Cute as a Button: DIY Earring Tutorial

I made a trip up to Evanston yesterday and took a stroll down Main Street. I love the feel of the blocks with the narrow street and local mom and pop shops. I peeked into Dave’s Rock Shop and perused the ancient fossil collections and bought a box of fragmented pyrite. I also swung through Healthy Green Goods to scope out their new shop layout. But the real mission of my journey lay just ahead – Vogue Fabrics.

Whenever I visit Vogue I know I’m in for a long stay. I have to block out at least three hours of time for each excursion. My goal that day was to find elastic for new spring headbands – but I quickly found myself distracted by their wall of designer and vintage buttons and instantly planned my Saturday project: new button earrings!!!!

Buttons themselves have an interesting history. Ornamental versions have been found dating back as far as 2800 BC. The first practical use buttons were created in Germany in the 13th century. Buttons today continue to be used in both capacities and many are still handmade by gifted artisans out of natural and synthetic materials.

Making earrings out of buttons is a practice I’ve been addicted to for years. Feeling the itch for some new accessories I spent a good hour at Vogue perusing each box to find the perfect pairs. This morning I could hardly wait to pull them out for transformation. And the results were wondrous!

So next time you’ve happened upon a pair of buttons that are calling your name, follow these quick three steps for instant ear candy!

1) Hunt down a pair of bright or interestingly textured buttons. These can be found in thrift shops, vintage malls, antique sales or at specialty fabric stores. I love anything with a bold saturated color or uneven texture. Plastic, wood, glass, metal – I’ve worked with them all and can attest that they all work well. In terms of type – I prefer to work with the shank variety. I’ve done a few that were sew-through – but I find the shanked kind more subtle.

2) Make preparations. If the button pair you’ve chosen is shanked, take some toe nail clippers or shears and snap off the backs. Try to get as close to the base as possible. Be careful when cutting glass shanks as the shards fly! If you’re using a pair of sew-through buttons, grab some embroidery floss that will compliment your chosen buttons and tie it through.

3) Attach posts. There are several different ways you can go about attaching your posts. My favorite: hot glue. I find the jewelry and fabric glues aren’t quite strong enough so I opt for the heated variety. I find that if you are unable to remove the full shank the hot glue acts as a good filler as well. So squeeze on an amount that will be enough to afffix your earring post – but not so much that it leaks off the sides. Give it a minute or two to dry and you’re done!

10 thoughts on “Cute as a Button: DIY Earring Tutorial

  1. Pierogi Picnic says:

    Alexis – happy you like the idea!

    I buy my earring posts at my local Hancock Fabrics. You can also find them at most craft stores as well as on Etsy under “supplies.”

    Hope that helps! =)

  2. Sanz Lashley says:

    I saw these on Ecouterre and now I plan to dig out my button collection for some last minute Xmas gift making. Cheers for the inspiration.

    BTW, I used to live in Evanston & on Chicago’s northside. You name checked two of my favorite places for jewelry & craft supplies, Dave’s and Vogue. I’m thrilled to hear that they are still “alive & well.”

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