Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Button, Button, Who's Got The Button?

If you are of a "certain age", you may remember playing "Button, Button, Who's Got The Button?".  In the jewelry world it appears that many of us have the button or buttons.

About 15 years ago I spent many weekends at my parents' house, lending a hand, when my mom had cancer.  Sometimes I'd take a break and head out to a bead store near their home. This shop had a vast collection of new and vintage buttons.  The owner told me that they had recently bought out the entire stock of a glass button manufacturer in Germany that had gone out of business.  All the buttons were 30 years old or older.  Some of the buttons were on special displays in this shop, but a vast quantity of them filled a large oak barrel. At the time, you could get 4 buttons for a dollar from that barrel!  That's hard to believe now, with even the simplest glass buttons now costing a couple of bucks.

German Vintage Glass Buttons

 I would sit next to that barrel and just run my hand through all the buttons! They felt so silky as they gently spilled over my fingers.  As I'd dig through the barrel, I would set aside my favorites.  This little ritual gave me some peaceful, quiet moments and was quite therapeutic at a time of high stress.  The result was that I grew to love buttons and I acquired a really nice collection of vintage glass buttons.

One time as I was on my weekend commute to my parents' house, I stopped at a different bead shop that specialized in beads and small items from Asia and Africa. There I found these exquisite Thai metal and cloisonne-style buttons.  So amazing!  I bought handfuls of them. The next time I visited that shop, the Thai buttons were gone.  I was sooo glad I'd stocked up on them!

Bracelet with Thai Metal Button Closure

Recently, an artist at the co-op art gallery I belonged to, brought in 2 boxes filled to the brim with mother of pearl buttons that she no longer wanted.  I was able to score a big handful of them.

Buttons make unique and easily fastened bracelet closures.

They also add a unique touch when used as a closure in a necklace.

Buttons can also be used as you would use beads, in the main part of the necklace, bracelet or earrings.

via Pinterest

Here are a few of my favorite resources for handmade buttons:

Shank Button with added hook and eye
Raku Buttons

And for those of you attending Bead Fest, Susan Kennedy of Sue Beads, will have some brand new buttons at her booth there, so be sure to stop by, if you are attending.

If you'd like some more inspiration for using buttons in jewelry, take a look at my Button Jewelry Board on Pinterest.

Do you use buttons in your jewelry creations or would you like to?  Do you make your own buttons?  Tell us more!



  1. I have a large collection of buttons, but they are not as beautiful and unusual as yours. I have been drawn to them too.

    1. Do you use your buttons in jewelry or other crafts?

  2. Oh ya! I've become obsessed with buttons...among other things!! :) Wonderful to see all the buttons and button creations!!!

  3. When I was helping my Mom clean and organize before her move to TX - we came across a few small tins jammed full of vintage Mother of Pearl buttons that my maternal Grandmother had hoarded. She had die hard hoarding habits from war time shortages. Mom was under impressed with teh plain pearl buttons. Needless to say I have them all.

    Favorite thing to make - earring. Gemstone dangle, and a button. WHat more do you need?

  4. Hi Linda - Thank you for including my bracelet here. I love buttons, especially vintage buttons, so I'm always interested to hear about other people's attachment to them. An interesting post - thanks again!

  5. I just made a necklace with a beautiful etched button from Libellula Jewelry! I love when the buttons cooperate.

  6. I love all these gorgeous buttons! I guess I must be of that "certain age", Linda... I too recall playing with buckets of buttons, whenever we paid our summer visits to a certain Auntie. She ran a fabric store in her attic. What fun! Sad to say both Auntie and her store are long gone.

    I have a certain number of older buttons and continue to buy buttons when I find an old-style fabric shop; fabric remnants by the pound are very popular here and often old carded buttons can be picked up there for a steal :)

  7. I love working with buttons in jewellery and there are some great examples here Linda. Just wish I was a keen is sewing them back on clothes when theY come off!

  8. I love buttons too, but prefer to hoard them than use them. LOL! My daughter plays with them, makes up stories with them, makes them into characters and structures. The cat tries to "help" her with it ;-)

  9. What a fun post! I loved seeing your lovely collection of buttons and some of the things you made with them. I'm going to have to be on the look out for good buttons.


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