I fancy myself a survivalist/ improvisational expert but I also drink probably too much soda. Which explains the expanding waste line, which explains the popped pants buttons, which explains the need to replace them with something more durable than the el cheapo stock ones on the cargo pants I bought from K mart. It's all a vicious cycle blah blah blah whatever here's how to make your own bush craft/survival buttons from a soda bottle caps that will last a very long time. I got 4 pairs of pants done like this no joke.
What you will need:
- sharp knife or box cutter
- sharpie (optional)
- scissors or shears
- common sense
- bandaids for cuts (possibility)
- something to treat burns (another possibility)
Cut the top off of the bottle cap. I find you can get better leverage and control for this by tightening the cap ontot he bottle as much as you can then using the bottle for holding while you dig into the cap walls until you hit the under threading of the bottle. I usually use a box cutter but my trusty buck knife did the trick this time.
WARNING! This is a very dangerous step. If you slip you could wind up with a nasty cut on your appendage or whatever else so don't attempt this unless you are EXPERIENCED at using a knife and even then be prepared for cuts cuz... well you know sh*t happens, especially with sharp stuff.
Finish removing the top from the bottle cap. At this point you may consider cleaning up the cap a little by removing the little rubber insert by sticking your blade up underneath it and prying it lose a little at a time. This particular bottle cap didn't have one but it did happen to have a rather annoying little inside lip that was giving me trouble with the scissors so I shaved it down.
If you have the fortune of having the original broken button you could use it for a template and trace it with a pencil or marker. Here I noticed that my button was roughly the same diameter of the writing on the top of the cap. Saved me some marker juice. I suggest when cutting out the shape you turn the cap in small incremental turns as you clamp down to cut with the scissors also you should use a pair of sharp scissors but also some you don't really care about because this can't be good for them.
Mark your button holes. I choose 3 because I am lazy and I think 4 sometimes is redundant.
Yet another dangerous step:
I used to use my knife and hand drill the holes but I found that to be imprecise and took up alot of time so I started thinking about it like making holes in leather belt using an awl and fire to burn through it. So I came up with this.
Grab your needle and hold it tight with your pliers. Get the tip of the needle real hot with a lighter and poke it through melting the plastic and making a hole. Now I'm sure there's toxic fumes that come from this type of plastic so only do this in a well ventilated area and use common sense just don't breathe the fumes. Oh yeah and try not to burn yourself, if you do aloe vera is a life saver.
This last step is optional:
I do a little finishing on my button by running it through a flame real quick with melts the thin plastic on the sides and rolls a little of it over thereby eliminating the sharp edges which could potentially wear cuts in the threads around the button hole of your pants which I'm sure you don't want. You can use the pliers to hold it away from your hands and as always use your head around fire and be warned this stuff heats up quick doesn't take much to get all melty and too hot to hold.
Also another interesting property of this type of plastic is when in catches on fire is drips flaming lava like goop all over and smells like... well... melted plastic crap.
Okay! Your done congratulations! Sew it on and you have yourself a replacement button recycled from what would other wise be trash. Feel proud. Your helping mother nature out and keeping your pants up all at the same time.