Latest entries
Introducing the 2014 Button-O-Matic Series: Smiley Buttons

Introducing the 2014 Button-O-Matic Series: Smiley Buttons

The release of Busy Beaver’s 2014 Button-O-Matic Artist Series has us grinning from ear to ear, because this year’s designs celebrates one of the most iconic buttons ever created: the smiley! The smiley button has existed for over 50 years and been used to convey feel-good messages like “Have a nice day,” hippie psychedelia, all...
The Roosevelts, in Buttons

The Roosevelts, in Buttons

Ken Burns new documentary, “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” debuted on PBS this week. Along with all the elephant hunting, bootstraps pulling, political ambitions and gender politics, watching the lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor unfold on screen got us thinking about the Roosevelt buttons we’ve got here in the Button Museum. While a famed...
Say Teese! Chicago Vegan Foods Buttons Up

Say Teese! Chicago Vegan Foods Buttons Up

If you’ve ever shopped at Whole Foods you’ve probably noticed all the buttons the staff wears. And if you look closely, next to the “I ♥ Kale” and band buttons there is probably a button from Chicago Vegan Foods, Chicago’s oldest 100% vegan company and makers of vegan cheese, marshmallows and ice cream. The company loves...
Newberry Library Embraces Button-O-Matic and "Playful Intellectualism"

Newberry Library Embraces Button-O-Matic and “Playful Intellectualism”

As button fans and collectors, it’s inevitable that we’re also students of history at Busy Beaver. Whether it’s celebrating 19th century pin-on political memorabilia, midcentury illustration or a zine celebrating 100 years of button history, we love uncovering the stories behind the objects. When we found out that Chicago’s Newberry Library was interested in a Button-O-Matic...
Mystery Buttons: Uncovering the Meaning Behind the Button Museum's Most Enigmatic Designs

Mystery Buttons: Uncovering the Meaning Behind the Button Museum’s Most Enigmatic Designs

In collecting buttons, it’s not uncommon to come across a pinback that’s a total mystery. To the right audience in the right era a simple idea can convey the idea perfectly, but out of context the design may be just weird text and ambiguous graphics with a meaning that’s totally lost. Even with the ambiguity...
Buttons for Freshman Orientation

Buttons for Freshman Orientation

It’s back to school time! And for a lot of the high school students who graduated this past spring that means heading off to college. While embarking on an adventure at a new school in possibly a new city can be exciting, it can also be nerve wracking, both for the students and the parents....
How to Give Buttons Away

How to Give Buttons Away

Giving stuff away isn’t difficult. Who doesn’t like something for free, right? Buttons make great freebies to give away, but handing out swag can be a strategic move when you’re promoting yourself or a project. And getting the free stuff into the hands of the right people takes a bit of planning. But don’t worry,...
Lil Buttons of Lil Bub: Busy Beaver Sponsors the Internet Cat Video Festival

Lil Buttons of Lil Bub: Busy Beaver Sponsors the Internet Cat Video Festival

The Walker Art Center’s Internet Cat Video Festival makes its Chicago stop tomorrow at The Metro. The traveling festival will feature a selection of cat videos curated by Will Braden, creator of “Henri, Le Chat Noir”. From the first ever cat “video” filmed by Thomas Edison in 1894 to clips of modern day celebrity cats, attendees...
I Dig Folkestone Beach: Gold Bullion Meets Gold Buttons

I Dig Folkestone Beach: Gold Bullion Meets Gold Buttons

Gold buttons are great for promoting all sorts of things– limited edition runs, rewards, even a cheeky statement about wealth distribution– but it’s not everyday that we get to make a gold button order to be used in promoting actual gold. Then again, it’s also not everyday that residents of a seaside town get to...
Admit One: Fangamer & Attract Mode Button Up Party Attendees

Admit One: Fangamer & Attract Mode Button Up Party Attendees

At PAX Prime over the weekend, our pals at Fangamer teamed up with Attract Mode to present Fangamer ♥ Attract Mode, an art show celebrating all things gaming. Featuring a whole line up of super talented artists (not to mention music, booze and, yes, games), we hear the line up was quite a hit. For this...
You Can Do It!: Finals Week Buttons Offer Motivation to College Students

You Can Do It!: Finals Week Buttons Offer Motivation to College Students

Trying to motivate a group of people? Sure, you could take the “Hang in there” Kitty approach, but why not think outside the box with something a bit more creative? That’s the approach that Brandy Agerbeck took when creating a set of motivational buttons for students at her alma mater, Grinnell College. Brandy explained, “Grinnell...
Cool Story, Bromine: Chemistry Pun Buttons as Incentives

Cool Story, Bromine: Chemistry Pun Buttons as Incentives

We love a good pun here at Busy Beaver— we refer to pizza as Za Za Gabor and our camera is called Camera Diaz, after all— so when this order of chemistry pun buttons came through recently, they definitely made us laugh. Designed by members of the Younger Chemistry Education Scholars Committee (YCES), these buttons...