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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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    Feb 22, 2011, 05.25 PMby Hannah Pelletier

    I love looking at buttons at auctions, my favorite right now is white with little blue flowers :-) hanibee8@hotmail.com

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    Feb 22, 2011, 04.14 AMby karenadd

    I have buttons from my grandmother, mother and mother-in law. I mostly use them on clothing. My favorite button item is a pin my daughter made me when she was in first grade.

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    Feb 21, 2011, 07.39 PMby rkc1

    My daughter made me an apron monogramed with my initial worked in an assortment gold and pearly buttons. It is fabulous.

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    Feb 21, 2011, 05.40 PMby logank1015

    I LOVE using buttons for all sorts of projects. I recently took some colorful buttons from my collection and sewed them to a black sweater and added an applique. It looked awesome! I was so excited that the boring sweater could be turned into something that I would be excited about wearing! I would love having your book.

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    Feb 21, 2011, 05.25 PMby marlagrace

    i love putting old buttons on a new piece of clothing (after taking off the new buttons!)

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    Feb 21, 2011, 04.43 PMby katy-lady

    I melt in the presence of fabulous buttons. It’s sometimes a curse and it lead me to spend $80 on a lot of gorgeous vintage buttons! I love this post and I’ll be making tons of new rings with all my buttons now :)

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    Feb 21, 2011, 04.41 PMby msnew007

    I replace buttons on jeans and button up shirts with vintage buttons. I also use vintage buttons on headbands as a final touch! I would love to win this book and find more inspirational ideas!

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    Feb 21, 2011, 04.04 PMby angelical

    I love buttons! small buttons, large buttons, in bright colors and in greys and blacks. I do not have a big and fancy button stash, but I love going through my grandmothers button stash when I visit her. I love using buttons on headbands, clutches and other accessories! They can make any outfit personal and fun! I recently discovered fabric-covered buttons and I am in love!

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    Feb 21, 2011, 07.08 AMby fbk1977

    i received a wonderful gift from my mother-in-law… several tins chock full of old buttons. it was her aunt’s collection and it’s full of bakelite, glass, wood, and brass. i have made some beautiful things from those buttons, and will for years to come. thanks for the additional inspiration!

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    Feb 21, 2011, 04.41 AMby Kelly LeVasseur

    Ooohh! I love buttons!!! I used them to decorate our homemade Christmas stockings and Christmas cards this past year. Jewelry is too cute though, I will have to try that!

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    Feb 21, 2011, 02.01 AMby gabbix

    I went to visit my mom this weekend and I asked her for my grammas button tin. We had the greatest time playing with buttons and we made 11 rings! We sure miss her but now we feel she would be so happy to see how them turned out! Thanks for sharing such a lovely idea! Love from Argentina

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    Feb 20, 2011, 09.32 PMby galatina

    When I was a child I loved playing in my granny’s old tin button box & I’m trying to get my current button stash up to that level – I just find it hard to use them & give them away. A favourite – impossible!

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    Feb 20, 2011, 08.09 PMby mahaila

    I love visiting and searching markets when I go on holiday to new places. I make earrings. I make garments centred around the vintage buttons (I particularly love the vintage glass buttons). I also use buttons when making cards. I just love! vintage buttons!

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    Feb 20, 2011, 05.38 PMby SewinPretty

    I just love buttons; i have this gourgeous vintage wood one my grandmother gave me, and just a small little collection i plan on using..

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    Feb 19, 2011, 07.43 PMby mays

    ive made rings out of some old buttons too! i just glue it to ring bases…but the idea of using an elastic band is great! i must try it

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    Feb 19, 2011, 12.49 PMby Rhonda Alston Laws

    I use buttons to embellish my quilts…they can be flowers, eyes, holes, teeth, and many more things but for some reason right now I am drawing a blank.

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    Feb 19, 2011, 07.19 AMby Suellen Tomkins

    Collecting vintage buttons is a new found hobby of mine after my mother gave me her collection. My favourite ones are a 1920’s set of large orange buttons with painted peacocks on floral branches

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    Feb 19, 2011, 07.04 AMby 5294sandras

    When I make bags I like to use unique buttons. I also cover buttons to match my tops. The last project I made was a ribbon keychain for my son. I used his schooI colors, reinforced the ends and added a buttonhole/button for the closer.

