The problem with "air space at the edge"

Do you know this problem? You have been making perfect buttons - thousands of buttons which have all been looking amazing. It was easy and every button looked alright. And now it is there: Instead of being put around the edge of the button the foils seems as if there is air space between it and the paper inlay. In the worst case this phenomenon is all around the button, sometimes only at certain points. Anyway  - this phenomenon is not good-looking and there is need to to something about it.   


Here you see in direct comparison: On the left the air-at-the-edge-problem <-> on the right a perfect button border


There is help.

This is the good news. But the less good news is: We can minimize the symptoms but we are not able to solve the problem at the root. The background concerning this problem/phenomenon with the air space at the edge is so complex and you are not the first button-maker who is really surprised that button making can be so complicated or let`s say that button making is so much determined by physical circumstances.  

It is just a button, isn`t it? Well, believe us - it is that complicated - unfortunately. We had to invest a lot of time and nerves to figure out which factors play a role in this case and how one can manage that best. And we do not promise that there are not further factors playing a role which we have not been able yet to identify. 

But it is for sure that the following factors play an important role: humidity / air moisture, electrostatic charging, printing colour / colour application  

Step 1: Make sure you are really affected by the "air space" problem

This leads us to step 1 - making sure that you really have the problem we are talking about here. This is most important before doing anything else. Why? The air space problem is often mixed-up with other problems. The reason is easy to explain. Nearly 80% of all problems which can occur during button making end up in the state the the foils is not put correctly around the edge of the button. So defective buttons often look the same which would lead us to the assumption that we are faced with the same problem.  


But this is not always right. The damaged buttons can look the same but the reason for the problem is completey differing. So let`s make this sure first.

Therfor you make the following now:

Cut your paper inlay using a completely empty, white paper inlay instead of your design. The paper inlay has to be white, not printed. Now you make a button as usual. See picture on the left.

Is the problem still there?

Then you probably have another problem but not the air space problem. This is neither good nor bad. In this case you contact our customer`s support by email ( or by phone +49-234-9629060. If you contact by email it makes sense to send some photos of the defective buttons and the machine so that it will be easier for our technicans to see where the problem might be. If it is not possible to find out by distance you just send us the machine for repair. For cases like this you have 10 years of warranty and a life-long repair service for free. 

Is the problem gone?

If the button looks good now you can be pretty sure that you have to deal with the air space problem. Then you are one out of many people having this problem. What might be relaxing is that this problem only occures in limited time periods. So it will happen that the problem is gone just like "magic". But you do never know when it will disappear. The following recommendations only have to be carried out as long as the problem is occurring. 

Step 2: Take according action 

Now you have different possibilities to minimze the phenomenon of air space at the edges:

No.1: Use a silicone stick 

Making use of a silicone stick is the most comfortable and most effective solution. You can buy it at us here or surely also in specialist shops. With this stick you simply grease the edges of the lower stamp no. 2 (see picture). This is the lower stamp marked with a "2" where you put the backside of the button into. You can leave out the upper stamp and also lower stamp no. 1. It would not do any harm but it just does not make any sense. 

By the way there are also some kind of homespun memories which can have a similar effect. The effect will not be as strong as with the silicon stick but it will be better than nothing: For example nail polish remover, brake cleaner (no joke!), anti static spray or silicone spray. We have also heard of customers who used simple oil and were happy with the result. So if you have one of this articles at hand right now you can use this to help you in the short run. But in the long run we only really recommend the silicone stick because of the strong effect and the comfortable use. 

Click for more pictures

No. 2: Make a white circle at the edge

Sometimes it can also help (depending on the intensity of the occurring problem) to print the paper inlay with a white border. You can make this white border so that it will be visible on the button after it is finished or you can make it so that it will not be visible on the button but will disappear in the back of the button. When we produce buttons with paper inlays printed in digital printing, we always print the designs with this kind of white border which will not be visible on the button after producing it with the goal of minimizing the air space problem. The problem will completely disappear if you use a white background instead of a coloured background. But you will be very limited in your creativity of making button designs then, so this can only be the last option.

No. 3: Moisturize your paper inlays

It also helps if you spread your paper inlays on your table or whereever you are working on. Then you put a light spray of water onto your paper inlays. This might be easiest possible with a spray bottle for flowers for example. Only do this very lightly because otherwise (if your paper inlays get too wet) they will be crimped. This won`t help you anyway. So be careful. This may be the quickest, cheapest and easiest possibility to help yourself. But in the end it will not be a long-time-solution becaue it is not very comfortable and it might get pretty wet.... The fact that this shows effect underlines our assumption that the problem is connected to humidity.

As you can see there are more than one possibility to get hold of the problem. But the silicone stick will surely stay the easiest and most comfortable option. Which option seems to be the right one for you in the long run should be your choice.

Yes, the problem is annoying. And yes, we can very well understand that you do not have a lot of understanding that there is no better or let`s say "final" solution for it. Sometimes customers call us very angrily and complain about their badge maker because they think there is somtehing wrong with the badge making machine itself. Some customers send us the machine for repair without comment before contacting us on that problem. Unfortunately we can`t do anything else in these cases except of explaining what you have just read and giving advices. Please regard: Any manufacturer of badge making machines worldwide and anyone making buttons has to deal with this problem and there is no final solution until now, only ideas how to help youself. We as the manufacturer of your badge making machine are not responsible for it and if we were able to find a good solution which solves the problem finally we would do so. You can believe us that. 

If you are interested in further backgrounds on the problem you should go on reading.

For those who want to know more: The background

The "air-at-the-edges"-problem is a problem which does only occurr temporarily. This is because it is determined by the factor humidity/ moisture and so the weather and seasons also play a role. If there is a certain constellation of humidity/ moisture and electrostatic charging in combination with the background colour of your design, the problem occurs. But it does only come up if you use digital printing / laser printing. Offset printing for example is free of this problem because the colour is not provided by using heat (like in digital or laser printing). 

Especially background with strong colours like red or black are affected. If you print a design with a completely deep red background and additionally there is a low humidity/moisture and a bad affection of electrostatic charging of the foil, then the connection between foil and paper inlays is "disturbed". The result is air at the edges. The edge of the buton is just not as nice as it is normally. Foil and paper just do not really want to fit with the metal back somehow. 

If you need help or assistance or simply want more information please contact us. We will give our best and help you getting rid of the problem. Simply call us at 


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