Workroom Buttons
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Home>Machine Information>"What about Badge and Cover Buttons?"

"What about Badge and Cover Buttons?"

How is your machine different from the one sold by Hope Yoder and American Button Machines?

The machine we sell was developed in the mid-1800's for making fabric covered buttons. Hope Yoder and American Button Machines sell the Tecre button machine, a specialized press developed to make buttons with paper inserts and polyester film (DuPont Mylar). Tecre's only domestic competitor is Badge Parts, founded by a former Tecre partner after a disagreement. The machine design is based on a "No. 2"–style fabric button press, sometimes called a swivel machine:

Tecre machine (with permanently attached dies)
Osborne swivel machine (shown without interchangeable dies)

This "badge press" has a 45 degree groove cut into the second stage die to accommodate paper and Mylar. However, the manufacturer will polish out the groove if fabric is preferred (free upon request). This modification allows their machine to use "good quality" quilt-weight fabric, but paper no longer. Because our machine was designed specifically for fabric, it can handle almost any fabric, leather, or vinyl imaginable.

Our machine comes in one size. However, many different dies are available for our machine, in many different sizes. American-made badge presses have fixed dies, meaning they are not interchangeable (one machine = one size). Some Asian and European versions have interchangeable dies.

Can your machine make buttons with paper?

Sort of... This is a #40 (1") flat shell button made with paper and two layers of gloss iron-on vinyl, but not ironed:

Click on image for enlarged view.

Edges are a little bulky, as you can see. We've also tried Mylar with similar results. Here's what's happening:

Paper + Mylar + Badge Parts vs. Fabric + Standard Button Parts

Standard button sidewalls that accommodate fabric so beautifully leave paper and Mylar bulk with nowhere to go. Badge buttons force that bulk underneath the button where it is unnoticed. We don't claim our machine will produce perfect badge buttons, but we're hoping for better results than this. We have a few more ideas to try...

Can Dritz push-together buttons be assembled on a button machine?

Short answer: no. Heavy steel machine dies will crush soft cover buttons.

Modern hand-assembled "cover button kits'' were patented in 1960 by Maxant Button and Supply so that covered buttons could be made at home. The action of the kit's little plastic tool was designed to mimic an American button die. Thin-walled aluminum components are easy to push together by hand.

Cover buttons work great for hobbies and crafts, but were never intended for production work due to issues with:
  • Durability (soft aluminum dents easily)
  • Quantity (making lots of buttons is very hard on the hands)
  • Versatility (cover buttons can't handle thicker materials)
  • Strength (high tension applications, like tufting, can pull apart cover buttons)
If you're making just a few decorative buttons out of quilt-weight fabric, and don't want to invest in machinery... sure, Dritz buttons are perfect. If you want to start selling your button earrings, or tufted headboards, or... well, anything: buy a machine before you burn out!