Some people are consumed with maintaining beauty, discovering the fountain of youth, or finding eternal inner peace.
Me? I’m obsessed with buttons.
It seems only fitting and proper that my first project posting on this blog is about buttons. Ever since I started sewing (age 6!), I have been obsessed with buttons of all sizes, shapes, and materials. Needless to say, this obsession has lead to QUITE the collection, which could never be exhausted in this lifetime or TEN more! So, I’ve started parting with my prized buttons, turning them into rings, bracelets, pins, and various fashion accessories. It’s been liberating to finally USE them in fashion, even if it’s not as the intended closure on a jacket.
If you are lucky enough to have a stash of buttons, either through hoarding or inheritance, here are a few ideas to keep them in their original state (I BEG you not to hot-glue them onto canvas in the shape of a tree or bird) and show off their beauty. They are SO simple to create, and they add a one-of-a-kind statement to a simple outfit. These unique accessories are also a special gift for someone who appreciates the BEAUTY in upcycling a piece of history.
Here are some How-To Tips for creating your button projects:
- Measure wrist for elastic, then add length for overlap (about 1″). Keep in mind that sewing the buttons on will reduce the “stretchiness” of the elastic, so don’t cut the elastic too short. Remember – you can always make the elastic shorter, but adding to it can be a pain. I use 1″ black elastic for most of my bracelets, but the width and color totally depends on what kind of buttons you are using.
- I like to sew most of the buttons on FLAT elastic, then join the ends and sew on the last few buttons over the closure seam. Do whatever works for you. Sewing them on flat allows you to adjust the elastic length if necessary.
- LAYER the buttons that might not be too exciting on their own. Big flat buttons with holes look AMAZING when you add layers of smaller buttons. Many flat buttons have a depression in the center, so adding a shank button on top doesn’t mean it will FLOP over. A little movement in the buttons adds personality, almost like a charm bracelet. The noise of the buttons moving on your arm is memorable (ask my kids…..they can hear me coming up the stairs!).
Okay, so I take back what I said about glue guns. They DO come in handy in this project. I suppose you could sew the buttons together and THEN glue them on a ring back, but that seems a little cra-cra obsessive.
- For rings, I find buttons of various shapes, sizes, colors, and materials, then stack them in a way that still shows their beautiful edges and interesting textures. The bottom button is usually large and flat, then I place the “feature” button on top of that one.
- For the center (top), I usually use a small shirt button with a Swarovski crystal on top, but occasionally a small shank button with a unique design works too. All of these layers are held together with glue – either hot glue or epoxy. The top crystal should definitely be adhered with epoxy because you only need a drop for it to stick, and a glue gun gets too messy. I use a toothpick and E-6000 for applying the crystal and ring blank back.
- After the button combination for a ring is assembled, glue to ring blank to the back, again, with epoxy. E-6000 works the best because it dries relatively fast and REALLY holds it together. Since the epoxy doesn’t dry immediately, the rings have to remain still while the ring blanks dry to the stack of buttons (otherwise the blanks will slide off).
So, center the ring blank on the back of the buttons using a significant amount of epoxy (it will squish out of the sides), and place it on a wire baking rack. I usually let them dry for about 8 – 12 hours.