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How to Make a Vintage Antique Button Ring: DIY Jewelry Making

Updated on August 6, 2016

Antique Vintage Button Ring

EBay is the best place to find buttons of all kinds.  These rhinestone buttons were all purchased online.
EBay is the best place to find buttons of all kinds. These rhinestone buttons were all purchased online.

How to Make Your Own Button Ring

Vintage buttons are perfect for this simple ring. Here, I removed the shank (hole part) from the button with my pliers. Luckily, it came off cleanly and no filing was necessary. It helps to have a button that has a flat area on the back side to adhere to the metal on the ring blank. The more surface area you are gluing, the better the bond will be. Check out your local craft store for super strong glue. Test your glue out on simple crafts first. I recommend using a glue made for glass repairs or jewelry work. There is nothing more embarrassing than having your latest creation fall apart when you are out showing it off. Before you crank these out for presents, experiment and test out your creations.

How to Make a Vintage Button Ring:

1. Remove the existing shank from the button. Pull it off with pliers or cut it so you have a flat surface to glue to the ring blank.

2. Spread the glue onto the back side of the button. Use a generous amount. My favorite jewelry glue is E6000. You can find it at Walmart, Michael's or Hobby Lobby. Wipe away any excess glue before it dries.

3. Check positioning to make sure the fit is as flush as possible. You can use tape to hold your piece in place while the glue dries. You don't want any gaps or awkward angles.

4. Let the glue dry overnight.

5. Put your ring on. Try it out. Wear it and bask in compliments.

If you're not a ring person you can also use vintage buttons to make stunning earrings, bracelets and even pins or necklaces. Check out my wrapped wire pin below. Secure your design with wire attached to the pin back.

How to Replace Missing Rhinestones

Rhinestone buttons are gorgeous but over time, rhinestones may come loose and need to be replaced. Some rhinestones take on a yellowish cast with age. Use tweezers while working with rhinestones. Place a bit of glue on a toothpick for best control. Apply the glue to the setting then use your tweezers to work your rhinestone into place. Wipe off any excess glue and let the newly applied rhinestone dry before you begin your button crafting.

Tools and Supplies For Making a Button Ring

Round Nose Pliers

Wire Cutters

Craft Glue E-6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive Clear

Vintage Button

Adjustable Ring Blank

Toothpick

For the Love of Jewelry Design

Celluloid buttons are gorgeous.  They were often used for coats.  Stacked button creations are a fun and easy way to showcase your favorite buttons.  Here, I stitched the buttons to a wide piece of black elastic for a cuff bracelet I created.
Celluloid buttons are gorgeous. They were often used for coats. Stacked button creations are a fun and easy way to showcase your favorite buttons. Here, I stitched the buttons to a wide piece of black elastic for a cuff bracelet I created.
In addition to vintage buttons, I have a huge collection of spoon jewelry.  Different silverware patterns produce unique rings.  Some are extremely elaborate and others have a modern feel.
In addition to vintage buttons, I have a huge collection of spoon jewelry. Different silverware patterns produce unique rings. Some are extremely elaborate and others have a modern feel.
The blue glass Czech buttons are examples of self-shank buttons.  These work well for jewelry stringing.
The blue glass Czech buttons are examples of self-shank buttons. These work well for jewelry stringing.

Victorian Metal Buttons

Victorian Metal Buttons were made between 1870 and 1910. Brass was the most commonly used metal for this type of button. Thin sheets were stamped by steam-driven presses to create button blanks. The button blanks were bound to a brass back and pierced by a twisted wire shank.

Many Victorian metal buttons were made in two, three and more layers.

To determine the age of a button, flip the button over and take a good look at the back. If you see a looped or twisted wire shank embedded in a metal back, the button was probably made before 1918.

Button collectors call a button "modern" if it was made after 1918.

