To me, one of the most versatile craft/sewing notions is the BUTTON. Not only are they practical, fun, and whimsical but beautiful to look at too, especially some of those vintage buttons. They are also a great item to use with children to rouse the creative juices and to introduce sewing interests. All ages enjoys dipping their fingers into a big pile of buttons!!
With very little ones and with the supervision of an adult, you can just string buttons onto a heavy twine or crochet cotton thread (size 3). Make squilly little snakes, catepillars or pretend your button string is a train, whatever the imagination dreams up. Your can introduce colors to little ones too, just by sorting your buttons into piles of red, green, blue, etc. Then replace them back into your container for the next time you have a button moment!!
Older children would enjoy making a sock puppet – simply take that old sock that has a hole in it or the one you never found its mate (probably eaten by the washing machine or dryer) and sew buttons onto the heel of the sock for eyes and a nose. Felt could be used for a tongue, lips, ears or big circles sewn under the button eyes, then eyelashes could be added. Just have fun!!
Buttons can be used to decorate the front of a tee shirt – trace a heart shape onto the tee shirt, then sew buttons onto your tracing line to make a button heart. Be creative, use different colored thread for each button. No need to match colors of buttons to thread colors. Another idea would be to use DMC floss as your thread. Placing button on your tee shirt, sew the thread from the right side to your shirt and back through to the right side, then tie the button with a square knot and leave about 1/2″ tail after making the knot to give another dimension to the look.
HOW TO MAKE A SQUARE KNOT: take your two threads, one in the left hand and one in the right hand. Tie the right thread over the left and pull tight, then tie the left thread over the right and pull tight. Makes for a very secure knot. A quick way to remember how to make a square knot is the saying: right over left and left over right.
The ideas are limitless:
- Sew buttons to the edges of your jean pockets
- Decorate the bottom of your jeans with different colors and sizes of buttons
- Take a shirt and sew a flower design onto the pocket
- Add them to a cuff of a shirt and have a build-in bracelet look
- Or sew them to the neckline of a tee shirt
- Use with construction paper and sew or glue them to make a picture of funny animals or a mosaic design
- Check out Artists Helping Children arts&crafts
Just keep a large jar readily available and fill it with buttons that have been removed from a shirt, coat or blazer. You can purchase bags of inexpensive buttons at a very reasonable cost and dump them into your button jar for those rainy day craft moments. Ask grandma or grandpa for any old buttons that they might have to add to your colorful collection. Don’t forget to check out clothing at a garage sale for that really unique button too. Buttons are just the best!!!