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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Upcycle button card - tutorial

What a great way to present someone with a collection of pretty buttons!
What a great way to present someone with a collection of pretty buttons!

You can also make the buttons part of an image, as in this flower garden design.   

If you want to give a small gift to a crafter, try this card project. Vintage buttons are attached to the card with pipe cleaners, so the recipient can easily take them off for use in another crafty project.

What you'll need:
  • One or two blank cards
  • Chalk
  • Coordinating decorative paper
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Assortment of shank buttons
  • A pipe cleaner stem that matches your card
  • X-Acto knife
  • Self-healing cutting board
  • Wire cutters
  • Craft glue (optional)
  • Assorted ribbon or rickrack (optional)
The buttons can match, like these leather ones, or be a mix of different colors and styles. A note on buttons: This project is designed for shank buttons. But if you have some cool sew-through buttons, you could always sew them to a card by adapting the techniques in my embroidered card tutorial.

. . . And a note on the cardstock: Because buttons can be heavy, you need to use a very heavyweight cardstock for this project. I like 80-lb. stock or heavier. If you have blank cards that are lighter weight, just glue two of them together using a glue stick.

Let's Begin...

First, decide how you'd like the buttons arrayed on the card.

Place an assortment of buttons on the card and move them around until you have a configuration you like. Set the buttons aside in this configuration, or take a digital picture so you don't forget the arrangement.

Cut a hole where you want the center of the button to be.

Decorate the card as you like by gluing on decorative papers using a glue stick. You can have the buttons be the decorative main event, or they can be part of a design, as in my flower card above. The buttons provide a lot of visual complexity, so I tend to keep my card designs simple.

Now it's time to make some tiny holes in the card, so the shanks of those buttons can pass through. I'm using a low-fi approach here by cutting them with an X-Acto knife. Depending on the design of your card, you may be able to use a standard hole punch or an eyelet punch instead.

Anyway, make a small hole where you want the center of each button to be. (And when I cut them with the X-Acto, I cut rectangular holes because it's easier than cutting round ones.)

When you poke the button shank through the card, you should be able to see through the hole.

Adjust the sizes of the holes to accommodate the different sizes of button shanks.

Test each button as you make a hole for it—every button is made a little differently, and the shanks are different sizes. You may need to adjust some of those holes a little with the X-Acto knife. The hole should be just large enough that the entire shank can pass through it, and you can see through the hole in the shank.

Feed the pipe cleaner through the button shank.

Once you know all the button shanks will fit the holes in the card, then it's time to attach them. Poke the shank of a button through a hole. Then, on the back of the card, feed a piece of pipe cleaner through the hole in the button shank so that it pokes about 1/4 inch through.

Trim the pipe cleaner to about 1/2 inch.

Trim the other end of the pipe cleaner to about 1/4 inch beyond the shank with wire cutters. (A tip: I find it much easier to feed the long piece of pipe cleaner through the button and then trim it short. It's fairly fiddly to work with precut pieces of pipe cleaner.)

Repeat this process with the remaining buttons.

Decorate the card with ribbon or rickrack.

If you like, you can also embellish the card by gluing on some ribbon or rickrack.

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