Friday, June 19, 2015

Fabulous Buttons

by Sherri Stokey

Micro macrame necklace with polymer clay button.

 I often use buttons in my jewelry.  In pieces like this multiple strand macrame necklace, the button (by Shelley Graham Turner) functions as both a closure and focal piece.  If you're putting this much emphasis on a button, you want it to be fabulous!  Handmade buttons like the ones below can add that special touch.

Assorted art buttons.
Porcelain sun button: Joan Miller, Two hole ceramic flower and owl buttons: Beadfreaky
Single hole ceramics: Marsha Neal, Metal clay butterfly button: Lesley Watt
Glass flowers: Jodie Marshall, Two hole glass buttons: Chris Haussler

If you don't happen to have a stash of art buttons on hand, don't despair!  You can do some enhancement and you don't have to be crazy talented.  Really!  Break out your paints or patinas or gilders paste - whatever you have on hand - and get busy.  

Stamps, Vintaj patinas and a plain button.

See that plain button in my hand?  It's covered in a very bland fabric.  I found a couple of them.  Very ho-hum.  I took some stamps and paint and added color and design in just a couple of minutes.

Altered buttons.

The fabric buttons are the two larger ones in the back  The others are some metal buttons I found that had great shapes and textures but no color.  A little Vintaj patina took care of that.  It actually took me longer to find my patinas than it did to do either of these little projects.  

If you're a little more adventurous, you might try some of the different paint products out there.  I had a ball playing with iron paint and rust activator.  Just look how this plain plastic button is transformed:

Rusted button.

 Yes, I rusted the die, too.  I actually rusted a Barrel O' Monkeys monkey and all sorts of other stuff because it was just so darned much fun to play with, but I digress.  

I have one more super easy trick for you, if you want to make your own buttons:  glue on shanks.

Glue on button shanks.

These super handy little guys are just the ticket for turning almost any small item with a flat back into a button.  Wouldn't a sea glass button be nice?  Or one of the cabochons you have laying around?  Use a good adhesive like E6000 and go crazy!

My point in all of this is that you don't have to settle for boring run-of-the-mill buttons; in fact, you shouldn't settle.

In jewelry design, the difference between a so-so piece and a spectacular piece can be just one or two little details.  Details like that special button, whether you get it from an artist or make your own.


mairedodd said...

what a great post! i would love to do river rock buttons - now i can. i hadn't thought about gluing on shanks, you brilliant woman! and i love what you did with the metal paint. fantastic.

Linda Younkman said...

Great blog post. I love buttons and often use them as my clasp. The techniques that you used here to transform these buttons is just awesome. I love, love, love that die that you rusted and stenciling on ink to fabric buttons isn't something that I would have even thought to do. Great ideas Sherri.

stacilouise said...

Excellent ideas! That metal paint completely changed the buttons! love all the tips. and no kidding, I was thinking of a multi-strand piece that involved a button before bed last night-very similar to the one you did (first picture) but it involved braids of seed beads. now I am even more excited to make some polymer buttons and play!

Anonymous said...

I agree! These are some fantastic ideas for taking ho-hum to fabulous buttons. Thanks so much!

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

Wonderful ideas abound in this post! Love the fabric button transformations! And, that multi strand necklace is just gorgeous!

Donna Geurin said...

Great post and really fun easy ideas to give new life to buttons. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

this is a fabulous post! I love buttons! They are quite pricey for the really cool ones but you have given me inspiration to transform! I have never heard of iron paint and rust activator. Where do I find it? And I have a little box of sea glass ahards that my grandson gave me. Never thought about gluing on shanks. Woot woot! I may be busy this afternoon. Thanks!

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