The following is by Crafts contributor Rae Grant.
We all know our kids are really part chipmunk up until a certain age, so why not tap into that tendency to collect and create an heirloom button collection?
Buttons are some of the cutest DIY craft items a family can have around. When you get your kids involved with buttons, they will find that sewing it to a piece of fabric isn’t the only way to use these handy, colorful objects. Buttons can also be used for a number of craft projects outside their current purpose, which is to latch up a buttonhole.
Buttons are as old as modern civilization and were first used as seals, stamps, and ornaments long before they took their place with the buttonhole. So, pull out the clay and start stamping some fascinating patterns.
Let your kids start their very own collection, something they can create and keep during their childhood. Most families have a few buttons around, and of course, the craftiest of families probably have buckets around. Buttons are easy to find and easy to store.
Here are a few tips for getting your kids (and maybe yourself) into buttons:
Thrift and Collect
• Thrifting for buttons: We love to go to flea markets, thrift stores, and garage sales looking for small treasures. This is a great event to do on a weekend. Grandparents and seniors may also be able to make a contribution to the collection.
• Make button containers: Reuse lidded jelly jars, small candy boxes, or tea tins to store the button collection in. Kids like to sort by shapes, colors, and styles. Make it a project on rainy day when everyone is stuck inside. Find a special shelf for the button collection, one that is easy to look at, yet can be neatly and safely stored away. We used our large flat sea shells from the summer trips to the ocean to display and sort our collection. (They look nice on the dining room table.)
• Trading: Just like collecting marbles, buttons can be traded and collected between friends, siblings, and schoolmates.
• Make simple jewelry: Instead of buying pre-packaged beads try using buttons. Pins, bracelets, garlands all make unique DIY jewelry for kids. There are tons of resources available on- line and in books.
• Embellish a button card by gluing buttons into the shape of a heart or an autumn leaf. Have your child write their name on card stock or a nice piece of cardboard and outline the shape with buttons.
• Play the game “button, button” for your next birthday party, or as a rainy day activity with friends.
• Lastly, when they are old enough, teach your kids how to sew a button onto fabric. The simple act of threading a needle can lead kids to a to a lifelong enjoyment of working with their hands. Like learning to use a knife, (a butter knife for the little ones), a needle and thread presents a big challenge to the youngest crafter and a practical new technique for the older kids to have and to hold.
Do you have a family button collection yet? Is it new or a hand-me-down?