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How to make beaded buttons

I've decided to make a set of 12 beaded buttons for the Bead Journal Project this year.  Last year I did embroidered cuff bracelets, and while I enjoyed them very much, I thought I needed something a bit faster this time.  I'm thinking that I might end up stitching some of them together when they're finished and treating them like cabochons instead of buttons.  But in the meanwhile, until I know for sure, I'm constructing them as easy with the Dritz button covers that you can find everywhere!

1. I used the largest (I think) size that Dritz makes, or at least the largest that are easy to find.  Size 60 are 1-1/2 inches across, and I bought 12 of them.

2. Use the pattern that comes with the package to trace circles on muslin.  I used the actual size of the button top to trace smaller circles on lightweight fusible interfacing.  I wanted to make sure that the embroidery would stay firm, and that heavy elements wouldn't rip the fabric.

3. Cut out all the circles and iron the fusible pieces to the center of the muslin pieces.  I did all the buttons at once so that I wouldn't have to drag out all my equipment every month.  Get the boring stuff out of the way!

4. Since I have an enormous collection of watches (most of which don't work), gleaned from flea markets and friends, I decided to use watch faces as the centerpiece of each button.

5. This watch was stitched in place before the bead embroidery was done.  The picot edging extends just a tiny bit past the interfacing circle that's hidden on the inside.  Follow the directions on the button package to snap your button together when you're finished stitching.

6.  I used watered down acrylic paint to color the muslin that showed around the edges.  You could paint the fabric first if you knew for sure what colors of beads you were going to use (I didn't!), or you could use commercially printed fabric instead.  Just make sure the fabric is relatively thin so that it will fit into the button form. 


Copyright 2011 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Genevieve said…
This is cool. I have some of these button gadgets but haven't used them yet... Time to play!
Cyndi L said…
I know you'll make some amazing pieces with them, Genevieve!
Charlene said…
Just gorgeous, I love that you are using a watch face in the center - adds a nice touch of the unexpected.
Cyndi L said…
Thanks Charlene! By the time I've done 12 of them, it won't be unexpected anymore ;-)
Good tip about the fusible webbing to stabilize things. Thanks, Cyndi.
Cyndi L said…
If your fabric is thick enough, you don't need to bother, but thinner fabric is so much easier to wedge into the button shaper!
Wow, thanks Cyndi, this is a great tutorial! I have an old watch that belonged to my Grandmother, maybe I can use a version of this to turn it into a pin or pendant for future generations!
Cyndi L said…
Maybe sort of a locket-style pendant?