I love to crochet, especially hats. And sometimes I like to put buttons on my hats. I decided to laser-cut some custom buttons for my hats and crocheted goodies.
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Step 1: Design the Buttons
Using Adobe Illustrator, I drew my button design. I decided to have a wren wearing a hat with a pom-pom. The wren has made many appearances in my crocheted works (put a bird on it!) and was even the inspiration for a business logo (www.etsy.com/shop/theswedishwren). The bird logo would be etched into the button. I also decided to do a simple 2-hole button instead of a 4-hole button.
I designed 3 different button sizes - 1", 0.85" and 0.7" (in diameter).
Step 2: Materials
I wanted the buttons to be made of a beautiful hardwood, so I decided on walnut. I also wanted the buttons to be 1/8" thick. Many types of wood would work well for this, including plywood. Acrylic is also a fun option - buttons don't have to be wood! Experimenting with different button thicknesses would be fun too.
Using some scrap 1/4" walnut remnants from a previous project, I planed the wood down to 1/8". I also used a bit of 1/8" plywood to cut practice buttons on - to make sure I was happy with my design.
Step 3: Laser Cut/Etch
The laser cutter I used was an Epilog Legend 36EXT 120Watt. Before cutting buttons on the nice walnut, I ran a couple test cuts on some scrap 1/8" plywood. This allowed me to check out my design and make sure I was happy with the way it looked and the size of each button. Once I was satisfied, I moved onto laser cutting the walnut. I also tried cutting a few acrylic buttons just for fun.
The settings that worked best for me were:
Remember that all laser cutters aren't the same, therefore my settings might not be the best for every machine. It takes a little practice and trial/error until you have just the right settings for your material and machine, so be patient!
Step 4: Put Your Buttons to Use!
You could use your buttons almost anywhere! On pants, shirts, hats, scarves...the list goes on and on. I crocheted an iPhone sleeve and used one of my buttons to keep it closed.