Most people have got buttons in their homes lying about somewhere. I have always loved them and when I was little liked nothing better than rummaging through my grandmother’s button jar picking out all the unusual ones I could find. Although I have sometimes added buttons to jewellery – for example when I make cuff bracelets out of fabric – I have never tried to make jewellery from buttons alone. So I thought I would have a go with some very pretty little bird buttons I picked up in a shop in Cambridge. Straight away I encountered some problems as buttons have their centre of gravity in the middle – here I’m talking about the buttons with holes in the centre not ‘shank’ buttons (which have a metal loop at the back). This means they tend not to lie flat when you thread them and tip over so all that is visible is the edge and not the flat surface of the button which is not the effect you are trying to create. Drawing inspiration from an article in a beading magazine which used flat shapes to make a bracelet I came up with the following method which is illustrated below.
To make my birdie bracelet you will need the following:
About 4 or 5 birdie buttons (I got these from a website called http://www.buttonmad.com/)
Some strong thread narrow enough to go through the holes (twice) This needs to be long enough to be knotted and will be used double so bear this in mind when you make your choice as to how much you use and the width of the thread
Some matching beads
A clasp and a jump ring
1. Double up your thread and place it through the jump ring. Take the two cut ends and pass them through the loop and pull tight. Some people might call this a ‘clove hitch’ knot – macramé experts will call this a larks head knot.
3. Divide the thread and placing your button flat on the work surface take one thread down through the hole and the second thread up through the same hole. Repeat the procedure with the second hole in the button, i.e. one thread up and one thread down with both threads going through the same hole. Pull tight. Then knot the two threads together with an overhand knot.
4. Add the spacer beads and do another overhand knot. Continue with another button and so on until your bracelet is the desired length.
5. Finish by pulling the double thread through the loop in the clasp and making a clove hitch/larks head knot. A little dab of glue will prevent the knot from unravelling.
Below is the finished necklace. I added a couple of extra buttons on the end as I ran out of the birdie ones!
I hope this post will encourage you have a rummage in your button box and make a necklace or bracelet. If you don’t have many buttons I suggest charity shops as a good source and there are also a number of websites which specialise in buttons… there is a lot of variety out there!
Until next time ….