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    Feb 19, 2011, 02.53 AMby sarsaparilla

    I have the buttons from my great-grandfather’s army uniform – they are quite special to me, and I’m always amazed at how well-made they are! My great-grandmother gave me several boxes of buttons, and I just love sifting through them.

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    Feb 19, 2011, 12.48 AMby bluewillow

    I love collecting buttons, especially vintage and interesting ones, and finding ways to use them. I have put them on vintage-style aprons, cardigans, jean bags, yo-yos and lots of projects. They are the finishing touch.

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    Feb 18, 2011, 10.35 PMby Crystal Henson

    I love buttons, but find I have so many that it’s hard to figure out how to sort them.

    I’ll also save/buy a piece of clothing JUST for the buttons. Even if I don’t like that coat I can take the buttons off it to reuse them (and probably the cloth) later on.

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    Feb 18, 2011, 09.42 PMby aprilenchanted

    WOW! I recently started making my own buttons from Sculpey and carving them with a dremel tool. But, button rings? So pretty! I’ve got an entire jewelry box filled with old clip on earrings and small brooches that would be perfect for this. Lovely! Can’t wait to play!

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    Feb 18, 2011, 08.46 PMby crazydavises

    I have a small box of ornately carved buttons that look like they’re made from bone. (Maybe ivory?). I’m almost scared to use them — they’re so intricate and fragile-looking.

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    Feb 18, 2011, 08.05 PMby latulipenoire

    My grandmother gave me the leather jacket that she wore when she rode HER motorcycle in the 1950s. It was missing one gold button with a key on it. I found one just like it on etsy the same day that I first rode my own motorcycle!

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    Feb 18, 2011, 05.26 PMby Valerie Maynard

    When I was little my favorite thing to do at the fabric store was to stare at the wall of buttons, especially the plastic shaped one, I still have a bunch that I bought with my allowance when I was 9

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    Feb 18, 2011, 05.13 PMby mbrunko

    I love using fun and unique buttons along with felt and ribbon to make little hair clips for my daughter!

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    Feb 18, 2011, 04.53 PMby alicelidell

    my grandfather used to be a tailor. he had this jar full of buttons and as a kid I loved playing with them. when I grew up I realized that buttons for me were really important: finding one on the sidewalk was a great treasure for me, but I really couldn’t figure out why. and then I remembered that jar. and it all made sense. As much as I love buying them, I love finding them. And thinking where it was, and who was its owner. I almost lost my head once, trying to get one on the subway. Everytime I remember that, I think I’m crazy, and that I’m so irresponsible. But then again… I don’t know why I can’t help it… One of my treasures is my button necklace. It has a lot of buttons that came to me in different moments of my life. It’s like a little book with all these things that happened to me.

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    Feb 18, 2011, 04.37 PMby xeniasews

    I love buttons. I have some gorgeous buttons from my great grandmother. When I make the right blouse or jacket for them I will turn them into cufflinks so I can take them out when I wash the garment or switch with other garments. This means two sets of button holes on each side of my garment. But protecting the buttons is worth it. I have seen beautiful necklaces made using strings of crocheted beads. I think this would be a great use of mixed varieties of antique or other lovely buttons. The crocheted chains could be a neutral or a variety of colors.

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    Feb 18, 2011, 04.11 PMby emzy

    I received a package a couple of months ago from a wonderful friend in Scotland who knows me so well. In it, wrapped carefully in scraps of tartan were three handmade ceramic buttons with bight colorful stripes and polka dots in red, blue, green, yellow, orange, they are amazing. I can’t imagine I’ll ever use them in a project as they are very special and I like to unwrap the tartan scraps every now and again to see glimpses of these fabulous buttons.

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    Feb 18, 2011, 04.04 PMby PeaceLoveTrees

    I absolutely LOVE buttons. When I moved across the country and had to leave most of my supplies behind- I made sure all of my buttons came with me. I once used different colors of vintage buttons in a painting to create the leaves on the tree. It was fun and easy and the end result was a really unique piece of art!

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