Wednesday 30 May 2012

Decorating buttons with patterned papers and a card for Mum

I love weird & vintage buttons, but they can be very expensive to buy, so when I came across some packets of mixed black plastic buttons at 10p a throw, I set about decorating them myself. This tutorial describes the results of my experiments with covering them in patterned papers.

"Gluing the paper to the button"

Choose some patterned paper with tiny images that will sit neatly on a button - scraps are ideal. Using a soft brush, coat the flat side of the button and the reverse of your patterned paper with a thin layer of matte multi-medium. Using the matte version saves any splashes from showing if you accidentally get some of the multi-medium where it's not wanted. Set these aside for a couple of hours to dry, and remember to wash up your brush in water.
"Paper trimmed and sanded"

Next take each button in turn, trim off the excess paper with scissors and holding the button with the paper facing up, sand the edges with short downward strokes of a small piece of fine grade sandpaper. This will ensure the paper doesn't rip into the surface of the button.

"Punching the holes"

Following the 4 buttons in the picture above from left to right, take a thin sewing needle and push the tip through the centre of each of the holes in the button from the back (1), then flip the button over (2) and push the needle all the way through from the front (3). This will push any rough edges through into the hole and leave a neat finish. Finally, open up the hole completely by poking it through from the front with a pokey tool or similar (4). I use a small embossing tool for this job.

"Finished buttons"

To finish them off, rub some distress ink around the edges using a piece of cut 'n' dry foam, working in the ink especially where there are any bits of white showing, add any stamping in a waterproof ink, then give the buttons a coating of glossy accents. Try not to get the glossy accents in the holes, but if you do then use the pokey tool to free each hole, cleaning it on kitchen roll after each poke.

"Postage Stamp Buttons"

Postage stamp buttons are made in exactly the same way, just use old stamps instead of patterned papers. To remove postage stamps from their backing paper (e.g. the corner of an envelope), fill a tray with water and float the stamp face up on top of the water, then leave for an hour. The water soaks in to the backing paper and the stamp will peel easily from the front without the dye running. Place the stamp face down on a sheet of kitchen roll overnight to dry, then use as any other paper.

"Dylusions Sprays buttons"

These buttons are decorated with papers made from spraying pearlescent card with various colours of Dylusions inks.

"Distress Ink Buttons"

The papers for these buttons have been decorated with distress inks and overstamped using the Technique Tuesday "Get in Gear" stamp set.

OK, enough with the buttons - what can we do with them? Here's a card I made for my Mum, thanks Mum.

"Thank You card with buttons"

The basic construction is a standard 6" x 6" easel card using patterned papers. There is a foamboard diecut birdcage (see previous posts) decorated with Adirondack gold mixative and fixed via a length of chain set into an eyelet at the top of the card.

"Buttons and charms"

Charms hang from jump rings in the bird cage, and buttons decorated with matching papers are used for embellishments. Each of the buttons has some gold thread threaded through the buttonholes.

"Butterfly cameo"

This charm has a butterfly cut from patterned papers embedded in glossy accents and attached via a chain to the sentiment panel.

"Sentiment panel"

The sentiment is heat-embossed in gold onto a diecut from the patterned paper pack; the panel is raised with foam tape for extra dimension and the end of the cameo chain adhered in behind.

"Thank you"

The background for the top panel is patterned paper matted onto gold hammered card. The bottom panel has been stamped onto a plainer patterned paper and brushed over with Perfect Pearls for matching gold glimmer.

plastic buttons with one flat side
patterned papers (I used Kaisercraft Secret Bird Society)
7Gypsies Stamp set Conservatory
Papermania stamp set Birdsong
160gsm white cardstock
Dylusions spray inks
Distress Inks
Claudine Hellmuth Studio multi-medium matte
soft brush
small piece of fine-grade sandpaper
stamps and Archival ink
Distress inks
Glossy Accents
old postage stamps
Cosmic Shimmer gold embossing powder
Perfect Pearls Heirloom Gold

Entered for the following challenges:
Die Cuttin' Divas - Anything Goes
Oldie But Goodie - Anything Goes
Party Time Tuesdays - Anything Goes
Bunny Zoes Crafts - Anything Goes
Incy Wincy Designs - Vintage
Lawnscaping - Embossing
Cutie Pie - Die Cuts and Punches


  1. The buttons are fabulous. Also your card looks wonderful, your mum will love it.

  2. Hi Maddy, Your buttons are fabulous. Thanks for the great tutorial, I may even give it a go myself! The card for your mum is stunning, such a beautiful design.
    All the best (p.s. I now have my blog up and running but it's very early days!)
    Hugs Sue

  3. A fantastic card. Your buttons are wonderful. Thank you for joining us at Incy Wincy.
    Nikki F x

  4. Gorgeous card and thanks for the tutorial will have to give it a try. love Alison xxxx

  5. Beautiful colours and card, great pic by pic of your buttons great money saving idea.
    thanks for joining us at Cutie Pie cheers Sue N x

  6. Love your Easel card. Beautiful. Love the button idea. Thanks for joining us at DCD.


  7. What a great idea to use buttons that aren't really that pretty.. I've got lots. Between all my home sewing, and all the buttons from my Mom's years of home sewing I've got lots of so so buttons. The card is beautiful too. Lucky Mom.

  8. Great card and what an idea with the buttons!
    Thanks for joining us at DCD this week! Hope to see you back next week!

  9. Love your buttons. Gorgeous card. Need to get that bird cage die. xx

  10. Maddy your buttons are fab and the card is gorgeous, Iam sure your Mum loves it. love and hugs Kathyxxxx

  11. Gorgeous card and your buttons are amazing :o)
    Thanks for playing along with us at An Oldie But Goodie this time.
    Good luck.
    Debs x

  12. wonderful project -Thanks for joining us at Oldie but a Goodie this fortnight for our anything goes challenge
    LISA X

  13. Maddy this is a great tutorial and the buttons turned out so fantastic. You got a fantastic deal on those buttons. The card for your Mum is beautiful too. Lee x

  14. Gorgeous card thanks for joining us at the cutie pies this time. Hugs Lisa. X

  15. thank you so much for the button tutorial
    so glad I found your blog, this is just what
    I was looking for


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