Button necklace tutorial

24 May 2012

I made a very simple button necklace recently. Just using bead thread and old buttons, the only other requirements were a safety pin and a needle. The buttons I used are nothing special. I think they were bought a few years ago as a bag of red, green, yellow and blue plain buttons. If you have special buttons that are just sitting in a tin, use them. Maybe you've inherited some buttons from your mother or grandmother. They would make up a very special necklace and have the added bonus of being useful again.

Start by deciding your colour or size pattern. If you want to make one like mine, just tip out the buttons and start threading.  You'll need some bead thread, cut to the size of your finished necklace. Thread it onto an ordinary sewing needle with the other end tied to a safety pin, so the buttons don't slip off the thread.

If you're only doing one colour, sort them out first. If you want differing sizes or a set sequence of colours,  work out your pattern on a flat surface first, then thread the buttons one at a time from the laid out pattern.

Thread through two holes only, even if there are four holes. The buttons will tend to fall in a certain way, let them do that and push them as tightly as possible up against the preceeding button. Push all the buttons you've threaded right to the end of the thread near the safety pin, allowing for some thread to either make a knot or to add a clasp. It's too difficult to move them along later then there are a lot of buttons on the thread.

When you have enough buttons on the thread to make the length you want, go along the thread and push the buttons together again to tighten the line. When they're all tucked up nicely, you can tie them off - which is what I did, or you can add a clasp. You'll need a clasp if you're making either a bracelet or a short necklace that won't fit over your head. If you're a sewer, you may have a hook and eye, similar to this. That will work perfectly. Otherwise, buy a small clasp from Spotlight or your local craft store.

And here is the finished product. Please disregard the model who looks like a deer caught in the headlights. She is the only one I can afford. : - )


  1. Thank you Rhonda, for the great tutorial. I have so many buttons and now I know what I'll do with them.

  2. Love this idea Rhonda! I have a bag of buttons inherited from Mum who probably inherited it from her mum. I think I have used about two in the last 30 years! I could make me and my sister one of these and share the love. Regards Julia in Bowen xxx

  3. This is so cute, and very doable :)
    sometimes simple things can become something different and interesting too.

  4. & dont worry, the model will do just fine :)

  5. What great fun. And the model is fantastic. Real and honest. The best.

  6. The model is a beauty-full lady, her wisdom and kindness shines through those eyes :) My daughter would love to make one of these, what a great idea!


  7. Lol Rhonda, the model's a fox ;)

    I have boxes of buttons from Gran and two cranky kids today, this might be just the ticket!


  8. Good morning Rhonda,
    What fun.Yes I also have many inherited button and also some from my spending days when I just had to have everything in my sewing supplies. Now; well I just just try and make do with what I already have and it usually works out just as well.
    Further on the theme of simplicity. I just received the latest workshop list from a patchwork shop 60klm away. I chose 3 classes that I thought would be great to do. Then I paused a moment to asked myself if this would make me happy. No, no, no!!!!, it would cost quite a bit in fees and supplies and then I'd stress about bringing more UFO's into my sewing room. I realised I am really content with what I have and I deleted the email. Quite empowering really.
    The model looks great. You have beautiful eyes and we'd much rather see you than an air brushed photo any day. Hi to Hanno, how's that back going?
    Blessings Gail

  9. Hello everyone!

    Gail, there hasn't been much improvement with Hanno. He's at the doctor and physio again right now. Maybe they'll change his treatment. If not, it's just a waiting game.

  10. I can see myself doing miniature versions of this at christmas for the little girls in my life (possibly with thin elastic to make them more child friendly). I quite like your model :)

  11. Great Idea Rhonda, such a great use for something that would just be sitting there doing nothing :) I have been blogging for a while haven't got the talent that you have though. http://themakingofparadise.blogspot.com.au/

  12. Hi Rhonda! The necklace looks fantastic, all those colours against the black. Thanks for sharing this nifty idea! I have a heap of old buttons at home. :)

  13. My Daughter made herself a button bouquet for her Wedding. I was horrified at first but as I saw it take shape it really was very beautiful.
    She googled the instructions as she hates cut flowers and this seemed a great alternative.....

  14. I've made one of these Rhonda but used a thread with a bit of elastic in it - I can't remember if it is called jewellery elastic or not. It just gives it a bit of stretch to put in on.

    My mum wears hers as a bracelet sometimes.

    I bought your book a few weeks ago. I LOVE IT. Thank you so much. We are already doing quite a few things that you suggest but there are also some fabulous tips in there. The Whole Orange Cake is devine :) so much so I blogged about it.

  15. Rhonda, I don't think you should sack your model - she looks like a kind friendly granny full of wisdom and common sense. I'm sure she can still teach and encourage us plenty.

    When we were sick as children, Mum would bring out the button jar, lengths of thread tied to blunt darning needles, and we would amuse ourselves making pretty button necklaces. A warm memory...

