A guide to making $50 an hour selling buttons

A guide to making $50 an hour selling buttons

Start your own button-making business and earn $50.00 an hour! I'll show you how

Ever thought of starting your own business?

One you could operate from home?

One that would be fun and profitable?

If you answered "YES" to any of these questions, then making buttons (also known as badges) could be what you've been looking for!

In the following article, I am going to share my own button-making experiences and show you how you can earn more than $50.00 an hour making buttons.

Sound too good to be true?

Give me a few minutes of your time and I'll show you how.

My First Button-making Breakthrough

My first breakthrough as a button-maker came in 1991, while attending a week-long convention of the National Association of Letter Carriers, in New Orleans.

I had previously been a Letter Carrier and I decided to take my button machine to the convention in hopes of making and selling buttons.

My strategy was simple... I set up a folding table on the sidewalk outside the convention center and sold buttons to the conventioneers as they made their way into the convention each morning, and then again each afternoon as they were leaving the convention center.

To replace the buttons I sold each day, I simply made more each night in my hotel room.

The buttons I made had sayings that were popular with Letter Carriers; sayings like "Union Letter Carrier... and Proud of It!", "My Supervisor is Dumber than Your Supervisor" and one that said "National Association of Letter Carriers Convention - New Orleans, Louisiana- 1991" that served as an inexpensive souvenir for anyone who attended the convention.

To make a long story short, I sold $1800 worth of buttons ($1.50 each, or 4 for $5.00) during the five days I was at the convention!

That's me, on the left, in the photo above. Notice the smile on my face... and the large wad of cash in my left hand.

As I was driving home, after the convention, it struck me that I just might be onto something. I had been looking for a way to earn additional income and this experience had been fun and profitable, so I decided to give it a shot.

And that, my friend, is how Dr. Don's Buttons came to be.

Earn $50.00 an hour (or more) making buttons!

Earlier I told you I would show you how to earn $50.00 an hour making buttons and if you will give me a few more minutes of your time, I will walk you through the process and share some of the most profitable button-making ideas I've come up with. Ideas you are free to use yourself.

Sports and School Activity Buttons

One of the more profitable button-making ideas I've come up with, is what I call "Personalized Sports and School Activity Buttons". I will use them as my first example to show you how easy... and how profitable button-making can be.

Not long after the convention in New Orleans, I received a call from a woman whose son attended a high school in our area. She wanted to know if I could make buttons for their booster club; buttons they could then resell at the games for a profit.

I told her I could, and the result was the concept of "Personalized Sports and School Activity Buttons", samples of which are shown below.

What makes this type of button so profitable is that they are personalized. Each button will have the name and/or jersey number of a player, as well as the name of the school and the team.

Family members love this type of button, since they are far more meaningful than a button that merely says "Football Mom" or "Basketball Dad".

To make Personalized Sports and School Activity Buttons, you start by creating a template that includes both the school name and the team name. After that, you add a graphic that represents the particular sport you are working with.

After you have created the template (and saved it), simply enter each player's name and/or jersey number on the template. Then, repeat the process until you have buttons for all the players, in the quantity you need.

When I first started doing these buttons (in the mid 1990's), I sold them for $1.50 each. The booster club would then turn around and sell them to the player's parents, grandparents, and girlfriends for $3.00 - $4.00 each.

I was happy, the families were happy, and the booster club was happy, too!

One of the things I enjoyed about this arrangement was that I didn't have to sell the buttons myself; the booster club did!

However, if you are going to the games anyway, you might be able to sell the buttons yourself and significantly increase the amount of profit you would earn.

Click here for more information on sports buttons. 


The Best Button Maker Machine for Sports Buttons 


Determining Your Costs and Your Profits

When you do buttons in this manner, here's how to determine your costs and the amount of profit you would earn.

Let's say you receive an order for 100 personalized Sports Buttons and you sold them for $2.00 each (you are free to charge whatever you wish, but when someone asks us to produce them now, that's what we typically charge).

100 x $2.00 equals $200.00 in total sales.

(With football teams, where you may have 50 or more players on a team, an order of 100 buttons is realistic. And don't forget... most high schools have Freshman, Junior Varsity and Varsity teams).

The next step is to determine the cost of the supplies needed to make 100 buttons.

You can purchase 1000 2-1/4" pin-back button sets from my company, Dr. Don's Buttons, Stickers and More, for $109.95.

