I love a good button. I think most bead hoarders have a button tin somewhere as well. The materials used for buttons range from the simple and inexpensive to exotic and pricey. Obviously buttons have a practical use in sewing and clothing design, but they can be great additions to DIY jewelry as well.
Buttons as beads:
By their nature, buttons tend to have either a shank, with an opening for thread, or 2-4 holes for sewing. These holes and openings mean your buttons can substitute for beads and work as connectors in jewelry design. See round TierraCast buttons with a leaf pattern in New Leaf Earrings and bone buttons sewn on the Boston Bracelet.
Buttons as clasps:
Whether for popular wrapped lashed leather bracelets, or for necklace designs, adding a button to one end of your design and creating a simple loop or series of loops at the other end will complete your creation. The Dark and Dangerous Bracelet uses a cast pewter Spiral Button for the closure.
Buttons as Cabochons or Cameos:
Disk & Loop Bracelets make up into quick finished jewelry by gluing buttons to the disks. If the button has a shank, you may need to trim it and file the surface, then add your favorite adhesive, and you have quickly created a new accessory. Cute as a Button Bracelet uses an assortment of plastic “accoutrements” by Tim Holtz for decoration.
Copies of Buttons:
Have a one-of-a-kind or vintage button that you love, but don’t want to part with? 2-part silicone molding material works great to make a mold of your treasure that you can re-create in polymer or resin and use time after time. Silicone molds were quickly made of the buttons in this picture. Reproductions of the buttons (without the pesky shanks) were easily made with Amazing Resin and SuperClear Resin. For more information on making molds, see our previous blog: Making Your Own Molds is a Hoot.
Buttons you can buy from Rings & Things:
Rings & Things carries buttons in materials such as bone,
Making a Button:
Do you have an item without holes that you want to use as a button? Easily glue a plastic button shank to your piece to create a button. These work great for turning resin, polymer clay, hand-made glass, and ceramics into useable buttons. Since these shanks are plastic, they don’t have the sharp edges that you sometimes find on metal shank findings. The set shown above are made from resin flowers, colorized with gilders paste, and attached with E-6000.
With a button cover and some glue, you can create a decorative cover that can be transferred from garment to garment, covering the plain or boring buttons used in manufacturing. This set is made with super clear resin, colored with dye and glitter, and attached with E-6000.
Our pinterest board “Buttons” has further inspirations for using buttons and great handmade buttons.