; I may need to dig it out and try it.

  15. @ Anony - good idea on the Magic Eraser! I'll have to give that a try next time.

  16. I think if you wanted to use it on those other colors, it would look nice if you started cleaning it off before it started to dry, so that the relief was shiny silver with a tarnish to highlight it.

  17. These are spectacular! I'm adding a doming block to my HUSBAND'S Christmas list. I don't know what he's going to do with it, but I'm seeing flower centers for cards & scrapbook pages!

  18. WOW! 70 cents can last you a lot longer than you think in this world! I also like them without the "patina" (of sorts)--it's like you can't really tell what it is until people come up and look closer, and the it's like WOW!

    This would also be a great way to get rid of those damn Canadian quarters, nickels and dimes I end up with from time to time.

    @Lori, isn't giving the doming block to your husband kinda like a husband buying his wife a bowling ball for her birthday when he's the one who bowls? If so, then I LIKE IT!

  19. Once again you make me want to get a doming block and make new buttons for my pea-coat.

    And you got to love that the simplest solution always works out the best. What would we do without sharpies?

  20. You are so creative!

    I love the ideas!

  21. I LOVE my doming block. Can't thank you enough for pointing them out to us out here in blog-land. I've used mine more for doming jewelry pieces than coins so far, but I plan to make some buttons soon.
    also, for anyone worried about washing their buttons, you could just pin them on the item, using either regular safety pins or the special button safety pins That way you can remove the buttons when it's time to wash or dryclean the item.

  22. I love these! I am curious, though: Did you notice the Sharpie running at all when you sprayed the clear sealer over it? I had a project where I spent a good bit of time writing on glass with a Sharpie only to have it run when I sprayed the protective coat.

  23. What a very cool idea and they turned out gorgeous! I will have to look at the penny tutorial, as my last name is Lincoln! :D

  24. I've seen people using bottle caps in that way and then making earrings. Very cool, I think. And I live in a student community so having Buddweiser or Black Label earrings are appropriate! :) (and I've always wondered how they do that)

  25. PS: I even went to the hardware store today to try and find epoxy resin (for a variation on the penny table) and the dome thingy...err...anyway. They were closed! *nooooo* Shall try again tomorrow

  26. Awesome ~ what a great Idea!

  27. Hi--Reading your blog for the first time (longtime Cake Wrecks reader just catching on!). A long time ago, on a Southwest trip, I bought sterling button covers with stamped designs on them. Just found these blank ones

    Two nice things--they can be moved to different shirts without sewing, instead of being a permanent part of any one shirt. And since they slide over the regular button, it doesn't matter what size the buttonhole is. You probably know about this, but just in case...I'm sure you could attach domed dimes to them!


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