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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

  • Dscn1021_large

    Feb 18, 2011, 03.57 PMby mprevitali

    I made a brooch for my hunt last year whit a very nice button. It was la little button made like a mosaic.

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    Feb 18, 2011, 03.24 PMby ahliah

    Yayyyy for buttons! Been a fan for years with Gramma’s button tin.

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    Feb 18, 2011, 01.15 PMby gevehikujja

    i love buttons. and once i made a button necklace for a competition and it was in best 3. yay!

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    Feb 18, 2011, 06.40 AMby psychorat

    My grandma had a box of nacre- buttons. Very old and everyone of them looked different. So beautyful. I used them for a neclace.

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    Feb 18, 2011, 05.59 AMby Micah G

    one of the buttons that i found wonderful are: a vintage semi-round wooden button, a capiz shell button, and; recently, i found a cookie-shaped button. Looks yummy and adorable for children’s clothes. :)

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    Feb 18, 2011, 03.57 AMby autobotden

    One of the few things I have left from all of the things that my grandmother left behind when she passed away is a Dixie Mix tin that is filled to almost overflowing with buttons. There are probably a good hundred or more buttons of different varieties in the tin, and over the years, i’ve chosen buttons for projects from it, and picked out favorite buttons, always thinking about what they might’ve been purchased for, or what type of outfit they came from. When I move out of my parents’ house, I am going to take the button tin with me, so I can keep a part of my grandma with me even when I’m far from where I grew up.

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    Feb 18, 2011, 03.14 AMby elaineren

    I have sweet memories of sorting my grandma’s buttons. I love to use buttons for eyes when I applique.

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    Feb 18, 2011, 01.45 AMby natclem

    I once saw this remarkable butterfly button in a boutique yarn shop. It was about 3 inches wide, green and painted with an enamel finish that looked like it was straight from the 1920s. I would have purchased it, but it was nearly $60. I still think about it sometimes.

  • Missing

    Feb 18, 2011, 01.44 AMby miktha

    I never thought that buttons can be that beautiful and unique! After read this blog.. i can’t stop thinking of buttons..!

  • Missing

    Feb 17, 2011, 11.13 PMby Jessica Clarke

    fantastic! simple, quick and beautiful. will definately be trying this out – a cute and cost effective gift idea!

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    Feb 17, 2011, 08.49 PMby runningwithscissors1

    Maybe I should say that my kids love buttons! I do love them too, but I got a bag of random buttons in my Christmas stocking two years ago and they took it over. There were button strings all over the house and buttons glued on all sorts of artwork! (they are too young to sew them yet). I myself managed to find a random medium blue etched button at the bargain fabric store in town last year. I love it! It sits in my sewing kit until I can figure out what to do with it. The ring idea sounds intriguing. It certainly would allow better use of the button that hidden in my sewing kit!

  • Flowers_in_a_vase_large

    Feb 17, 2011, 06.52 PMby Ramona Bates

    Wow! I love buttons. This is great.

  • Me90p_large

    Feb 17, 2011, 06.36 PMby Jennifer Scheidt

    These are adorable. My girls have been button obsessed and I haven’t been savvy to do anything other than sew them onto clothes. Winning would make three gals happy. The two that love buttons, and a momma who watches as a button empire is born.

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    Feb 17, 2011, 06.01 PMby wzrdreams

    Sadly, I havent made anything super fun or fancy out of buttons. My button stash is small (building it from scratch) and there are very few rare gems so far. That said, I love browsing the buttons available in the garment district and I tend to buy the fancy (& pricey!) buttons for my sewing projects when I can find them.

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    Feb 17, 2011, 05.47 PMby lavenderlady

    I love buttons too! I have a collection that were my grandmothers. We have a local shop that carries fantastic buttons, new and vintage. My last project was a picture frame that I embellished with buttons and lace. The book looks fantastic, I would love to win.

