One of my favorite handmade gifts to make for people are these button flowers, generally made from vintage buttons. I ran across something similar in a boutique in Kansas City about 5 years ago when I was on a girls weekend. I thought “I can make those!” When I was on maternity leave that fall I decided to try my hand at making some as Christmas gifts. Fast forward over 4 years later I still make 1-2 sets a year for various gifts. These black and white ones were made for one of the gals on my team at work.
- Buttons of various sizes – small, medium and large. You’ll need 5-10 buttons per stem.
- Floral/craft wire – I use 22 gauge. You can use any color. I usually use silver or green depending on the button colors.
- Pliers with wire cutter. I also use a second set of pliers for tightening the wires.
Sort your buttons by size. Then stack up buttons for a few of your stems. I like doing 2-3 “bulbs” on each stem getting smaller as they go down the stem. On the top bulb, I use 5 buttons going from smallest to largest, 3 buttons on the middle bulb and 2 buttons on the last bulb. I will often do some with 2 bulbs (7-8 buttons) and some with 3 (10 buttons).
I prefer to do each stem with one color of buttons and then mix different colored stems together. This is just personal preference. I’ve seen others that mix different colors on the same stems.
Step 2: Measure a length of wire 3 times the height of your vase. You will likely end up trimming some off in the end, but better too long than too short. Fold the wire in half.
Step 3: Start threading your first stack of buttons onto the wire. Put the smallest one on first, with the top part of the button going first. Thread on the rest the stack for your first bulb (5 buttons).
Step 4: Turn over your wire and twist the wire in half over the back. Then start twisting the wire down between your thumb and index finger of one hand while holding the button stack with your other hand. I twist down about 1-1.5 inches.
Step 5: Add your second stack of buttons, twist. Repeat if you’re doing a 3rd bulb. After you finish your last bulb, twist all the way down to the bottom of your wires.
Step 6: Tighten the wires. This is optional. I like mine to be nice and tight so the buttons aren’t wobbly. I’ve found the best way to do this is to grasp the wires with two sets of pliers on either side of a bulb and twist in opposite directions in the same direction as your wire was twisted. (if you go the opposite way, you’ll start untwisting the wire, so you’ll know right away it’s the wrong way).
Step 7: Clip the loose ends and any additional length of stem you don’t need. I usually wait until I have a few stems done and test them out in my vase before trimming any of them. Once you get them all in your vase, you may need to trim some so they sit at various heights.
Depending on the size of my vase, I usually use about 20-25 stems for my bouquets. I’m not going to lie, this is a project that takes a while and uses a lot of buttons.
Good (inexpensive) sources of buttons:
- My mom had a huge box of buttons she gave me that used to be my grandmother’s. Ask around. A lot of people have stashes of buttons they have no real intention of using, but they don’t really want to just throw them out.
- Garage sales and Goodwill are also good options. I’ve found clothing items at either place with a lot of buttons for 50 cents or a few dollars. This is still cheaper than buying new buttons.
- Craft stores like Michael’s often sell boxes of craft buttons. If you’re looking for an assortment and not just one specific color, this can be a good option.
- If you are looking for a particular color, check out eBay. I’ve never bought my buttons on eBay, but I’ve seen them there, often sold by color.
- Once in a while I do have to buy new buttons, especially for the largest size. I try to look at the clearance area first, but I do periodically pay full price for them.
I don’t have very good pictures of some of the previous bouquets I’ve made, but here are some not so good photos just so you can see some different color combos.
I’ve seen so many great button crafts on Pinterest and on blogs. I have a pretty large stash of buttons, so one of these days I’ll make something else with them. Have you made something out of buttons that you love?