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There’s no way around it, buttons are magical. They are both commonplace and remarkable, functional and decorative. Did you know that, even though buttons appear as far back as 2000 BC, the buttonhole did not appear until the thirteenth century? Before that, they were solely for show. They’ve been made of wood and metal, plastic and bone, rubber and mother of pearl.

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And I love each and every one of them! From vintage to modern, outrageous to simple, button collecting has become one of my favorite creative addictions. Sorting through bins of buttons at a flea market, and discovering the ones that I cannot live without, is truly one of my greatest sources of inspiration. So much so that, a few years ago, I decided to share my button passion via a book, Button Ware. In it we provided over thirty different projects that transformed buttons into all manners of jewelry–bracelets, necklaces, pendants and more. One of those projects I’d like to share with you today – making button rings. They are wonderful accessories…and so incredibly easy to make.

Rather than drawing diagrams for something this simple, I’ve produced a short, simple video on the making of button rings. Head over to the “Learning” section here and take a look.

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Two things to remember when you start this project. First, finding the right mix of buttons is key. Mix and match vintage with new, patterned with solids. As I mentioned before, you can always find buttons at flea markets, in your grandmother’s attic and the like.

Lastly, if you’re looking for a creative boost to get started, you can always start with our Button Ware book and use buttons from our partner, JHB. For years, JHB has been making some of the most creative and stylish buttons you will find anywhere. While they only sell to wholesale accounts on their Web site, they do provide a link to retailers that carry their buttons. You can see that list here.

Making button jewelry is a wonderfully simple way to both recycle vintage goods into something stylish and engage your creativity. Once you get started, I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other over a bin of buttons one of these days.

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For my BurdaStyle readers only, I’m giving away a copy of my book, Button Ware. Tell me about some of the more remarkable one’s you’ve found…or about your favorite one…or about something you’ve made using vintage or unique buttons…and you could be the winner of the book. Please leave your comments by 9:30 am EST on Wednesday, February 23rd to be eligible to win!

Amy Barickman is the founder and owner of Indygo Junction, The Vintage Workshop and AmyBarckman.com. She is a leader in the sewing, needle arts and retail crafting industry having sold more than two-million sewing patterns and published 80 books sold throughout the world. Her recent endeavor is the book “Amy Barickman’s Vintage Notions: An Inspirational Guide to Needlework, Cooking, Sewing, Fashion and Fun”, is already on its third printing since its release in September of 2010. Other best-selling titles include: “Indygo Junction’s Button Ware” and, most recently, “Hankie Style”.

124 Comments

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    Mar 22, 2011, 08.52 PMby ldlakip

    I love to add vintage buttons ready made special clothing like coats sweaters etc. I also have done beading with them where you bead around the button to make a pin or a shawl closure. I have made earrings and bracelets and covered large mirror frames. I have a huge collection that belonged to my Aunt who was sick as a child and only lived to be 12. People from all over the world sent her buttons and most are from the 30-40s. I always played with them as a child and they were given to me.

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    Feb 27, 2011, 04.38 PMby Sereen

    Awesome idea. I will be trying this.

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    Feb 25, 2011, 04.54 PMby gabbiezee

    I LOVE buttons and find endless uses them, these ideas are awesome.

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    Feb 25, 2011, 09.25 AMby monsterzz

    These button rings are a great idea! I love using decorative buttons…matching button rings with buttons on an outfit is going to be great fun!

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    Feb 24, 2011, 10.57 AMby mgreeske

    Very cute idea! I’ve got so many buttons and now they have an other job to do!! I’m very impressed.

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    Feb 23, 2011, 11.44 PMby somethingcute

    When I was learning to sew, my mom would let me pick buttons from this huge tin…I’d spend hours sorting through them, trying to find just what I wanted….often times ending up with many that didn’t quite match! It was fun, if sometimes frustrating. I was told most of them where factory rejects bought in a huge sack by my grandmother, which is why they where so randomly assorted.

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    Feb 23, 2011, 07.56 PMby karensarickfan

    Love these rings & the bracelet on the book’s cover! I have been saving buttons from both sides of the family for years! I feel so inspired now!

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    Feb 23, 2011, 04.27 PMby uglybeat

    I looove vintage buttons. I have a bag of 50’s/60’s buttons and am constantly dreaming of cute dresses to sew up so I can use the buttons! j9s@flash.net

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    Feb 23, 2011, 03.50 PMby auntsusu

    I love button rings! So simple and such a beautiful accessory!

