Making your own homemade jewelry with buttons is a great way to do something special with those unique and interesting finds you come across at craft and fabric stores, yard sales, and grandma’s old sewing basket. Because buttons come in such a wide variety of styles they offer a multitude of options for creating fun, imaginative, and distinctive earrings, necklaces, bracelets and pins.
Button jewelry can be of the crafty variety, such as the simple multicolored stretchy bracelets made and worn by kids and teens, or it can be of a more fancy, one-of-a-kind variety, such as creations made from carved ivory, shell, metal or wood buttons. Buttons can be strung together, wired, glued, used as accents, stacked in graduated sizes to create dimensional shapes, or used at the end of a strand with a clasp.
The first step to making button jewelry is gathering buttons. Organize buttons by color and or type in a divided container such as the ones made for storing embroidery floss rather than storing them in jars or tins. This will save you the time of having to sort through them later.
In addition to buttons, you will need a few other supplies to make your own original jewelry such as stringing material, wire, pin backs, earring bases (for clip earrings) and an assortment of jewelry findings. Stretch cord, fishing line, beading thread, and tigertail wire are some of the choices available for stinging buttons to make necklaces and bracelets. Craft wire, head or eye pins and earring hooks (also called earwires).
Making button jewelry does not require any special skill or tools, but in the case of projects made with wire, you will also need a wire cutter and jewelry pliers. The easiest button jewelry project to make is a stretch cord bracelet. You will need two strands of stretch cord and several buttons, preferably the same size and style. Use round buttons with either two or four holes otherwise you may run into problems while stringing the buttons and wind up with an irregularly formed bracelet.
Determine the size for your button bracelet by measuring around your wrist. If the bracelet is a gift for someone with a larger wrist, measure slightly higher up your arm; if it is intended for someone with a smaller wrist you will be able to make the adjustment later before finishing off. Add two inches to the measurement taken and cut two strands of the stretch cord in the required length for your bracelet. It is always better to cut a little extra length than not enough.
Tie a button or bead onto the end of each strand of stretch cord to prevent buttons from slipping off and string the buttons on to the cording in the desired order. If you are using buttons in multiple colors you may want to arrange the colors in a particular order to create a pattern. Keep in mind that only the edge of the button will show so save your fancy patterned buttons for making earrings and pins.
If using buttons with four holes be sure that you string through the same hole position with each one so that your bracelet doesn’t come out crooked. It may also be useful to use a beading or tapestry needle to help guide the buttons onto the stretch cord.
Once you have enough buttons to complete the bracelet, lay the beaded strands onto a clean, flat work surface and carefully remove the beads at the starting ends. Tie off the ends with a square knot, but don’t trim the excess cording. Instead, work the ends back through the holes into the bracelet. You may also want to apply a dab of glue to the knot to prevent it from working itself loose.
Making your own button jewelry is simple, quick and easy, and there are as many possibilities for creating unique items as there are types of buttons.