The first thing that I made were some LGBT+ buttons. I just figured that a gay Etsy shop would start out with an LGBT+ theme. A few people saw the listing, but nobody really cared lol. I went to a website called designbundles.net and they have many different designers that sell button images. And of course every purchase of their images comes with a premium license to sell anything that I physically make and physically ship out to customers.
My only complaint is that they’re selling these images in pages that you can print out in jpg format. Meaning, a sheet of 8.5 x 11 of circles of graphics. So there’s a sheet that has 1.25 inch circles or 1 inch circles and then they get smaller and smaller. The problem with that is that I can’t just print out the sheet and then cut out the 1 inch circles. For 1 inch buttons, I need the actual circle to be 1.38 inches. So in order for me to make this work, I had to go into my Photoshop program, and I use gimp, and I had to remove the white background from the 8.5 x 11 image and copy and paste every circle image to a new file so that I can put that 1-in circle over a circle that is 1.38 inches. Then of course I had to rearrange all of the circles onto a 8.5 x 11 image so that I can print the new sheets. And the same goes for the 1.25 inch images for the 1.25 inch buttons.
This whole process takes a very long time and a lot of patience. But once I have it all laid out in Gimp, then I can print the sheets out as many times as I want and make as many buttons as I want. And I’ve even sold a few buttons on Etsy.
A friend of mine and his husband owns a shop in Bakersfield where I live and they wanted to carry the Halloween buttons that you see in the image at the top so that they can sell to their customers. Well, when I delivered the first set of buttons to show them how they look, I also made them buttons with their logo and the next day when I brought them more Halloween buttons, they said that they wanted 1,000 buttons with their shop logo. Not the 1 or 1.25 inch buttons, they wanted the 2.25 inch buttons.
That takes a lot of effort to pull off. First I had to buy a thousand buttons from Amazon which was quite a bit of money. And of course 27lb presentation paper, then I have to print out over a hundred sheets of their logo and then cut a thousand circles of their logo with the circle cutter that came with the button machine. That right there alone was back breaking. And then every box of buttons that I bought came with extra mylar sheets, those plastic things that go on top of the image, the plastic pinbacks had a lot extra, but, they did not include the exact amount of the metal discs for each button. So I ended up being short about so far 50 metal discs out of 1000. So I had to use the metal discs that came with the machine to make up the difference.
I had a lot of mistakes happen where the metal discs did not crimp properly onto the plastic pinbacks. So I ended up losing a lot of metal discs because of that issue. I figured it was probably because I just wasn’t using enough pressure, and that was the case for a lot of the buttons that I lost, but even using a lot of pressure to push that lever down onto the button to clamp it onto the plastic pin back and then crimp the button, that sometimes still isn’t enough and the button comes apart. I had to test by pulling the buttons apart to make sure that they wouldn’t come apart before I packed them up. It should not be this way. It should be so much easier, but who said life was easy?
So, even though it is kind of a pain in the butt to make buttons, it is kind of fun. And of course I’m very sore after making 800 buttons so far. My back is killing me from having to cut the circles (because I had to stand over the page to line up the circle cutter) and my arm is killing me from having to pull the lever down like a beast for every button. Plus my brain hurts from all of the mistakes that I made and I was so ready to just throw in the towel and send everything back to Amazon. I was just so tired of putting in so much effort and getting very little in return. But I continued because I had already paid for all of these materials and they really want their buttons, and I want to deliver a promise that I made to make their buttons for them.
But after this, no more bulk orders like that. This machine that I bought was not made for industrial use, nor was my body. After this I’m just going to continue making little buttons for Etsy.