Friday, June 06, 2008

buttons and more buttons


I am a horder, I am the granddaughter of a horder.
I've posted glimpses of her chenille, but my Nanna also had buttons, lots of buttons and I have some of them. I also have some of mine, which means a healthy load of buttons.

But the other day after playing with them I headed off to do a google to see what I could do with them.

There were lots of necklaces but nothing exactly like I wanted, so I've mixed up those tutorials to get what I wanted. Try it, it is easy.

You need:
Buttons - vintage, those with holes and those that are shanked.
24 gauge jewelry wire
Clasps and those squishy jewelry making thingos.
Pliers and wire cutters

Cut about 60cm of wire.

Arrange a row of buttons on the table in front of you, starting with the middle button and working one each side outwards.
You can pick a huge button for this middle button (the pale blue button with the red and yellow little buttons on top in the photo above) or do a beautiful layer, with smaller buttons on top of larger ones. Build out the necklace in front of you, playing with sizes and colours. It works well to make the end buttons, those that will be around the back of your neck smaller than those at the front which are placed in the middle of your design.

Take the wire and thread through the middle button from the back to the front, pulling the button down to the middle of the wire. Holding the wire tight against the back of the button, grab the threaded wire and bend it so that it is at a 90 degree angle to the wire. If you are going to have a layered button, slip on the other buttons.

Then take the wire back into the button, threading it through the other hole to the back of the button. Using pliers, pull the wire as tightly as possible so that the wire sits flush on the front of the button. (see the botton photograph to see what it should look like at the back of the button)

Now repeat this until all the buttons are placed. I usually do one from one side of the middle button, then do the button for the other side, working back and forth until all are strung.

You don't have to have buttons all the way around, you can stop when you like.

Finish off with a loop and clasp at the back.

If you are using shanked buttons thread the wire through, then bend back and go through again, pulling the wire tight. Then bend back again, pulling the wire tight but made sure it lays on the other side of the shank. It's like a wire figure of eight and it holds the button firmly in place, it won't swing around on the wire and will also sit properly on the necklace.

Bracelets are the same, but I don't bother with working from the middle, I just pop the first button on, leaving a 5cm tail for the clasp.

You will always want to add quite a few extra centimetres to the wire compared to the finished necklace or bracelet length as all that going up through buttons and around and around shanks uses up wire.

Now enjoy. If you click here you will find another Nanna inspired tutorial.



AND OPPS: As we lost internets for a while here at home, Zgal has decided to stretch out the bangle competition (work out a great selling name for her knitting needle bangles and you could win one of three bangles, posted anywhere). So leave a comment or send me an email with some funky names for the bangles. So far there have been some rippers but it is my duty as a mother to present her with an eye popping list that will keep her quiet for a few hours while she works through it.

8 comments:

Emerald Arts said...

They look fantastic :) Might get the older kids in my class to have a go at making something like these with the massif bag of buttons I have collected over the years. I found a couple of interesting button jewellery designs in one of my art mags, will bring for you next markets.

G Leigh said...

Very sweet and fun! I will have to dig out my buttons (The jar has disapeared behind my beads lately!) and have a go at this. I will share pics when I finish.

As for a name for the beaded danglies - how about "knitting niceties?" (Sp? I want it to sound like "nice - set - tees")
hugs - ginger leigh

G Leigh said...

Very sweet and fun! I will have to dig out my buttons (The jar has disapeared behind my beads lately!) and have a go at this. I will share pics when I finish.

As for a name for the beaded danglies - how about "knitting niceties?" (Sp? I want it to sound like "nice - set - tees")
hugs - ginger leigh

Kim said...

ANother way to use buttons!!
Love this..I hope to try it soon.
Thanks for the idea nd wonderful instructions!

zephyrama said...

Thanks everyone. I've a few more button tutorials to come. I really do have to do something about all the buttons.

Tari of claybuttons said...

Very Cute!

Shirley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Chrissy said...

Hi Do you find that the 24 gauge wire will not break. My daughter has used what I have on hand and they have broken right in the middle of the project.

Thanks