Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Inspired by a button.

In 2006, I was procrastinating my Master's Thesis project by endlessly browsing the internet. One day while on Ebay, and I found a tin of vintage buttons that I ended up winning for just under $5. I didn't know what I wanted to do with these things... but the uniqueness of each button captivated me.

I sifted through my tin for hours...and hours. Thesis-Shmesis...my creative juices were flowing... buttons just seemed much more important.
I started to collage the buttons together... I made pins and hair accessories for my friends... sold each for $10 and gave all the money to an organization that raises money to give scholarships to women.

Soon, my family started to take notice of my new "obsession" and a line of jewelry was formed. My mom found a "recipe" for crocheted button bracelets that my Great Grandmother made during the depression. Meanwhile, my dad started to sculpt bracelets out of jewelry parts and beads that he would purchase at the local bead shows. The tin of buttons I started with turned into over a million buttons, fully organized between shank and non-shank styles...color coordinated, labeled and stacked neatly in a button-jewelers dream workshop.

One tin of buttons... turned into a button-jewelry business!
Just one little spark of creativity...from a basic search on the web to pass the time...lead my family and I down a path where we've raised a lot of money for an organization that we all believe in.

Do you remember when you first had your bright idea? What pushed you to keep the business going and what inspired you to start selling on Etsy?

This is a great project to make for any little ones or to spice up your workout headband.

hot glue
elastic headband
buttons (vintage is better than buying new ones...just any extra buttons you have laying around the house)

Create a color story. This can be the most challenging part...but basically, you want to chose a color story. There is a great site called Color Lovers that you can find some interesting color combinations made by users and inspiration.

Glue your largest buttons first as a base.
I found that two large coat sized buttons work well for a base.
You want to get the type of headband that has the metal clasp on it...otherwise, you would have to glue straight to the elastic and eventually your buttons will fall off.
The metal clasp is the most secure place to glue since it doesn't flex like the rest of the headband.

Working from largest button sizes (the base) to the smaller beads...continue to glue onto your base. Be careful of your fingers and the glue...working with such small objects and hot glue can burn a bit... this may not be the most kid-friendly craft project. Also, I tend to use odd numbers of everything (minus the two buttons for the base)...this allows the finished piece to have a very beautiful asymmetrical look with little to no brain work on your part.

I like to use beads to give some character to my button headbands. I will find some stone beads and use them first and then use some cheap smaller beads as accents.

When layering with hot glue and your materials...try to use as little glue as you can. These small buttons and beads don't need much. Luckily, this craft is pretty forgiving. If you use too much glue...quickly place a bead or two on the glue area... your accident will end up looking like a genius cluster of sparkles!


If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!


Kim Franklin said...

My sister would love this project she is a button fanatic, got it from my grandma. Thesis-shmesis that is an amazing word, I would have done the same thing crafts are wayyy more exciting than typing a paper haha


Heather G said...

I've made these by wrapping heavy thread through button holes and around elastic band (covering the metal attachment). I think it would work well to use a combo of thread & glue for extra grip and security in case one fails. Thanks for inspiration to make more!

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