Inspiration & Buttons

A while back I was lucky enough to find and purchase this fantastic lot of vintage metal buttons online, and it has been a source of inspiration and new projects ever since.

I immediately (as in, abandoned what I was doing when the package arrived) started smashing the crap outta them with a hammer to make solid metal discs that could be used for bases in a vague assemblage idea I had.

I played around combining them with a few things, and to be honest they looked good with every damn thing I tried, but mostly these languished in my assembly area as I continued with other projects. (So many other projects)

I did get some button necklaces done for one of my wholesale orders:

It suddenly occurred to me one day that I should have taken molds of some of the more interesting buttons before smashing them, so I could make beads. I dug through the box and took out likely candidates, then went back to my projects on the go until it was time for clay, at which point it didn’t take too long before I had a nice set of molds and was able to make a few handfuls of stunning beads:


These beads turned into necklaces, like so:

Right. So, along with the beads and the smashing, the buttons were sparking me left and right. I discovered some ancient Martha Stewart Jewelry Glaze that I’d bought on clearance one time and never found a use for, and these wee bottles are now among my prized possessions, because look:

So gorgeous. Next, I wondered how else I could colour the buttons, and out came my Inktense blocks (sorta like colored pencils but made of intense pigment ink)(and without wood), gave a button a bit of colour and sealed it in a way that turned it into some sort of faux enamel. There may be a tutorial in this one somewhere.

Next, one of the buttons turned into the perfect background for a polymer clay cab that ended up on a bracelet:

Which turned out so well that I started lamenting the fact that I was running out of larger buttons and wishing I had more… and suddenly, I realized I could make more – I just needed to take some molds! So, that’s what I did the next chance I got. Made silicone molds out of the handful of the larger buttons I had left, and started casting polymer clay. The results are so good I could cry.


Guh. So good. After the final colouring, I have honestly been losing track of which is real and which is clay. Just look at this texture!!

And then there’s this comparison of real vs fake:

Anyway, it’s going well is what I’m trying to say. The bracelets are ready to go, there are pendants in the works, and a good stack of steampunk bib necklaces on the bench:

And all of that from a box of buttons! Where else will this adventure take me, I wonder??

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