Cuff links are surprising very easy to make. You just need the right tools and a pair of cuff links can be created in a matter of minutes. Cuff links come in a variety of sizes, shapes and metal colors. For this tutorial I will be illustrating how to make round “button” cuff links.
Cuff links have risen in popularity over the past couple of years. Custom cuff links are also very popular, especially for use at weddings by the groom and groomsmen. I would make and sell custom cuff links, online, through my business. Allowing the customer to choose the color or pattern of their cuff links was highly successful and popular. My cuff links even made it into the pages of Brides Magazine (see photo insert below). Making cuff links at home is an easy DIY craft.
To complete a pair of cuff links you will need a good pair of scissors, round blank cuff links, round button covers with flat backings, fabric and a button cover maker. You can find round blank cuff links on many online websites. Typically they are not sold in stores, though some specialty fabric shops are starting to carry them. You can find blank cuff links on Etsy, Fire Mountain Gems, Amazon, Ebay, Jewelry Supply, and Cuff Crazy.
Round cuff links come in two different types, flat base or recessed (bucket) base. For this tutorial we will be using the recessed round cuff link base. The recessed round cuff link base comes in a variety of sizes. I have found the most popular and best looking size is the 16mm (5/8″) round cuff link size. You can make larger cuff links (22mm), but for this tutorial we will be using the smaller 16mm (5/8″) size.
The metal finish of the blank cuff links comes in a variety of types and quality (thus a large swing in the price points). You can find pure sterling silver, silver plated, pure gold, gold plated, stainless steel, all colors of brass and bronze. The pure metal cuff link bases will be higher in cost than the base metals or the plated base cuff links. The choice will be up to you and how much you are wanting to spend on the cuff link set. I have found the silver plated cuff links hold up pretty well, have a good price point and are easy to find.
Round button covers and flat backs can be found in most craft or fabric stores. Round button covers can also be found online. You can find button covers on Etsy, Ebay, Amazon, Cover Buttons and Create for Less. Round button covers are inexpensive and usually come in a set of 4 or more. Make sure the button covers come with the flat back option. The other option is a button loop backing which would allow the button to be sewn onto a shirt. For cuff links, a flat back is needed so that the button back can adhere flush with the cuff link glue pad.
To adhere the covered button to the blank cuff link glue pad you will need a good glue gun and high temperature glue gun sticks. I have used other glue products to create cuff links and have found that a strong glue stick is the best choice for many reasons. The glue stick has low or no odor, unlike the toxic fumes that many of its adhesive counterparts produce. You don’t have to wear gloves when working with glue gun sticks because it doesn’t have cancer causing ingredients like many other strong glues. Glue sticks are fairly inexpensive, store well (most adhesives dry up in the bottle after the first use) and are easy to use.
To make the button covered in fabric you will need a button cover maker. Round button cover makers can either be found included in the button cover set or sold separately. They are very inexpensive and can be found in most craft or fabric stores (along with the online stores I listed above for button covers). They are generally easy to use and are made out of flexible plastic. The button cover maker comes with a button bottom “molder” and a top press.
Easy Round Cuff Links Tutorial
1 set of 16mm (5/8″, aka size 24) round button covers with flat backs
1 set of 16mm (5/8″) recessed blank round cuff links
High temperature glue gun sticks
2 squares of fabric measuring about 2″ by 2″ (any fabric type will do, just not too thick)
A 16mm (5/8″) round button cover maker
To make a fabric covered button for the cuff links we first need to cut the fabric down to size. On the back of the button covers or button maker there should be a circle template. This template should be used to cut 2 round circles out of your fabric. If a circle template was not provided with your maker or button set than simply measure and draw a 1.5″ inch circle on your fabric. This 1.5″ circle should give you the correct amount of fabric to cover your button nicely.
Place the top of the button (aka the button shell) in the center of the fabric circle. Line up the centered button top and fabric over the button maker bottom. Push the fabric and button cover down into the bottom of the button maker. Fold in the excess fabric and firmly tuck it into the button top.
Place the flat bottom button cover over the tucked fabric. Using the button pusher, push down on the flat bottom button cover to secure it into the button. You should feel a slight click when it snaps into place. Remove the pusher top and bend the mold slightly. Push up from the bottom and the completed button should pop out the top.
Plug in and heat your glue gun to the highest temperature setting. Once the glue is heated, fill the bottom of the button with hot glue. Immediately flip the button over and place inside the recessed cuff link glue base. Press firmly down on the button to ensure a tight glue fit. Allow the completed cuff link to cool. Repeat the same process for the second cuff link.
Your cuff links are now complete! They can be wrapped up and given as a gift or kept for yourself (or significant other). Enjoy!