Purchased in a quantity of 1000, the cost per button works out to be 11 cents each.
(11 cents x 100 = $11.00)

Now, we need to factor in the cost of printing the designs.

If you're using an inkjet printer, that would be the cost of your ink and paper.

I doubt that it would be this much, but let's say that averaged out to be 5 cents per design.
(5 cents x 100 = $5.00)

So, the cost of materials to make 100 buttons would be about $16.00.

$200.00 - $16.00 = $184.00

In this example, your net profit would be $184.00.

Now, to determine how much you would be earning per hour, divide the amount of time you would spend making the buttons into the amount of profit you have earned.

You know it's going to take a certain amount of time to design your buttons. In the beginning, it will take a bit more time, but after creating the initial design, it's easy to save your designs and use them as templates so the next time you want to make buttons, you simply change the school name and team name for each school you are working with.

When your template is ready, then all you need to do is type in the player's name (and if applicable, their jersey number) with your graphics program and print the number of designs you need for each player.

This might take anywhere between 60-90 minutes. Let's say it takes you 90 minutes.

After printing your designs, you now need to cut them from the printed sheets and then make your buttons.

Inexpensive button machines, like those produced by Badge-A-Minit, are only able to make about one button or badge a minute, (60 buttons per hour). They also have a tendency to produce poor quality buttons, where the edge of the paper design or plastic covering may stick out the sides of the button or where the button falls apart after being made because the edge of the buttons weren't crimped tightly.

On the other hand, our Model 225 button machine is capable of producing 4 or 5 buttons per minute and buttons made with the Model 225 will be professional quality. They will not suffer the poor quality issues described above.

And as you can imagine, faster and better... is better, when you are making buttons you are going to sell!

With our Model 225, it will take you about 30 minutes to make 100 buttons.

The next step in the process is to then verify each button and make certain you spelled each name correctly, that the correct jersey number appears on each design, and that you produced buttons for everyone who ordered them.

Let's add another 15 minutes to do that.

Using this example, the amount of time you would likely spend creating 100 personalized sports buttons would be about 2 hours and 15 minutes (135 minutes).

Now let's divide the $184 profit you earned, by the 135 minutes you would likely spend doing the buttons. As you can see, the amount you earn would be $1.36 a minute or $81.60 an hour.

Now, imagine how earning more than $50 an hour could change your life.

Political Campaign Buttons

The thing that keeps more people from making political campaign buttons is simply that they lack the ability to create the specialized backgrounds politicians want on their buttons. Things like flags, banners... you know, political-looking stuff.

I know, because when I first started to make buttons in 1990, that's what kept me from making them.

I wanted to make political campaign buttons (because I knew there was good money to be made) but I didn't have the ability to create the backgrounds myself and I couldn't afford to pay a graphic artist $50 an hour to do them for me.

Because of that, I didn't make political campaign buttons until 1999, some 9 years after I started making buttons.

And the only reason I was able to do so then, was because I hired a full-time graphic artist.

The challenges I went through back then inspired me to put political button templates on CDs and make them available to our customers.

By doing so, now anyone who wants to make political campaign buttons can do so and all you have to do is add text to any of the designs found on any of our Political Button Design CDs.

You can purchase one of our Political Button Template CDs for only $79.95 and get started in the very lucrative field of making political campaign buttons, even if you have absolutely no graphic design experience.


  • Kathryn Levin

    I have a love for collecting buttons and woke up sorting threw some of my buttons!! Then it dawned on me what if I sold buttons on the side!! My son is starting lacrosse soon maybe I can start making buttons for his teams? Or sale my collection of buttons! I have so many ideas with buttons but how do I start!! I apparently need money or I would not be interested in a side hustle. I also sale shampoo! Would others who sale shampoo want a button that said their website and are logo on it? Please help. Sincerely,

  • Kathryn Levin

    I have a love for collecting buttons and woke up sorting threw some of my buttons!! Then it dawned on me what if I sold buttons on the side!! My son is starting lacrosse soon maybe I can start making buttons for his teams? Or sale my collection of buttons! I have so many ideas with buttons but how do I start!! I apparently need money or I would not be interested in a side hustle. I also sale shampoo! Would others who sale shampoo want a button that said their website and are logo on it? Please help. Sincerely,

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