Buttons – Types, Uses, and Craft Ideas
A button is a fastener that can be made of plastic, metal, leather, wood, and many other materials. They can be decorative and useful, a colorful way to close pieces of fabric. Most buttons are sold in multiples, unless they are vintage, ornate, or large. There is no difference between craft and sewing buttons, and the two can be used interchangeably for projects. They can be added to pillows, ornaments, curtains, toys, dolls, and any other craft you can think up.
Choosing Button Sizes
- When choosing the size of a button for a garment, the first thing you want to look at is the size of the hole. Button holes are very securely reinforced when sewn, so there is no stretch. As a result, you want to choose a button that has the same diameter as your hole is long. Make sure that it is not too small for the hole either, or it will not stay fastened.
- Sizes can typically be easily found in either metric or imperial measurements. Sizes usually steadily increase by 1/8".
- Internationally, they can sometimes be measured in "linge" which was the German measuring system used before the metric system. One linge is equal to 1/40 of an inch.
Types of Buttons and How to Use Them
Flat buttons that have 2 small holes in the center to sew through. The holes are typically lined up parallel to the edge that it is fastening.
Flat buttons with 4 holes in them. The attachment is stronger that with 2 hole buttons and they are better for thick fabric.
Have a hole or loop at the back through which it can be attached. They are better when attaching to a loop rather than attaching 2 pieces of fabric together. They also make great eyes.
Plastic domed buttons that allow you to cover with whatever fabric you choose so that you can match it to your project. These work well with upholstery and home decor projects.
Knobs made of knotted strings that pass through a loop to fasten. They are very decorative, and do not require a button hole
Made by embroidering or crocheting tight stitches over a form, such as a cabone ring.
Typically plastic and unusual shapes (such as anchors, flowers, or animals) or have designs printed on their surface.
No Sew buttons to replace broken waist fastenings. They attach to the fabric with a pivot tack that stays in place, making the separation between the button and the fabric much wider. This allows room for a thicker fabric to be attached and a stronger attachment to the fabric that can deal with more stress.
Snaps, Velcro, Buckles, and more.
How to Sew
- Pick your button and thread.
- Cut a piece of thread about two feet long.
- Thread the needle and feed the thread through the button eyehole
- Tie the end of your thread in a knot.
- Place the button on top of the material where you want it to go and thread through the material, pulling tight. If you're using a multiple hole button, thread through a different hole first.
- Continue to loop through the button hole(s). If the button is 4-hole, you can make an X or simply sew randomly through the holes.
- End with the needle on the material side and double-knot it.
Ideas for Using Buttons in Scrapbooking
- Page border
- Dot "i" or "j," or as the center of "o," "a," "q," "d," or "p"
- Attach using embroidery floss or glue dots
- Anchor ribbons or other embellishments
- Attach to the flap of an envelope
- Flower centers
- Photo corners
- Bullet list
- Use Dress It Up Buttons for 3D art
Craft Ideas and Inspiration
- Glue to flat thumbtacks
- Attach to a scarf for decoration
- Use as beads with elastic thread for a funky bracelet
- Glue to a painted terra cotta pot
Visit ThinkCrafts.com for more projects and tutorials with buttons!
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