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Button Making Questions, Ask ABM - Why Does My Button Have Rust?

Button Making Questions, Ask ABM

Why does my button have rust on it?  This question comes up more often as the weather begins to warm up and humidity begins to rise.  You remember you have a great stash of super cute buttons that you put away at the end of last Summer and you run to get them out of the back of the closet only to find those perfect tropical beach designs have a few unexpected polka dots.  Although it's a little too late for that group, you can absolutely prevent it from happening to the rest!

Rusted ButtonMoisture, any kind of moisture, is the mortal enemy of button makers everywhere and sometimes it shows up in the most unexpected ways and places.  The first tip to avoid any unpleasant surprises is to be sure if you are using an inkjet printer that you let your ink dry completely.  I know it's hard to wait to press that super adorable button you just designed but you have to resist the urge for the greater good.  If you can let them dry overnight that is even better.  If there is any moisture, even a tiny bit, left in the ink you will eventually see rust.   

Next up, taking your buttons out on field trips!  This can be especially tricky.  Even when you have them in one of those great plastic totes we all love and live by, they are not truly protected.  You start in a nice cool house then out in the heat to get to the car.  The a/c kicks back on when you crank the engine and everything is cool and happy again.  Then you arrive at your destination and it's back into the heat.  Then to get the few stragglers you have left back home you have to repeat the process in reverse. All of those temperature changes lead to condensation inside of those handy containers which means moisture which leads back to rust. 

RiceAny time you will be storing your buttons or taking them in and out of temperatureSilica Packet changes try throwing in some of those great silica packets you find in so many things these days.  It's a great way to re-purpose those little packets or you can also purchase them, as well as many other moisture absorbers, very economically at a lot of stores.  Another simple solution is uncooked dry rice.  It works fabulously as a moisture magnet!

Just remember this simple formula to ensure your continued button bliss:  steel + moisture = rust.  Until next time, happy button making!

The Pinback Button Making Community

 By Brighid Brown, Director of Blogging and All Things Cool at ABM 


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This is great information. I just discovered rust on some of my buttons, I’m definitely guilty of not waiting long between printing & pressing. Thank you for the tips!

Gina Mitchell on


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