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    Feb 17, 2011, 04.49 PMby FabricUiPhoneApp

    I’ve layered buttons and it works well on heavier garments and hats in particular. But I might have to check out the book for ideas!

  • Me_large

    Feb 17, 2011, 03.40 PMby jessdunstan

    Buttons are fantastic! I love the button earrings I have but I am in love with the clutch bag I am making out of buttons at the moment

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    Feb 17, 2011, 02.59 PMby shkoober

    For a long time I unconsciously collected buttons. It wasn’t until I started sewing a little over a year ago I realized my addiction to them. I love, love, love buttons. I am truly attracted to natural material buttons like wood and shell, but my favorite buttons are metal with crests on them. After being given a mason jar of buttons from a co-worker, I found a metal fish button. It’s my favorite, and am torn with which project I will use it for.

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    Feb 17, 2011, 02.09 PMby dinoprincesschar

    oh buttons are so versatile, i love to make jewellery with them!

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    Feb 17, 2011, 02.07 PMby simonewarrior

    I love buttons! I have several boxes of now vintage buttons that have been passed through 3 generations. Truly remarkable you can see the evolution of fashion I. These buttons not just form the style and color but also by the material that they are made from. As much as I hate to part with some of them I recently made some feathered fascinators and used my buttons to embellish them by making them into mock flowers. I did this by taking more than one button and gluing them in a flower pattern ( I wish I could upload the picture cause it came out gorgeous!). I would really enjoying seeing new and different ideas in ‘Button Ware’. Who says you can’t be practical and fashionable? Buttons are like the icing on a cake, nessasary and delicious!

  • Orp_1769_large

    Feb 17, 2011, 12.13 PMby loyl8

    i always love buttons from vintage stores and vintage clothes

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    Feb 17, 2011, 10.53 AMby littlemisssew

    When I was a kid I used to make myself bracelets with buttons.My mom had all this button stored in cans and jars and she never knew what to do with them. So we would make barbie earings,I’d make bracelets for myself,sew them on bags for decorational pieces. I think the funnest ones I remember were shaped like little bows and tiny fishes. I had those fishes attached to my hair ribbon,and would wear them so proudly^^ UUuh,lovely memories :)

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    Feb 17, 2011, 10.29 AMby kkhb

    I once found a plastic bag someone was throwing out full of a variety of buttons ! – and I have made a button ring! I still get complements on it.

    I only received this e-mail half an hour ago – after the deadline!

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    Feb 17, 2011, 04.55 AMby makurochan

    i made some really cute fingerless crochet mits that buttoned all the way up the side and used a big jumble of all different vintage metal buttons on them. super cute!

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    Feb 17, 2011, 12.02 AMby misschristiana

    I like to use colorful buttons to embellish just about EVERYTHING I make! Purses, scarves, journals, coffee sleeves, you name it!

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    Feb 17, 2011, 12.02 AMby corvus

    I’ve been known to make my own buttons using polymer clay, and as self-centered as it may sound, they tend to be my favorites in my button collection.

  • Missing

    Feb 16, 2011, 11.47 PMby megan182

    I have a small collection of buttons from my aunt. I’ve used them as accents on small projects. I liked the idea to exchange out buttons on clothing, I will need to go searching for cool buttons!

  • Vintage_lady_resize_large

    Feb 16, 2011, 09.18 PMby vintagegal

    I was really, really lucky to have been given an amazing collection of vintage buttons. I have used some of them, but some are so rare and spectacular, I feel like I need a special project to show them off. One of my very favorites is a larg carved ivory type, with an image of a greyhound, or maybe a whippet. I have definitely been thinking about using them to make jewelry, so I am looking forward to seeing your book!

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    Feb 16, 2011, 08.48 PMby fashionista2407

    Ooh! this is a great blog! I have too many buttons and never really know what to do with them. I always pick up random lost buttons on the street & throw em into my button bag!! love to see this book

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