Arts and Crafts

The Craft Every Camp Should Offer

Every camp should have a button maker set or two. There are so many things you can do with them.


  1. Buttons cost less than 10¢ each, making them a low cost craft.
  2. Campers can be creative in their design instead of having to follow specific instructions.
  3. If a camper messes up they can easily design a new button.
  4. The prep work is very easy.
  5. This is a craft/activity that any age can participate in.
  6. They are great to take to camp fairs. Let kids make their own buttons.
  7. Buttons are great giveaways wherever you market your camp, to board members, organization employees, visitors, and anyone else that might associate with your camp.
  8. By making more professional designs on Photoshop, camp buttons, magnets, zipper pulls, etc. would be a good edition to most camp stores.
  9. Buttons can make a great reward for a camp rewards and recognition program. For example, get an arrow in the center of the target at archery and earn the Bull’s Eye button/pin.


  1. We pre-cut a bunch of paper circles. We use 2 machines. One makes 1.25″ buttons and the other makes 2.5″ buttons. So we have paper circles in both sizes.
  2. The campers draw and color on the paper. They can create as many as they want but near the end of the activity they must choose only 2 of their designs to be made into buttons.
  3. The counselor loads the machine with the medal parts and the mylar. The campers can pull the lever to actually make the button.
  4. Once a year the parts need to be greased to work correctly. I use a grease pen found at hardware stores and some automotive stores.


Button machines have come a long way since their inception. Even cutting the paper to make the button is super easy. Take a look.


What you see above is the old button handpress that is difficult to use. If you have a lot of buttons to make, your hand will be cramping up after about a dozen. They are still available and inexpensive, but as they say, “You get what you pay for”, and that certainly holds true with button makers.


This is today’s button machine that is much easier to use. It’s also fun to use. Campers get a kick out of pulling the lever down to make their own buttons.


This is the piece of equipment I use to use with the cheap model to cut circles in a piece of paper. It would often shred or tear the paper and it would get caught on whatever was underneath the paper itself. It is horrible to use.


This is what I use now. I simply slide in the paper, pull the lever, and voila! a perfect circle.

With the use of the new equipment a button can be put together in less than 30 seconds at a leisurely pace. With the old equipment a button would take around 90 seconds.

Buttons don’t need to have just a pinback either. There are accessories that can make them into a magent, zipper-pull, lapel pin and more.


I recommend visiting Button Makers at They have a nicely laid out website. They also have videos on how to use Photoshop to create your professional camp button designs, or you can pay for and use their own design program. Their shipping is quick and they are very responsive to their customer’s needs.

Do you make buttons at camp?




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