The greatest things are usually created with the most unexpected materials. We love those things that others usually discard such as: broken jewellery, patchwork squares of fabric, odds and ends, spare buttons, unique embellishments and old soft furnishings/clothing that need sprucing up! It’s exciting to think about saving the purpose of something that others may simply chuck in the bin and breathing new life into it! Up-cycling is healthy for the environment and it saves you money/time shopping for new counterparts.
You can pretty much utilise anything that’s lying around your home, but today we are focusing on using up all those old buttons you’ve probably stashed to one side! Whenever I buy a new dress or coat, they tend to come hand-in-hand with spare beads or buttons inside a tiny resealable bag attached to the inside label. I save these in a tin by my sewing machine in the hope I’ll never have to use them on the garments I purchased them with, but on something far more interesting.
My button collection is extensive and forever growing - I now ask members of my family and dear friends to save their unwanted buttons for me to add too. Of course most are happy to help, so with a little bit of kindness I’ve managed to grow my own garden of plain, patterned and unique buttons of all shapes, sizes, depths and colours. I’ve been researching some ideas on how I can now incorporate my collection into my haberdashery projects and here are some of the most inspirational and lovely suggestions I could find…
- Button Shoes
All you need is a selection of your favourite flat buttons and some super glue if you want to simply jazz up your footwear. However, if you’re crafting something serious, you may have to take the longer route of sewing each button very carefully into place, considering all the movement your feet endure.
Take your own flip flops and give them a colourful renovation, or use them to make some statement heels for your fancy dress costume! This can be done tastefully in the name of fashion, or it can be as extravagant as you like for your favourite themed parties!
- Button Art
There are so many ways to incorporate buttons into wall art! Sketch a simple stenciled shape (a letter or a geometric shape etc.) fill it with craft glue, stick on your buttons and BOOM! It’s a Picasso.
If you want to complete something a bit more advanced, mix the media to canvas, paint, fabrics and use your buttons as embellishment. Stitch, cut, draw, splatter, sew and glue until you’re happy with your masterpiece!
- Button Jewellery
This is one of my favourite suggestions - the options are endless and these make wonderful gifts for loved ones and friends! You can produce unique handmade necklaces, rings, bracelets, stud earrings and head pieces all with a bit of fabric and your old buttons!
Make statement rings by purchasing some plain ring backs from a craft store (eBay are great for stuff like this!) and simple solder or glue on your favourite oversized button. String a couple dozen coloured buttons together onto some strong thread and create waterfall necklaces, or stitch them onto wooden bangles entwined in printed fabrics for a knock out boho look.
- Button Magnets and Pins
Want to liven your office space up? Or perhaps you want something useful to help display your children’s beautiful artwork or your extensive shopping lists! Attach your buttons to the back of pins or small magnets to create a playful and creative look on your radiators, fridges and pin boards!
- Button Bag
Stitch your little beauties into either random patches or planned patterns onto handbags, totes, clutches and duffles to liven up their exteriors! This is a great way to revamp old bags you may have thrown away - or head down to a local thrift store or charity shop to see if you can pick up any secondhand bargains that you can play with.
- Button Garments
Sprinkle buttons onto the pockets of your old Levi’s, create adorable garments for your little boy or girl or even just switch the plain buttons on your crisp white shirt for some with a bit more ‘presence’! Whether you prefer high fashion or the quirky look, you can make these items as minimalistic or as flamboyant as your heart desires. You can even get your knit on and create some woolly cardigans that button up the front, or use them practically on shawls and wraps!