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Crafting with buttons

Updated on September 30, 2015
Finished button cross for my Secret Sister
Finished button cross for my Secret Sister | Source

Crafty ways to use buttons for gifts

This year, we drew names in our Quilt Guild for Secret Sisters. My secret sister has very specific requests. She loves pink, buttons, quilting and knitting. She has stated that she doesn't need any more yarn. What do I get her? Or better yet, what can I make that would knock her socks off.

Buttons are versatile and can be made into anything. Searching the Internet, I was inspired and amazed at the creative use of buttons. Here are just a few ideas.

I have created a button cross for my secret sister. There are other ideas shown here and I don't know how to do them but I am a crafter, I can figure it out.

Unless otherwise identified by a link, all the photos are mine. Please be kind, I am not a professional.

My inspiration - Clicking on the link below will take you to the site and the tutorial.

Button Craft
Button Craft | Source

My secret sister made it clear that if her secret sister were to buy anything, she would love more crosses for her wall art. Since I happened to be sitting next to her when she made the remark, she made it super easy for me. I don't have to decide what to get her, only what medium the crosses will be.

Why not do a cross in pink buttons? Her tutorial became my inspiration.



Found a free template on the Internet


I have no imagination when it comes to designs so I find what I need with a search. I found the pattern in Free Wood Puzzles. They have some amazing designs.

Drawing the pattern on the fabric

I tossed around several ideas and finally decided to draw it on the fabric with a pencil. Since the intention is to place the buttons directly over the lines, what I draw will not show. I cut the fabric slightly larger than the frame size so I have some room to adjust.

The buttons don't have to be pink. It's just my preference.

Blumenthal Lansing Favorite Findings Basic Buttons Assorted Sizes, 130/Pkg, Pink
Blumenthal Lansing Favorite Findings Basic Buttons Assorted Sizes, 130/Pkg, Pink

Amazon has lots of pink buttons, eBay has much more. I already had a stash but couldn't resist buying more. After all, there is no such thing as too many pink buttons.


Playing with the buttons - Which ones do I use?

Again, this is a task that is hard for me. I just can't grab a button and sew it on. I need to plan it out although it may not end up that way so I am playing with the buttons to see where I think they should go. Now that I have the basic framework, it's time to pull out the embroidery hoop and start the process. I gave some thought to gluing them on but decided that they needed to be sewn on. Now the work really begins.

Framing the button cross

This is something I had to think through.

I put the cross into the frame to see how it would work. This is where I noticed that the shank buttons tend to move around. That is not what I want them to do. The solution was to get the hot glue gun and make their position more permanent.

What do I do with all the extra fabric on the back. Again, I want the fabric to cover the backing without looking cheap and shabby. My husband suggested that I use spray glue to attach the whole piece. When it was dry, I trimmed it with the scissors. I do love the spray glue and Elmer’s works great.

Shadow Box

MCS 12 x 12 Scrapbook Shadow Box in Black
MCS 12 x 12 Scrapbook Shadow Box in Black

This is the one I bought. I got the white frame to go with the cream linen fabric and the pink buttons. The inspiration photo shows the art without a glass cover. We live in an area with lots of open fields and dust. Button art without some sort of cover would make it difficult to care for. I decided that a shadow box would be the next best thing. Since I also added buttons on top of the bottom row, a regular glass frame was not going to work. The shadow box is only slightly larger than the design. I don't want a lot of extra space to detract from the cross.


Back of frame, ready to trim

Framing supplies

Elmer's Extra Strong Spray Adhesive (E455)
Elmer's Extra Strong Spray Adhesive (E455)

Spray adhesive made attaching the fabric to the frame so much easier. I had not used it before but now, I find it is useful for many of my projects. Seems I have been doing things the hard way.


Looks nice with my angels but I had to give it away

Not content to leave well enough alone

I bought lots of buttons. I tend to go overboard when I start a new craft so I wondered what else I could make. I found lots of great ideas, a few of my favorites are below.

How about making a bracelet?


When sewing, quilting or knitting, a tape measure is always necessary. Why not celebrate with a bracelet. Of course, this has pink buttons which makes it all the better.

Maybe a necklace to complete the ensemble


The necklace is no longer available but Kelly has many more great button gifts. Still, it's a great inspiration piece and I gave some thought to making this for my secret sister, I decided it might be too hard to give away. There are lots of ways to make necklaces but this is the ultimate.

