June 27, 2011

Antique Button Jewelry: A 5x5 craft

Last year at HodgePodge (a craft fair where I had a booth), I found a great booth filled with all sorts of antique goodies. My favorite haul I got from the booth was a handful of antique buttons: 4 for $7. I used the green one on a purse but the other three have been sitting in a drawer for months. I'm trying to make the buttons on my purses extra special and none of these buttons really "fit" with any of the purses I've made recently. Then, I got the idea to make jewelry out of them.

Button jewelry is extremely easy and cheap to make, thus qualifying it as a 5 x 5 craft. If you have $5 and 5 minutes, you can make one of these easily! Now, obviously some of these things I already had, such as the E-6000. This project can still be quite affordable if you buy in bulk on Etsy or use coupons. For example, if you have a Hobby Lobby nearby, they have a 40% off coupon every other week. I was able to get 2 bails and a chain necklace for under $3. Also, the buttons don't have to be "antique" . . . there are lots of gorgeous buttons at your local craft store or maybe even at the bottom of your sewing box. You never know!


What you'll need:

E-6000 (or other jewelry adhesive)
pendant bail
necklace chain
toenail clippers

Yes, toenail clippers. Believe it or not, these are a very important tools to have in your stash. I suggest you get a pair just for crafting since they have so many uses. Plus it's kinda gross to use your bathroom clippers on a craft!

Learning moment! These three objects are called "bails." A bail is a loop connected to a larger piece of metal you glue to the back of a piece of jewelry in order to make it a pendant. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. From left to right, I got each one from 1. I Want Supplies on Etsy (50 for $7.50) 2. Michael's (3 for $2-$3) 3. Hobby Lobby (2 for $2.47). Do not confuse glue-on bails with pinch bails, which are meant to be "pinched" through the object, which isn't a great idea with antique buttons.

1. Clip the loop off the back of your button with the clippers. This may take a few snips, but it will come off. Once it's off, use the file on the clippers to wear down any jagged edges left over. It doesn't have to look perfect, it just has to be comfortable to wear.

2. Arg! Out of focus alert! Sorry about that. The next step is to add glue to your bail and simply stick it to the back of the button. I think I was afraid of the glue drying so I just snapped the shot as fast as possible.

3. Allow your button and bail to set. I usually give it at least 24 hours before I touch it. Depending on the shape of your button and bail, laying it flat on a surface to dry might not be the best idea. As you can see with the black button, the loop of the bail is flush with the front of the button. If this is the case, take a clothespin and pinch the button. This way, the button and bail can dry without you having to worry about it falling apart.

And there you have it, finished button necklaces!

The hot pink button I got was curved so I thought it was the perfect shape to make a cocktail ring. It's just as easy to make a button ring as it is a necklace.


What you'll need:

Ring base (I prefer adjustable, personally. I ordered mine from this shop on Etsy; 2 for $2.50)
E-6000 or other jewelry adhesive
toenail clippers

1. See step one for the necklaces.

2. Add a dab of glue to the ring base. Carefully place the button on top. Turn upside down and allow to dry button side down.

Ta-dah! 24 hours later you have a fabulous new ring!

Questions? Comments? Feel free to comment on this post or convo me through my shop. Happy crafting! : )


Maggie (VixenInc) said...

Thanks for posting this. I honestly had no idea it was so easy! I didn't know what bails were. I'm totally buying some now! I have tons of stuff that would make awesome jewelry!!

Emily Gibbs said...

Cool! Thank you for sharing all of this!