Buttons, Buttons

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?

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  1. Love the idea of using buttons as seals and stamps…and the button cards…and the button jewelry… who am I kidding, so much goodness here!
    Christie – Childhood 101´s latest post: Our Toddler Friendly Sewing Basket

  2. My grandma had a small jar full of buttons and my sister and I loved sorting through them and looking at all the different ones when we were kids.

  3. One of our most treasured belongings is the button jar we inherited from my Grandma. We love sorting them, playing with them, imagining what kind of clothing they might have come from and who in our family might have worn them … dreaming up new projects to use them and ways to wear them.

    thanks for this post, Rae! Made me smile today 🙂
    Kara @SimpleKids´s latest post: Little Acorn Learning September Afterschool Guide and Autumn Menu Giveaway

  4. Our favorite button craft is to make flowers with buttons and wire. Stack a few buttons, then loop wire through the button holes. Twist together a stem. Looks very cute in a spool “vase”.

  5. My kids’ daycare has a massive button collection. The little kids string them on pipe cleaners – much easier for little hands than string. The kids also get to occassionally choose a button and decide where they’d like it sewn onto their clothes. My son has sweatpants with buttons randomly sewn on the side, but he loves them because HE chose the buttons and the spots to put them.
    Alissa´s latest post: Hit Me With Your Best Shot

  6. I made a collage of buttons on a cardboard heart and glued a pin on the back for my mother one year. She still has it in here jewelry collection and wore it with motherly pride for several years:)
    Janna @ Mommy’s Piggy TALES – Record YOUR Youth´s latest post: God&8217s Hand in Our Lives Is Just a Story Away

  7. My grandma had an old red metal lunch box filled with buttons. It was my favorite thing! Stringing buttons is a great fine motor skill and makes adorable jewelry and buttons also make good math manipulatives!
    kim´s latest post: Lovely video message for new mums

  8. Melissa Sinistro says:

    I didn’t know buttons had a history before being used on clothing! I always learn something from the My Little Hen series. How fun as a hobby for kids and to trade the buttons.

  9. I love this blog. so much Buttony goodness! You should join a Button Society, almost every state has one! We buy,sell and trade Buttons with each other and every year we have huge Button shows! You can also start your own Button Club. The California State Button Society is celebrating it’s 71st year….join us on Facebook and find out what all the hub-bub is about!


  10. Great site. Did you ever see our buttons? Please look http://www.dressitup.com
    Would love to send you some Jesse


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