Up until about a year ago I hardly ever wore shirts with buttons. Now, I have a collection of dress shirts that I am fairly proud of. One shirt in particular though was lacking a bit of character. What it needed was some wooden buttons.
I used a laser cutter for these buttons but they could be made with hole saw and a drill (and a little more time investment).
Step 1: Laminate the Stock Material
My first step was to make custom plywood. This is an optional step as you could use 1/8 inch instead. I decided to make custom ply because I could use more exotic hardwood.
First, cut 4 small sheets of veneer about 4 by 4 inches.
Next, spread glue on three of the four pieces and stack them up.
Finally, clamp the stack really tightly between two pieces of wood and wait a few hours.
Step 2: Cut Them Out
Once you have a small piece of plywood lay out an array of buttons on Illustrator matches the dimensions of your stock. My buttons have a 1/2 inch diameter with 1/16 inch holes. The laser cutter gives you the power to get really creative here. You could put as many holes as you want in the buttons. You could even etch a design into the top. If you do anything particularly awesome with your buttons please don't hesitate to post a photo below.
Set the laser cutter to the appropriate settings for 1/8 inch plywood and cut out your buttons.
Step 3: Sew Them On
The final step is to simply sew them onto your shirt. Use a seam ripper or sharp blade to remove the old buttons and replace them with your fancy new wooden ones.