I just love using old buttons in my craft projects. Here’s ten quick and easy ideas to put those old buttons to use. For most projects, you will need a tube of craft glue, and hardware from your local craft supply shop, or items found at your local mart in the craft section.
Ideas for Mini, Small or Medium Sized Buttons:
1) Game Piece Mini Button Pins. Use small buttons to create mini mosaics or small flowers on a poker chip or used domino. Hold together with craft glue., Once dry, and glue a “brooch pin” on the back and you have a neat craft idea.
2) Picture frames: Transform any boring picture frame into something wonderful by gluing mini buttons all around the edges. (This works best with flat surface photo frames.) These make great gifts, from pearl buttons looking wonderful in a designer room, to colorful rainbow frames working as a “get well soon” gift.
3) Personalized Gift Tags: Use cardboard to cut out tag shapes, or buy the large price tags at your local office supply store. Once decorated with markers, crayons, paints, or decoupage with paper. Finalize by gluing mini buttons in the initials or first name letter of the person you are giving a gift to. This looks adorable and is a great way to use your buttons up. (If you are making your own cardboard cut out tags, you will need a hole punch and ribbon. The store bought version come with string).
4) Makeup Mirror Gift: Old makeup or powder compacts can be cleaned, (soaked in hot water to remove metal inserts) then small buttons glued all over for a unique gift idea. These serve as tiny jewelry cases, cash boxes, vitamin containers, or treasure boxes and make great stocking stuffers or novelty gift ideas.
5) Button Necklace: Mini buttons can be woven together in and out using thin gauge translucent crafting wire or clear fishing string medium weight to make a functional necklace.
Ideas for Large to Jumbo Sized Buttons:
6)Dog Tag Identifier: Use a large button with a flat service to decoupage your dog’s name and phone number onto a button (avoid the hole area). Apply many coats of clear sealer, and when dry, sew the button onto the top of your dog’s collar. Even if your dog loses the tags from the lower loop, the button will stay atop the collar, and provide valuable information if the dog becomes lost. If you have to wash the collar, hand wash gently and avoid soaking the button area for long periods of time.
7) Greeting Cards: Use jumbo, extremely large buttons that are unique, vintage or colorful, and glue on the front of a handmade card. Use them as center of your artwork, for example, a large yellow button is the sun, a large black button is the center of a sunflower, or a large brown button is an owl’s head. They make interesting mixed media components in your work.
8) Pendant from Large Buttons: Jumbo or large buttons which are unique in design can be adorned with a bale glued on with craft glue. They make lovely pendants. Alternative: Layer buttons and glue together, for a unique layered pendant look!
9) Key Fob with Buttons: Remove the ring from an old key chain, or acquire key chain rings for this project. Find some high strength cord such as hemp, or colored plastic cord. Thread the cord though the large button holes (Criss-cross the cord if using four hole button), then braid it. Your braid should be 3″ or more in length. Attach with knots onto the ring. It will make a pretty and simplistic key chain or gift idea.
10) Button Magnet Gifts: Using small magnets, attach to backs of buttons with craft glue. Allow to dry and assemble into sets of six. Find medium weight cardboard to use for gift package backing. Mount buttons onto the cardboard backing as this is your gift display. (This can be done by cutting a small slit in the cardboard, and pressing the magnet through to hold the magnet in place, so that all you see on the front of the cardboard is the pretty buttons, as if they are mounted on a card!) Cover with cloth or wrap with newspaper and these make great gift sets.
Ira Mency leads a global group of artistans and crafters on the Etsy Recyclers Guild blog encouraging recycled items in handmade wares. Mency’s “trash art assemblage” and “pop art jewelry” found at http://www.etsy.com/shop/RetroChaletStudio has gained her influence in the art world. She donates most proceeds to charity.