Vintage button jewelry is so beautiful and easy to create with just a few simple steps! It’s an easy way to upcycle the boxes of antique buttons and jewelry that you might have stored away in a closet – and let them show off their timeless beauty.
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.
Let’s Do This!
- 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. 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.
- To make the toggle charm bracelet, check out our tutorial for Vintage Button Charm Bracelets.
- 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.
You will need :
blank ring backs – don’t worry about having extras – there are OH so many fabulous objects that you can turn into amazing showpiece rings!
E-6000 – this holds the buttons together and to adhere the stacked buttons to the ring backs
- For rings, I find buttons of various shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. 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. 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). Place it on a wire baking rack. I usually let them dry for about 8 – 12 hours.
And that’s it! You will love making these unique pieces for yourself and for amazing one-of-a-kind gifts. They are so fun to wear – with a t-shirt and jeans or a elegant ball gown (because we go to so many balls, right?!)
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