How To: Scratch Off Buttons

Apr 23rd 2013

How To: Scratch Off Buttons

After coming across this tutorial for making your own scratch-off tickets a while back, we got to thinking about the possibility of making scratch-off buttons. As it turns out, the process of making them is pretty simple and the possibilities for using a scratch-off button or magnet as seemingly endless-- hide special coupon codes, use them for raffles or contest, make interactive Save the Dates. Or, as one Busy Beaver staffer suggested, use a version of our "Feeling Lucky" design to hand out to good looking strangers who can scratch to reveal your phone number. (Not creepy at all, right?)

Ready to make some scratch-off buttons of your own? Here's what you'll need:

- Buttons or magnets (order here or here!)

- Painters tape (optional if you'd like just part of the surface to be scratchable)

- Acrylic craft paint (we used silver for a traditional lotto ticket look)

- Paintbrush

- Liquid dish soap

- Small cup or bowl

Step One: Make Button

For this example, we used Busy Beaver's new 2 x 3" rectangle button, but you could use any size button or magnet you'd like. When designing your artwork, think about whether the whole button will be a scratch-off or just part of it will be covered and what secret message will be hidden under the painted area.

Step Two: Gather Supplies

Once you have your buttons, gather the rest of your supplies. Find a quiet, out of the way place to work since you'll be painting multiple coats, and be sure to cover your work surface.

If only part of your button will be a scratch off, use painters tape to protect the area that won't be painted. Make sure that the tape is pressed down thoroughly (in one of our tests the tape didn't adhere well and some paint bled under.) To make the scratch-off material, combine one part dish soap to two parts craft paint in a small bowl. Mix well but not too vigorously or the soap will start to lather and create bubbles in the finish.

Step Three: Start Painting

Start painting your buttons. The dish soap will thin the paint, so be prepared to do quite a few coats. For our silver example, it took 5 full coats to get good coverage over the entire area of the buttons. Let the button dry completely in between coats for at least an hour.

Step Four: The Big Reveal!

Once you're happy with the paint coverage and the final coat has dried, carefully remove the painter's tape. If the edge of your painted area isn't totally crisp, use the edge of a credit card or ruler to gently scratch off paint that bled.

Voila-- scratchable buttons! Give your creation to someone special and watch them scratch away!

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