Team Pinback Buttons - how many to order?

We are a 2nd year rookie team in Michigan State and we plan to bring the standard pinback style buttons to pass out from our pit at competitions. How many do you suggest that we bring to regional competitions? I was thinking of Qty 1,500 to cover both regional events, with extras for State if we qualify. Someone on our team with experience said that 500-600 total should be plenty… my estimates were so far off that I wanted to check with other teams before we finalize our order.

Also, where do you buy your buttons?
We are looking at

If you make them yourselves what button maker do you like best.
(This year we are ordering completed buttons online but next year we might start making them ourselves)

Our new button design is attached.

We usually buy 1000 at a time (and share between FTC and FRC for overflow). We have sometimes run out, but I can’t remember if we are under 1000 for a season when that happens, but it also has included trips to States and Worlds.

If you’re happy to use the same art design next year, making too many is less troublesome.


Very strong Purdue Pete vibes going on here.


If we put the pins out in a basket for people to just grab, we’ll often go through 250 at a qualifier, 400 at District Champs, and 700 at worlds. Most of those go into the trash within a month. If we have people ask for them, we go through a quarter that many.

This pin tradition has been around a long time but it’s not the most environmentally friendly of ideas!

In many ways the pins have a better life at outreach events given to little kids.

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However many you bring to a competition, it will never be enough. We’ve fought hundreds before and if I put them out in a big basket or where they’re easily visible, they’re gone instantly. I’ve seen people grab whole handfuls at once or come by multiple times to grab one pin after another (not cool, IMO).

I would just ration how many are out for the taking so they’re not gone instantly. If someone comes up and asks for one because we don’t have any out, of course I’d get them one. But if the pile where we put them out is empty and I just put some out 10 minutes ago, I’m not super stressed about refilling immediately.


Great perspective. I like the idea of saving buttons for our local outreach/open house.

Thank you. Good advice.

Thank you. This advice helps!!

We make our own. We have Badge-a-mint.
We like to put a basket out because often young kids are too shy to ask or we are really busy, (Not that we mind getting them even if we’re busy) and often people who might want one won’t ask. We do, however, just put a few in a basket. Make it look almost empty and that usually prevents kids from grabbing handfuls. We also almost always have a variety of styles as well.

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Thank you. More good advice. Really appreciate it.