We have had several customers ask us about how to make a pinback button that is waterproof. There is a lot of misinformation published on the web so we wanted to shed a little light on the subject.Pinback buttons are made of steel parts along with graphic images or photos printed on paper and then covered by a piece of clear plastic mylar for protection. This is usually enough to combat any water you may encounter during the day. Pinback buttons are not “hermetically” sealed. If you submerse a button in water, then water will eventually get in. However how many times does that really happen? Even if your button finds itself in the middle of a rainstorm, the water will usually run off without hurting the button. If you accidently put your button in a washing machine then water can get trapped inside your button. However you might want to consider the effects that water play on the component parts. If your button gets wet and is not dried in a timely fashion, the button’s steel will rust. There is really no way to combat this effectively as steel+water = rust.
To make a waterproof pinback button (or should I say a “water resistant” button) with our button making machines you have two options:
Option 1:You can laminate your graphics with 1.5mil laminate on both sides which keeps the paper trapped between two pieces of plastic laminate which will not let water in. However laminate causes your print to look a little grainy with a slightly matte finish. Laminates can be easily scratched with a fingernail and cause a permanent indention in the film. You will have to purchase a laminating machine and then incur the additional cost of the laminate material. This seems a little costly and unecessary as the complete pinback button sets we offer include the clear plastic mylar needed to complete the button making process.
Option 2: Epson printers offer pigment based inks that they market as “archive quality” that can last for 80 to 100 years and longer! I have seen tests where Epson kept a photo in a jar of water for 4 months and it did not lose any print quality. If you are selling pinback buttons and want the best and brightest quality print, we believe Epson makes the best inkjet printers. That is why professional photographers usually go with Epson Printers for their print quality, cost per copy and reliability. It seems as though printer models change every week. Much like computers, once you buy it, it is practically obsolete by the time you get it home. We would suggest you contact your nearest electronics store to see what the latest technology provides and pick the best inkjet printer you can afford. When you are selling printed artwork, the highest caliber print makes a good button…absolutely extraordinary!
Brighid Brown – Director of Blogging and All Things Cool at ABM