Thursday, December 3, 2009


I love old buttons. Whenever I see a button-filled jar at the flea markets or yard sales, I make a beeline for it. I finger them and mentally pick out the best ones. I have lots of buttons. Pretty ones, glass ones, metal ones, utilitarian ones. I blame my high school sewing teacher for my love of buttons. Never cared or noticed them before, unless I had to button up a shirt.

I was a star sewer in her class. I would finish our appointed projects ahead of schedule, so she let me have individual projects on my own. I picked out a vest pattern I wanted to make, and she let me pick out these beautiful satin-y fabrics for the back and lining, and a lovely rose pattern in rayon for the outside. I wanted something different for the fasteners on the vest, but scanning the racks at the fabric store yielded nothing. Then my sewing teacher broke out her special buttons. It was a lovely tin full of them. She explained the history of a few and I was surprised to learn that some were from civil war uniforms and some had human hair woven into the centers! I never knew that buttons could tell so much about a time period until she showed me her collection.

After I admired her buttons and picked out the ones I liked, you know, you pull aside the pretty or unusual ones and pass by the ones that you don't really care for, she did the unexpected. She let me have them. I picked out 5 I thought were special and put them on my vest. She also had vintage buckles and she let me have one for the buckle in the back of the vest. It was perfect! Just the look I was going for. Sadly, I no longer have the vest, it disappeared when I was traveling and I've not seen it since. I do, however, still have my love of buttons.

So when I saw this idea a while back on someones' blog, I knew I would try it myself. She used hers as pins and I think she even suggested adding magnets for the fridge, but I thought they'd make lovely ornaments for the tree.

Button Flowers!!
Pick out your buttons, arrange them, then glue with Aleene's Glass and Bead glue (I found mine at the craft store).

Middle made that big one from metal buttons.

The kids did the arrangements, I did the gluing. Crack a window or turn on the ceiling fan when you use the glue, it's pretty smelly.

You could use new buttons, they sell bagged ones at the craft store, or use what you have. I admit, I had a teensy bit of an inner struggle with myself when the girls picked out a particularly nice button for their flowers, but I refrained from saying anything. In the end, it makes a pretty flower, right? We used a mix of old and new buttons. When some of my Mom's clothes got ruined in the fire, I snipped off the buttons! Many of these were from Mom's clothing.
After the glue dried (I let it sit overnight), I strung embroidery thread through the button holes to hang on the tree. Some flowers had no exposed holes, so I glued a fuzzy wire twisted into a circle on the back. You could also use a paperclip twisted into a hook, or use an extra ornament hook. I'd like to make more and use them as fridge magnets. These would make such cute gifts! The girls had fun and I have a little more room in my button jars now!! :o)


~Mama Skates~ said...

awesome idea - i love those!!!

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Awwww those are SO cute! You know, if you had some really SUPER favorites you could totally arange them like that - or another way - and make a broach or pin to wear. Then you could see them all the time and not just when you get out the button tin.

(although for some reason I've got a thing for things like button tins - I've got my own bead tin - and can for some reason never get up the guts to use my super favorites :P

DJ Kirkby said...

Those are totally gorgeous and need to be put up for sale on your Etsy shop! I love them.

Carol said...

They are amazing!! I have a box of buttons too...when I go to craft fairs, car boot sales etc I always end up coming home with a button or two!!

C x