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Using Buttons in Papercraft

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 26 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Button Buttons Paper Craft Crafting

The humble button is typically associated with sewing and other needlework crafts, but it’s become a great addition to many papercraft projects too. If you want to add extra dimension, interest and texture to your projects, here are some ideas of how to use buttons effectively.

Buttons come in all shapes, sizes, colours, designs and textures. There are old and vintage buttons, brand new shiny buttons, novelty and fancy buttons, buttons made of varying materials and with different textures, big buttons and small buttons. In fact, there’s a minefield of opportunities out there for creative crafters willing to consider the potential of buttons.

Having a simple button, or a collection of many, on your projects helps provide another area of interest. Something that would otherwise just be flat is gjven a new dimension, and buttons made of different fabrics, plastic, wood or shell aid texture.

The trend of using buttons in papercrafting projects tends to stem from America, and they are now widely manufactured and sold as a papercrafting element. But you don’t necessarily have to buy buttons specifically for the purpose, as almost any button, old or new, will do.

Buttons can be used on all sorts of papercrafting projects. For example, they’re great used on scrapbook pages, on handmade mini books and journals, on handmade cards, handmade bookmarks, in altered art projects or on home décor items. They can be used randomly to add a splash of colour, or fit in with the colour scheme of your project, or they can be used to create patterns, shapes or designs.

Round buttons, for example, make an ideal flower centre, or could be used to represent a letter O when you’re spelling out words or names. In fact, they can be used as much as your creativity allows!

Finding Buttons

If you’re after a specific colour or size of buttons for use in a particular project, then the best option may be to buy the buttons you require. However, if you don’t have an exact button type in mind, there are other ways of finding something suitable. Sometimes just having a fancy button generates a spark of an idea for a whole crafting project.

Some places you may find buttons include:

  • You may have odd buttons lurking around the house, as spare buttons are often provided when you buy clothing. Collect up the spares so you can delve into the pot when you need inspiration.
  • Look out for old or vintage buttons being sold at markets or fairs.
  • Odd buttons are often sold at charity shops and you can find something interesting.
  • Mixed packs of multicoloured or textured buttons can be found in sewing and craft shops.
  • If you’re getting rid of any old clothing, you could remove the buttons first!
  • All sorts of old buttons can be found if you search through the listings of online auctions, or in traditional auctions.

Securing Buttons Onto Your Projects

There are a variety of ways in which buttons can be safely secured onto your papercraft projects. If the buttons you’re using have one, two, three or four holes on the top – as traditional buttons do – you can always use them in the way they’re designed to be used and sew them on to your work. Sewing in this way does work with papercrafting and can make a piece look unusual.

You will, ideally, need a thin needle though and be careful as you thread it through. The use of any form of stitching in papercrafting is quite a big trend at the moment, with many companies selling papers, rubs-ons and embellishments that look like they’ve been sewn together.

Alternatively, if you’d like it to look like it was sewn on, but don’t want the hassle of stitching, you could always thread through a small piece of cotton into the holes, then tie them at the back. The button can then be stuck onto your work instead. All sorts of types of glue will work with buttons, although it does depend in part on what the individual item is made of. As a rough guide, sticky dots, glue sticks, 3d foam, silicone glue and a good all purpose glue will all work with buttons.

Relatively flat buttons work best with the sewing on or gluing methods, but if you have any that need to be secured via a small loop at the back, they can be used too. For example, you could secure them by using headpins (as traditionally used in jewellery making) or by threading them onto a piece of wire or thread and hanging them across your scrapbook page.

Buttons can bring projects to life and are great fun to use, so why not getting hunting for some suitable buttons and have a go with your papercrafting projects?

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