Tutorial : Homemade Shrink Plastic Buttons

This tutorial will show you how to make your very own buttons using shrink plastic. I have been wanting to make my own buttons for a while and wanted to use a method that would give me really neat and consistent results. The lovely people over at Beads Direct sent me one of their shrink plastic starter packs so that I could try it out and I’m really pleased with my buttons!

To make your own buttons you will need a pack of shrink plastic, a hole punch, some scissors or a circle squeeze punch (I used the medium size which cuts 1 inch circles), a permanent marker and an oven! If you buy the starter pack that I used you will also need scissors/circle punch and also your oven.

I used a circle punch because I wanted my buttons to be perfect circles and have a neat edge. However if you don’t have a punch then simply draw out your shapes straight onto the plastic and cut them out carefully with scissors. The circle punch I used cuts 2.5 cm circles and these shrink to 1cm buttons.

The first thing you need to do is cut out your circles. The plastic is very easy to cut through.

You can get several different types of shrink plastic and the starter pack has a good selection of each. There is clear, frosted, opaque colours and patterns. I prefer the blank plastic because you can draw your own designs and patterns onto this. Using your permanent marker, draw on your design. If you are drawing onto the frosted plastic, draw on the shiny side, if you draw on the frosted side the pen will bleed.

Then you need to make the holes in your button using the hole punch.

Pop your buttons onto a baking tray lined with foil and put them into a pre-heated oven at 175c/350F/Gas Mark 3. The buttons will heat up, twist and curl. When they are lying flat again they have fully shrunk and are ready to take out. This should take 2-3 minutes.

The buttons will go from this :

To this :

When you take the buttons out of the oven you need to hold them flat under a table mat for 30 seconds until they set. Sometimes the buttons will not set quite flat, like in the photo below. If this happens, just pop them back into the oven for a few minutes to make them pliable and flatten them again.

This is a great way of making unique buttons – with a Sharpie in your hand your imagination is the limit! I hope you have fun making your own buttons.

Disclaimer: Beads Direct kindly sent me a free starter set to try out. All opinions and creative ideas are my own.



  1. Do you have a price for the starter kit. They are so cute, cant believe im aaww ing at my phone.

  2. I have tonnes of the shrink plastic i brought for making necklace charms…never thought of making buttons! i’m def going to have to get it all out and have a go at this!

  3. How gorgeous! I’ve done similar with a plastic lemonade bottle, sharpie pens and a heat gun but the only problem is getting them to lie flat. It’s great fun though 🙂

  4. These look great! They look like they stayed perfectly round though, when I shrink my plastic circles, they often come out oval. 😦 I’m using a punch too, so they start out perfectly round… I shrink mine with a heat gun, as I can’t really use the oven for them. Does anyone have any tips on how to keep them nice and round? And avoid the weird little dips and dents that appear on the non frosted side?

    • Hi Isabelle,

      I’ve never tried a heat gun, only an oven. Maybe the oven works better because it heats the button evenly whereas the heat gun might not? I recommend giving your oven a go 🙂

  5. Going to add this to my Christmas wish list. I think I would try some other shaped punches too. Just saw a scalloped edge one on amazon and think it would make a nice effect around the button edges. I have heart or triangle shaped buttons in mind too – so many possibilities!

  6. Great tutorial, thanks for sharing. However, I have the same problem as Isabelle – I used my oven to shrink the plastic circles, and they still came out oval. Could it be the type of oven I have (it’s a fan oven)? They came out lovely and flat, but not the perfect round circles I need. :-/

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