More Button Jewelry Designs

This wire-wrapped pin features freshwater pearls, glass beads, crystal and vintage buttons.  Use chain to add dangles.
This wire-wrapped pin features freshwater pearls, glass beads, crystal and vintage buttons. Use chain to add dangles.
Here you can see the back side of the brooch pictured above.  I used 24 gauge wire to secure the beads in place and hold the pin backing on.  The higher the number for a wire's gauge, the thinner the wire.
Here you can see the back side of the brooch pictured above. I used 24 gauge wire to secure the beads in place and hold the pin backing on. The higher the number for a wire's gauge, the thinner the wire.
Since 2008, designer Heather Walton has crafted her own designs out of her art room in Charlotte.  Her work has sold throughout the Southeast in shops and stores.
Since 2008, designer Heather Walton has crafted her own designs out of her art room in Charlotte. Her work has sold throughout the Southeast in shops and stores.
Peyote stitch bracelet embellished with freshwater pearls.  These bracelets take hours to make but the end result is worth the labor.
Peyote stitch bracelet embellished with freshwater pearls. These bracelets take hours to make but the end result is worth the labor.
Vintage jewelry is an endless source of inspiration for me.
Vintage jewelry is an endless source of inspiration for me.
A great way to display your jewelry and keep it organized, is to use simple bracelet displays.  These are from Hobby Lobby.
A great way to display your jewelry and keep it organized, is to use simple bracelet displays. These are from Hobby Lobby.
Mermaid Cuff with Vintage Rhinestone Clasp
Mermaid Cuff with Vintage Rhinestone Clasp

Find Vintage and Antique Buttons On Ebay

EBay is a great place to find antique and vintage buttons. Some of my favorites include luster glass, celluloid, calico and pressed shell buttons. Buttons can get expensive depending on the material and rarity of particular styles. If you don't pay careful attention, you're liable to bid on more buttons than you can use in one lifetime as a crafter or jewelry designer. Note the size of the buttons you're buying. It can be tricky to determine button size simply from looking at pictures. Some sellers include a dime in the photo so you can get a better idea of the button's size.

Best Book for Antique and Vintage Button Jewelry

Antique Button Inspiration

Susan Davis is the founder of Grandmother's Buttons. Her first jewelry product in this line was made with a pair of jet glass buttons. Davis' book has gorgeous color pictures of button projects for you to create. Vintage buttons are often one-of-a-kind but the techniques shown are timeless. You can create simple button earrings using crystal and wire or elaborate pearl and shell button bracelets. This book is worth the investment because you will return to it time and again.

Ready to Make Vintage Button Jewelry?

Have you made jewelry with antique buttons?

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Vintage Button Clasps

Make a Vintage Button Clasp

My favorite method for using a vintage button as a clasp involves stringing the button on the end of your thread. If you are beginning a bracelet, fold your thread in half, slide the button onto the middle and knot in place. You can also use a crimp bead to secure the clasp. After you finish making your bracelet, you will form a loop on the other end of the thread using basic knotting techniques and 4 mm crystal beads.

Vintage Button Clasp

Here the vintage button is secured on a scrap of brown 1 mm round leather cord.  Use knotting and a bit of clear nail polish to secure the knot in place.
Here the vintage button is secured on a scrap of brown 1 mm round leather cord. Use knotting and a bit of clear nail polish to secure the knot in place.
Source

Comments

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    • MG Seltzer profile image

      MG Seltzer 

      3 years ago from South Portland, Maine

      Thanks for this. My daughter loves steampunk and just got a bracelet with that theme on Etsy. She also loves the gift shop at the Victorian Mansion in Portland, Maine. I am sending her the link to this article because I can see her finding glass-jewel buttons with a Victorian look and creating rings for herself. I'm glad you included information on what kind of glue to use. Thumbs up, of course.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 years ago from SW England

      This is great. I have so many buttons and some are from my grandparents so fit the bill for this kind of thing. My daughter also designs and makes jewelry so this will interest her too.

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