Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Button Bracelet Tutorial

Once upon a time, I use to craft a lot. Then child number 2 arrived.

The End.

Okay, not entirely. But my crafting now is far and few between. I only really make something if I really like it, I am sure I can make it look professional, it's not too time consuming, and I can actually save money by making it. Too often I find that it would have been cheaper if I just purchased the item from someone who already has invested in the tools and has purchased the supplies in bulk at wholesale prices. (Plus, I often support a stay-at-home mom this way.)

So, I was at this flea market last year and I came across a gal selling some unusual buttons and vintage lace. And she was making the buttons into darling bracelets. Immediately, I was in love with these and had to give them a try!

I bought several cards of buttons and set them aside never to make them into jewelry. {Sigh... }

BUT, I finally got them out this week and whipped up these darlings. Now I wish I had done it last year and made more! I'm very pleased with how they turned out and it was a very quick project. My major purchase was the glue (at Michael's for under $7 if I remember correctly) and the buttons (price varies - could be free if you have some of your own!) with the bracelet blanks (around $2).

Bracelet Blanks

I actually made 3 of these and by the time I got to the third one, I had figured out a few tricks that made it much easier. Perhaps my trial and error will be of help to some of you who are looking to make some cute gifts for Christmas or a birthday.

Button Bracelet Tutorial

1 bracelet blank
1 tube of Glass, Metal, & More Glue
selection of buttons

Optional Supplies
wax paper
rubber gloves

Begin by covering your work area with wax paper or some other protective covering. This glue is potent and you'll want to work with it in a well ventilated area such as outdoors. Lay out your buttons like you want them to appear on your bracelet. I stacked mine for a layered effect.

If you're going to layer them, spread them out before beginning in an order that is easy to work with and so that you'll remember how you want them on the bracelet.

Squeeze out some glue onto your prepared surface so that you can work with it using the straw or similar item. It's much easier to place the glue onto the bracelet blank because if you do it directly on the back of the button, too much glue will hang over the edge on the underneath side and make a mess.

Do the same on the larger buttons. I found that the glue tends to be stringy, like hot glue. If you twist your straw and wipe off a bit of excess on the prepared surface, you can break it off and it's much cleaner. However, don't worry about this too much as most of this dries clear and can be rubbed off afterward.

I used the clean end of the straw to press the buttons down firmly; even with rubber gloves, it's easy to get the glue everywhere and eventually onto your buttons if you're not careful.

And don't hurry! You have about an hour or so before this glue even begins to set well enough to move the bracelet easily. As you can see in the photo below, I did not spend a lot of time centering the buttons until AFTER I had all three layers applied to the bracelet blank. THEN I went back and made sure everything was centered and how I liked it. (It takes 24 hours for a firm set.)

When you get to the smaller buttons, it's easier to start applying the glue directly to the back of the button. This is where tweezers are also a big help. One of my buttons was teeny tiny!

Set aside where the bracelets won't be disturbed for 24 hours. Then you're ready to wrap them up or wear them!

And I crafted button bracelets happily ever after!


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