button (badge) maker?
November 7, 2008 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a button (badge) maker for a Canadian?

I'm looking around at button makers, but not sure where to start. A big concern is the cost of getting parts as time goes on. I do not live in the states, and postage from the US is expensive enough that I would rather buy local(ish). I live near enough to Vancouver (BC).

So if you have a badge-maker and love it, please post up the company/model. *Also: If you live in/near Vancouver and are able to buy parts locally, please let me know where.

If it makes any difference, I'm probably looking to make 1.5" badges.

posted by tamarack to Shopping (7 answers total)
If you're up for a drive, button makers in seattle is awesome.
posted by logic vs love at 1:32 PM on November 7, 2008

I ordered parts all the time and a couple of makers from Badge-A-Minit when I lived in Korea. The shipping wasn't that bad at all and they are super friendly and easy to deal with.

Bonus points: you can buy an entry-level press to see if you like it and if you upgrade they throw in 200 button parts for free.
posted by Brittanie at 1:54 PM on November 7, 2008

This place has button stuff. It's in NS though.
posted by CKmtl at 2:15 PM on November 7, 2008

Don't use Badge-A-Minit, the machines and parts are ridiculously expensive. I used to make and sell buttons, and I used this one, although I think I got it cheaper off eBay. Even buying them online, your price per button is very low. I would regularly buy 1000 sets of button parts for around 80 bucks, so that's only 8 cents per unit. Add ink and paper, and you're topping out at max 15 cents per. I sold mine on eBay for good profit.

I found it was very hard to find local supplies (in Toronto). For a while, someone was setting up a local supplier, buying from the site I linked above, then reselling to local craftspeople. I think they had a good business going, but they gave it up, said it was time to make it a full time business and they didn't have the time.

Online is probably your best bet, sad to say. Your price per unit is pretty low though. Any other button making/printing/selling questions, ask here or memail me and I'll help if I can.
posted by yellowbinder at 6:29 PM on November 7, 2008

Thanks everyone for the feedback (and CKmtl for the CND link). I think I have used one similar to the 'professional' badge makers yellowbinder linked to, but right now those are out of my price range (even thought they are probably worth it, this isn't going to be a money-making venture really). The reason I'm looking for local, and this side of the border, is to do with shipping costs - especially UPS which charge unbelievable 'brokerage' fees for coming through the border crossing. It changes a 40$ item to a 70$ item (plus exchange rates). There is also the tactile + visual reassurance of being able to touch + see something before spending over 100$ on it. If I find myself in Seattle, I may try to visit button makers (thanks logic vs lore).
Anyhow, it helps a bit: looks like it's harder to get than I originally anticipated! :(
posted by tamarack at 8:56 PM on November 7, 2008

FWIW, you can opt to self-broker your UPS parcels and save the brokerage fee, but this would probably require you to pick up the parcel from Customs in Vancouver.
posted by winston at 9:32 PM on November 7, 2008

You might have better luck finding a really local supplier if you check out regional crafting forums. Or local crafts shows, there's a calendar of them here.
posted by CKmtl at 8:34 AM on November 8, 2008

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