How to Make DIY Memorial Buttons: 7+ Ideas


If you recently lost a loved one, there are perhaps only a few things that may give you solace from your grief. 

You might find yourself smiling when other mourners tell you stories and share memories of your loved one. It may comfort you to know that your loved one’s memory doesn’t just live on inside of you, but also in the memories of others. 

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To help keep your family member’s memory alive, consider passing out a memorial item at your loved one’s funeral. We know there are a lot of steps to plan a memorial service, but if you have a large crew of helpers, you might be able to make commemorative buttons for those in attendance.

Let us help you with this project by giving you the steps for making memorial buttons or pins.

» MORE: Your family has 500 hours of work to do after you die. Learn how to make it easier.

Steps for Making a DIY Memorial Button or Pin

Several online companies make memorial buttons or pins, but you might need to pay for rush delivery to get the buttons in time for the services. You’ll be happy to know that it’s possible to complete this project yourself without having access to specialized equipment. 

Here are the steps you need to take as soon as you decide to pass out buttons or pins at your loved one’s funeral. 

Step 1: Gather supplies

Most people probably don’t have access to a button maker or button press. This piece of equipment requires specialized materials to create a button. 

If you don’t have a button press, you can still make your own buttons with supplies you can find at local craft stores or chain stores like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or JoAnn Fabrics. These retailers sell acrylic buttons that can be snapped together by hand after placing a cut-out image in between the two pieces. 

If time is on your side, you might find that purchasing the supplies to make the button is not as cost-effective as paying for a rush job on a button-making website. However, some people find crafting therapeutic and may enjoy the opportunity to see the face of their loved one as each button is made. 

Here are the other supplies you may need:

  • Snap-together buttons
  • Scissors
  • Computer
  • Printer and printer ink

Step 2: Design your button

Some of the acrylic snap-together button companies offer free templates on their websites to assist you in designing your button. Using these templates would undoubtedly make the project easier for you than creating one yourself.

Most memorial buttons include a photograph of the deceased. They may also have the deceased’s name, birth and death dates, and a phrase such as “always in our hearts” or “in loving memory.”

Before you settle on a design, print out several options. Make sure the text color isn’t competing with the background of your photo. Of course, check for spelling errors, as well.

Step 3: Print out the image

Figure out how many images you can fit on a single sheet of paper, and print out the images for your buttons. You might find it more cost-effective to have this process completed at your local copy store since printer ink (especially color) can be pricey.

If you are printing the image yourself, you might want to have an extra supply of ink on hand.

Step 4: Cut out the circles

Carefully trim the circles from the paper with a sharp pair of scissors. You might be able to find a circle paper cutter that will speed up the process. 

Step 5: Snap the halves of the button together with the image in between 

Make sure the safety pin lies perpendicular to the image on the front.

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Step 6: Place the buttons in a basket at the entrance to the funeral

Share the buttons with those attending the funeral. Be happy knowing that your loved one’s memory will live on in the hearts and minds of others. 

If you’re active on social media, you might gently ask your followers to wear the button on select dates throughout the year, such as the deceased’s birthday or their death anniversary. Encourage them to share memories and stories of the deceased on those special days, too. 

Memorial Button Saying or Message Ideas

Do you have a specific reason for making buttons for your loved one’s funeral? Are you doing it to encourage others to keep their memory alive? Perhaps you’re making buttons to draw attention to a particular disease or situation. 

The purpose of your button will help you determine its message.

Here are some ideas to consider. 

Tip: You can also use these memorial sayings as part of an online memorial page or any other tribute to your loved one. Cake's online memorial pages are a great place to start if you'd like a simple, streamlined memorial with guest book and fundraising features.

1. Always on our minds; forever in our hearts

This popular phrase can be found on a lot of memorial items. Some people use only the last part of the phrase: “Forever in our hearts” if the message’s full length doesn’t fit.

2. Never forget

This phrase could remind others to “never forget” your loved one. At the same time, it could also refer to unique circumstances that may have caused your loved one’s tragic end. Perhaps they were an accident victim or died as the result of violence. Maybe they died in the line of duty. 

You might want other mourners to remember both your family member and the circumstance that caused them to die. 

3. Rest in peace (or R.I.P.)

If you include the name, birth date, and death date of the deceased, you might not have much room for additional text. If that’s the case, consider a simple “R.I.P.”

4. We wear pink for (name).

Did someone you love die of breast cancer? Some families use their loved one’s funeral to draw attention to a cause. If you’d like to raise awareness of a particular type of cancer, you might ask funeral attendees to wear a specific color to the funeral. Pass out buttons that read, “We wear pink for Marcia” or “We wear gray for Bethany.”

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5. Stop domestic violence

Was your loved one a victim of domestic violence? You may consider using their funeral as a platform to raise awareness of this often unreported behavior.

6. Support your loved one’s cause

Maybe your loved one was passionate about a cause. Spread awareness to an issue that was close to the heart of your loved one by making a button with an appropriate phrase.

7. A phrase associated with your loved one

Was your loved one known for often repeating a particular phrase? Were they a superfan of a specific team? The button design may remind the funeral attendees about your loved one without ever mentioning their name.

Memorial Button Design Ideas

Are you struggling with the design of your loved one’s memorial button? Turn to Pinterest and other idea sites to find examples that other people have made. Also, peruse the websites of companies that will create buttons for you. 

Here are some other memorial button design ideas that are different from the basic 3 ½-inch button.

Awareness ribbons

Awareness ribbons may be easier to make than memorial buttons. These ribbons are typically used to bring awareness to a particular disease or condition. There is an awareness ribbon color assigned to each type of cancer. 

Memorial ribbons

Search online for companies that make memorial ribbons. These ribbons are used to memorialize a loved one. They’re usually customized with the deceased’s name, birth date, and death date.

Other pins that may remind others of your loved one

Your loved one’s memorial button doesn’t have to feature your loved one’s photo or name. You may simply purchase buttons in bulk that will remind others of your loved one. 

It could be something simple: a butterfly, a hammer, a pair of ice skates, or a book. What image would remind others of your loved one? 

Buttons with a frame stand

Some button companies also allow their customers to purchase a cardboard accessory that turns a button into a tiny frame. This would enable the button to sit like a frame on the table instead of lying flat. 

Consider These Other Memorial Items for Your Loved One’s Funeral

Buttons are just one type of memorial item to pass out at a funeral, but there are many other options to consider.

If your loved one was a reader, pass out a bookmark that features a favorite quote or verse. If your loved one loved trains, give everyone a small train charm to keep in their pockets or purse. 

Perhaps your loved one was known for a particular flower. If so, give funeral attendees a seed packet or a tree sapling. 

Pass out your mom’s secret cookie recipe or a keychain that features your dad’s favorite quote. Give attendees a charm that features a heart or butterfly. Give others a personalized poker chip featuring your loved one’s name or photo.

At the same time, find ways that others can share their memories of your loved one with you. Knowing that your loved one lives on in the hearts and minds of others will certainly bring comfort to your heart. 

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