"Kreated by Kelly" gave me her blessing to share this.

I can see this hanging on my tree and the tree of my Secret Sister

Styrofoam ball and lots of buttons and pins
Styrofoam ball and lots of buttons and pins | Source

Button flowers, what a good idea - This site is not in English but crafts translate regardless of language

Lots more buttons
Lots more buttons | Source

Button art is good for all occasions

Would you consider making button art for gifts?

See results

Button Cookies - Click on the picture or the link below to create these treats


My secret sister love chocolate cake and I could make that for her birthday. Then, there are these button cookies which are adorable. If I am sticking to a theme for the year, this is the perfect idea.

This site is not in English either but there is enough information and pictures to help you create these adorable cookies.

Quick and Simple - I needed a gift in a hurry

Glue a few buttons to some thumb tacks and create a quick and easy gift. Add a cork board with items that will appeal to that special person and you have created a personalized gift. My Secret Sister loved this!

Comments Welcomed

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great ideas, Ann. My mother collecting buttons before she died last year, when she did very little sewing. I wish I kept them. But nice ways to make homemade crafts for the holidays.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image


      3 years ago

      I had no idea buttons were so versatile.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      3 years ago from New Zealand

      Beautiful, I like this craft very much, it's the first time I have seen this, and wouldn't even have thought about making anything like this if I hadn't have seen this article, must have a look and see what buttons I have collected over the years. The buttons look very nice framed.

    • CammieC profile image


      4 years ago

      Awesome ideas!! Great lens!

    • tonyaalves3 profile image


      4 years ago

      Omgosh! This is a great ideas for my daycare for craft day. Thanks for sharing this awesome lens

    • baileyvisuals profile image


      4 years ago

      Great little lens, I am addicted to buttons and what can be achieved with different styles and shapes.

    • EpicFarms profile image


      5 years ago

      I love it! Buttons are addictive (I have an embarrassingly large collection ;o) I LOVE the idea of a cross with buttons; definitely going to try that one!

    • MamaRuth profile image


      6 years ago

      Great ideas! I love buttons but have never tried to do anything with them. Your lens has inspired me! Love all the pink buttons especially the Beatrix Potter ones. I think I'll try to make something to put in the bedroom I keep for my granddaughters' visits.

    • mysweetjane lm profile image

      mysweetjane lm 

      6 years ago

      There's some gorgeous simple to make but look great ideas here

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      What a clever idea for using buttons!

    • Seasons Greetings profile image

      Laura Brown 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Really like the button ornament and button cookies.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have never seen the button cookies, how sweet! I especially love how the vintage buttons can now be displayed in craft much nicer than sitting in a jar or button box....Mom used to have a button box that was a Whitman's Sample tin, I would guess she still has it in the same place on the shelf in the closet.

    • lbrummer profile image

      Loraine Brummer 

      6 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

      Thank you for your visit and comment. I have added this lens to my button crafts lens also.

    • iijuan12 profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      Cute ideas!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      How cool--I recently joined the quilt guild here. I don't think they do a secret sisters, but it would be neat if they did.

    • jaredsgirl profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens! I love these button art ideas! I'm going to try them for gifts for my family and friends. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Love you ideas. The tutorial to make the button art is great! I love learning tips from others' experiences!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Aha, now I know what to do with all those buttons I've been saving. Nifty button craft ideas.

    • Ann Hinds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ann Hinds 

      6 years ago from So Cal

      @anonymous: Emily, Thanks for taking the time to respond. I do have your link posted above where it says button cookies. I always try to give credit because I know that I am using your wonderful picture and recipe. is truly great!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm glad that you like my button cookies!

      Here the recipe

      next time, please be kind and let the source inspiration or copy right mentioned :)

      Have a great time!

    • buttonhead lm profile image

      buttonhead lm 

      6 years ago

      COOL. I never thought about using buttons to make wall art. Very creative! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 

      6 years ago from UK

      great lens and crafty ideas, thanks. Blessed.

    • Susan300 profile image


      6 years ago

      So many cute button crafts for me to try next! :)

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image


      6 years ago

      I have a totally insane button collection, which is rapidly outgrowing its basket as I use a button here, a button there... this looks like a fabulous way to put a bunch of them to great use while taming the basket!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      6 years ago from Land of Aloha

      The button cookies are really cute too!

    • ZenandChic profile image


      6 years ago

      I love the button cookies and the button ornament.


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