    I feel for poor Hanno. Have you tried a warm comfrey poultice over the painful part? It may help.

    Lyn in Northern New South Wales.

  16. I was given a beautiful button necklace a couple of weeks ago as a gift, and I've been thinking that I should find out how it's done! Thanks for the tutorial, I'm going to give this a go and use up some of my button stash!

  17. Lovely necklace Rhonda! I always thought they did something special to make the buttons fall in that way but now I can see it's just common sense! Will definitely try it one day. Lucy

  18. Sorry to hear that Hanno's back is still not right. Thank you for the button tutorial; it's a lovely idea!

  19. Oh Rhonda , though i love the button necklace...the real reason I am taken with this post is because of the button jar. I spent so much time with my grandma when I was a child and my favourite 'toy' was the button jar.
    I spent many hours just sitting and looking at all the beautiful buttons and it always felt like I was just about to find treasure no matter how many times I looked.
    As a young mum to 2 toddlers I came over to pick up my children after a day at my mother in laws house to discover that she had given them her own button jar to play with. How my heart soared when i realised that my mother in law was just like my own grandmother and did the same things!
    Thankyou for reminding me of the button jar ...now my children are teenagers perhaps it is time I started saving buttons for my grandchildren....it should be full by the time I am a grandma!

  20. Your self portrait is just lovely, as is the necklace.


  21. This is a great amusement for nursing babes - something to keep their hands occupied while they're at the breast, to prevent them from pinching Mom or sticking their fingers into her nose! Playing with Mom's necklace is always a better option.

  22. What a lovely idea Rhonda...i think my teen would enjoy doing this...thanks for sharing your idea and beautiful finished product!

  23. That looks like the perfect necklace and bracelet for my mom. My littles love to play with her jewelry and this would be a really fun way to remove the worry about breaking them--if it happens, just retie or restring! I suspect that her students would enjoy it too.

  24. I hate the new blog format where you have to click to read each post. I only have an ipad and having to go back and forth makes it crash after a while.

  25. It looks lovely on you, colours go so well together.
    I inherited a tin of buttons from my mother, unfortunately after a year I did a declutter and decided I would never use them (I had my own small stash and am not a sewing / craft lady). So they went to the Salvos along with a huge box of knitting needles of all different types & her wool!!!! Now that I have become addicted to your blog for the last few months I am really sorry especially about the knitting needles as I remember my mother knitting constantly-- I cherish a video of her strolling in my SIL garden knitting & chatting. Inspired by your posts I am looking at the simple crafts that I could do to make this house a homely place. As I have been suffering from depression I also want to take up knitting as relaxation therapy -- I'll have to check the Op shops for needles.
    Thanks for your inspiration Rhonda.

  26. I love buttons and often when I go to Vinnies and see them for sale I think about buying them for a craft but unsure what craft! Now I know and what a lovely present this would make too! Thank you and I think the model, models beautifully!

  27. You look gorgeous Rhonda gives us all hope for redemption one of these days with our non eurovision looks at home, it being winter and polartec city here!

    do they feel heavy on? - the buttons ie, I wondered..

    thanks for the great community and inspiration on here, its kind of abstract, but it connects us as well.

    Lovely to read and get into the crafts now. I can see how the northern hemisphere must get into the craft making. all those long winter nights!

    have a great weekend

  28. That is a really neat idea and yours turned out so lovely! (and you are so funny too by the way!)

    We've got a cold spring rain today and so I think I am going to make one of these this evening while I relax indoors and drink tea!

  29. Hi Rhonda,

    I love the button necklace! I have my own assorted collection of buttons and I think I will try this.

    Sorry to read that Hanno is still in such pain. I hope that he will be on the mend soon.

    And finally...well, I am trying to get used to this format, but....the click to read is not my favorite format, and the gray on gray is harder to read. Truthfully, i think the most recent format was like that and harder to read. I have the view set to 150% right now, so it helps. Just not as homey as it was before. I was giving it some time before I commented, and this will be all I say. But, the content is just as wonderful. :o)

  30. Ha! I love your closing comment!

  31. Hello Rhonda

    I just love buttons and have heaps of them. I have them in a huge, wide pasta dish on a coffee table and when I feel stressed I just play with them. So relaxing! Sort them into piles, colours, shapes, sizes. Anything that makes you happy. Or just let them flow through your fingers. No good if you have small children at home or as visitors!! Many came from my Grndmothers Button Bottle.
    Love the post!
    Hope Hanno is on the mend soon.

  32. A great tutorial Rhonda! I have made jewellery from buttons before, but not threaded them like this. It looks great on you!

  33. Hi Rhonda
    Love the necklace, enjoy reading your blog daily. Best wishes from Jean

  34. love the model and her blog a lot



Thank you for your comment. They are an important part of my blog because they help build the community here. Please don't add links or email addresses to your comment. This is a family-friendly blog and I don't have the time to check all the links before I publish them.

These comments are moderated so yours won't appear until after I've read it.