copyright 2015
Dottie Hoeschen
all rights reserved
One way you can greatly expand the possibilities for your art is by making your own molds. With polymer clay you can make a mold of almost anything and then be able to make multiples. Any kind of texture and shape is fair game!

Buttons, cabochons, even 3 dimensional molds are possible.

I like to use  either Super Sculpey, or better yet, all those little scraps of clay left over from other projects to make my molds. Just condition the scraps as you normally would and they are ready to go (and at no additional cost, too).

Though this shows how to make a mold with a button, remember that anything is fair game when it comes to making molds.
Thoroughly condition your clay, roll it into a ball, and press it onto a ceramic tile.

I like to work on tiles because they help to keep the clay cooler (it can get sticky if too warm) and when done I just pick it up and slide the whole thing, tile and clay, into the oven.
Use something flat, like another tile or the wooden back of a rubber stamp, to press down, flattening the ball. Try to do it as level as you can.
Use cornstarch (water works, too) to dust the top of your chosen button and then press it evenly down into the clay. Keep it as level as you can.
Carefully lift the button out of the clay. If it has a shank you can use that to pull it out. If not you will need to carefully pry it  out around the edges. The deeper the texture, the harder it will be to pull it out. So, you might have to rock it back and forth a bit to coax the clay to let go.
Bake the clay according to the manufacturer's directions. Pop the mold off the tile while it is still a little warm and it will come off easier. At left are several molds made from my buttons.
Now make the button:

Condition some clay, pinch off a piece, and roll it into a ball. With practice you will begin to be able to tell how much clay is needed to fill the mold.

Dust the mold with cornstarch (or water) and press the clay into the mold. Use enough clay so that it stands a little above the top edge. This will make it easier to get out of the mold than if it is level with top. You can add a shank by pressing a jump ring or spring ring into the clay. I add a drop of Liquid Sculpey in the depression of the ring to make sure it doesn't pull out after baking.

Let it sit for a few minutes to cool down and firm up a bit.

Gently pry the clay out by working your way around the edges toward the center. If it gets a little distorted you may push it back into shape. But if it gets too distorted you can always roll up the clay and start over.

Bake according to manufacturer's directions.

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( using polymer clay)
polymer clay buttons
step 1
Gather together the buttons you want to use. Here's my treasure trove at the left.
step 2
step 3
step 4
various molds
step 5
You can bake your buttons and cabs on a bed of polyester batting, but be sure that you preheat the oven before putting them in. If you put the button and polyester in a cold oven the polyester will melt as it heats up.
polymer clay buttons
Polymer Clay Buttons