Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Button making.

Hello everyone and welcome to the latest post. I little while ago I went to our local fabric shop Millie Moon for a workshop making ceramic buttons. I love Millie Moon as they have a wide range of beautiful fabrics in the shop and the owners are real crafty ladies who have a wealth of knowledge. They have 2 shops one here and the other in Frome and they are well worth a visit.

Anyway, the workshops they provide are varied, at the moment they are doing patchwork, button making, jewellery, dressmaking and knicker making! So let me tell you all about making ceramic buttons.

The teacher was a lovely lady called Jo who has her own workshop in Shepton Mallett and she makes a huge variety of ceramics which sell in the local galleries and also buttons which I have previously bought in Millie Moon. I have seen tutorials on making buttons and tags from .......................but I wanted to make these as I feel ceramics has a lot more versatility.

So our first part of the day was learning about what we would do and seeing the ideas our teacher had. The plan was to make 10 buttons using each style and technique she showed us. Firstly she showed us how to roll out our clay using a rolling pin and to get an even thickness using skewers. We each had a ceramic block as well which we laid our clay shapes on to draw out the moisture and enable.

The first buttons were plain and we could choose the shapes we wanted to cut out from a variety of cutters.

 Our next style was textures. Rolling out the clay first we could then choose a variety of different textures to embed into our clay ready for us to cut our our button shapes. I found a beautiful piece of lace which when rolled into the clay left a lovely pattern and I also used some ceramic stamps of flowers, dots etc. We then cut out our shapes ready for drying.

I hope you can see the lace picked out with the colour washing on the hearts and the butterfly. The flower button was made using some cake icing cutters.

The third style of buttons was using different coloured clay. The main clay was like a speckled egg and we then placed offcuts of black and white clay onto our background clay to form a design. Once rolled out, this gave a backdrop for us to cut out our shapes again.

Each button had to have holes made into it in order to be used as buttons and the clay smoothed down on the edges to get a professional finish. I made some button holes as normal but some of my pieces I put only one in thinking I could perhaps make them into jewellery or no holes to use as brooches.

Finally we were able to colour our buttons using glazes either in full thickness or as a watered down wash. Our teacher then took the buttons away to be fired. And one week later I received my completed buttons. I had great fun making them and I learnt loads about handling clay and how to use a variety of mediums to make beautiful pieces. These are my three faves:

 I love this heart because of the beautiful effect that rolling lace into the clay made and how the red glaze wash had accentuated the crevices and highlighted the floral pattern.

 I love the image of butterflies and felt I wanted a simple pattern and clear glaze just to bring out the texture so I could make this into a brooch.

 I tried photographing this little square button as close as possible but it still doesn't show quite how pretty it is. I love the 3D effect of having these flowers on the button and they were made using a cake icing cutter. The actual button has a dot pattern on it and then a pale green wash.

Maybe give something new a try next time you consider doing a class.


  1. Jo, these are so gorgeous! Wow, what a great opportunity, to attend such a lovely class - and you certainly made the most of the opportunity :)

  2. Oh, these are stunning! My favourites are the ones with texture ... You've made a great job of these.

  3. They really are beautiful. Wish we had somewhere like this for classes round here!

  4. Your buttons are gorgeous Jo. I like the textured heart and butterfly best too. This class looks right up my street and not too far from me. Thanks for the link to Jo's website, it's given me a couple of possible present ideas for friends :o)

  5. Oh Jo! These are lovely. I can't wait to see how you use them! x


Hello and thank you so much for stopping by. It is always a pleasure to read the comments I receive and to meet new friends. I try and reply to comments on friend's blogs as much as possible. I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog and look forward to seeing you here again soon. Love Jo xxx