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    Feb 23, 2011, 02.40 PMby brownbuttons

    Loved this, I use buttons for jewelry all the time, will add this technique to my design file.

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    Feb 23, 2011, 02.36 PMby bttn

    My favourite buttons are from from an old pants, they are metal with tiny flowers on.

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    Feb 23, 2011, 01.35 PMby libra-s

    My favorite buttons are made from glazed clay.

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    Feb 23, 2011, 01.35 PMby libra-s

    My favorite buttons are made from glazed clay.

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    Feb 23, 2011, 12.29 PMby photodoll

    I go to garage sales looking for the jars of buttons…I love the old pearl looking buttons for blouses…They look so soft elegant with the old pearl looking buttons….The jars buttons also help when the kids and now grandkids need to learn math and now when they are old enough to start sewing they make great projects for them …..love the buttons….

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    Feb 23, 2011, 11.56 AMby efgh

    I love buttons but i’ve never used them for anything other than closures or decoration on garments. I love looking at button collections though. Lots of interesting shapes and colours.

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    Feb 23, 2011, 10.10 AMby lotty

    This is such a fabulous idea I’ve sent it in email to all my neices. Its now in Hawaii, Spain, Scotland, Manchester, Chester, Basingstoke and Oxford England. ThanQ for the inspiration. BurdaStyle does it again. Much love/aloha x

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    Feb 23, 2011, 07.50 AMby vinivivi

    it is something new for me but i will definitely try! :)

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    Feb 23, 2011, 07.22 AMby samakoo

    So nice to share the same passion!

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    Feb 23, 2011, 06.51 AMby lebaron

    I have my grandma’s old button collection and I love to just take them out and look at them. I have added some to random projects however I am way to attached to my favorites to use them! Maybe a ring and some similar projects will get them out and getting the love they deserve!

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    Feb 23, 2011, 05.57 AMby madebymarcia

    My kids love spending time at my studio and playing with buttons. The image has served me well as inspiration for designing unique pieces of clothing several times.

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    Feb 23, 2011, 05.21 AMby rusty04

    I use to have this really cool thick wool cardigan with these buttons that looked like something from an Eastern Block country. There was some type of a bird (of prey I would guess) with ornate decorating all around it. The buttons were metal and when the cardigan eventually wore out I stripped all the buttons off and still have them to this day.

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    Feb 23, 2011, 03.59 AMby irenesuarez

    I have only ever made one. It was a huge black 4 holes button which I sew and glued to an ugly ring. It turn nice but not as elaborate as yours! they are great!

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    Feb 23, 2011, 03.29 AMby lisamarie

    A friend made a bracelet for me using 2" wide elastic and a handful of buttons that she sewed to the elastic, covering it completely. I love it. This ring is the perfect accompaniment for it.

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    Feb 23, 2011, 03.18 AMby mermgirl

    Fantastic finding this post. I now have a reason to go through my jar of buttons.

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    Feb 23, 2011, 03.10 AMby willowtower

    I love buttons! I’m always looking for them at antique shops and flea markets. My favorite is a triange shaped floral button in a light seaform green color. It went perfectly on an ‘A-Door-Able’ by Lazy Girl Designs. I say went, because on our last move, I guess the movers didn’t wrap it good enough and it broke! That’s why I keep looking.

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    Feb 23, 2011, 03.01 AMby SueSew11

    My friend Barbara used buttons from my daughters’ little girl outfits to decorate a cute egg-shaped pin she made for me. My favorite button on the pin is a little bunny that came off of a little shift dress I made for one of my girls. I love telling people about my buttons when wearing the pin.

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    Feb 23, 2011, 02.53 AMby queeniehollow

    This looks like a really great book to own….I have so many buttons and so does my best friend thought it would be worth a look see! And a try!

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    Feb 23, 2011, 02.38 AMby gothylipinski

    I’ve been incorporating vintage buttons into jewelry I make (mostly necklaces) for a couple of years now. I especially love the glass ones or buttons with quirky motifs. I can definitely sift through vintage buttons for hours. Some might even say I have a button problem. ;o)

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    Feb 23, 2011, 02.32 AMby slj1224

    Love this- so easy and cute- something I can do with my girls club at church. We have a couple of boxes filled with buttons that we don’t know what to do with! this would be a great project for us.

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    Feb 23, 2011, 01.37 AMby pgf

    I like to crochet a band and add one large and several tiny buttons together..so much fun.

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