If you’re a reader of my blog, you probably already know that I’m kind of obsessed with badges (pins, brooches, and the like). Along with being my all-time favorite accessory, badges are also one of my favorite things to craft! I made a David Bowie badge in honor of Rookie’s Up All Night theme and featured it in a post on our Tumblr. Since then, I’ve gotten quite a few emails from readers wanting to know exactly how I made it, so I went ahead and put together this tutorial for y’all explaining the whole process. I used a technique called decoupage, where you glue paper and/or cloth cutouts onto an object, then cover it all with some kind of lacquer (I use Mod Podge and resin). You can also add paint, glitter, stickers, sequins, tiny baby dolls—whatever you want! It’s super easy, I promise!
- Small wooden shapes. These can be found at most craft stores in the section with woodworking tools and related stuff. They come in all different sizes. (Heart-shaped ones are my favorite.)
- Small image-clippings, stickers, fabric scraps, or whatever you want to stick on your badge.
- Sparkly stuff (glitter/confetti/sequins)
- Mod Podge or some other type of water-based sealant
- A small paintbrush
- Acrylic paints
- Resin or resin glaze
- Bar pins
- Super Glue or a similar product
Making the base:
1. First, paint your wooden shape a solid color. Tip: if you’re gonna do a solid-glitter background, first paint wooden shape with a matte base the same color as the glitter to create a more cohesive look.
2. Get out all the stuff that you want to decorate your badges with. Now would be a great time to practice those collaging skills!
3. You can use the badge base as a background, or you can use it as a foundation and create a background from cut-out images, fabric scraps, etc.
4. Start the decoupaging process by applying a thin layer of Mod Podge to the back of all the papery things you want to include on your badge.
5. Place the image(s) on the badge, and smooth out any air bubbles with your fingers.
6. Add glitter and confetti—lots of glitter and confetti!
7. Seal the whole badge with multiple layers of Mod Podge—three or four should do the trick. Be sure to let each layer dry before adding the next.
8. After you apply a final coat of Mod Podge, set your badge somewhere to dry.
9. When it’s totally dry, you can stick a bar pin to the back, unless you want to include this last, optional step, in which case hold off on the pin:
Adding a resin finish:
This step is optional, because I realize that some people like to keep their DIY projects simple, but when I make these badges, I like to add a layer of resin on the top to make them look extra shiny, and to keep the images from disintegrating over time. To do this you’ll need some resin—I’m using EasyCast because it’s what I had lying around.
EasyCast is a two-part resin that you mix together to make what is basically liquid plastic. It can be a bit pricey, so if you want a cheaper and quicker alternative, I suggest going with a resin glaze (like this one) which requires NO mixing. All you’ll need to do is squeeze it onto the badge and wait for it to set.
1. If you opt for the EasyCast, you’ll need to mix up a small amount of it according to the instructions. Please remember to do this on a covered surface and wear gloves! This stuff is pretty nasty (as in TOXIC) and can ruin just about anything it comes in contact with.
2. Pour a teensy bit of the resin mix onto your badge. Spread it out in an even layer over the entire surface of the badge with a plastic spoon or knife. At this point, you’ll probably notice there’s a bunch of air bubbles—these will disappear as the resin sets and dries, so don’t worry! The resin will take up to a day to set, but ideally you should leave the badge alone for a few days just to prevent the risk of fingerprints or scratches.
3. Glue a bar pin (or whatever type of fastener you want) to the back.
4. And finally, attach your shiny new badges to your vest or jacket or bag or dress or beehive, and share your glittery, awesome craftiness with the world! ♦