Posts Tagged ‘upcycling’

Button, Button, What to do with buttons?

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

I love a good button. I think most bead hoarders have a button tin somewhere as well. The materials used for buttons range from the simple and inexpensive to exotic and pricey. Obviously buttons have a practical use in sewing and clothing design, but they can be great additions to DIY jewelry as well.


button box spill

button box spill

Buttons as beads:

Boston Bracelet and New Leaf Earrings

Boston Bracelet and New Leaf Earrings

By their nature, buttons tend to have either a shank, with an opening for thread, or 2-4 holes for sewing. These holes and openings mean your buttons can substitute for beads and work as connectors in jewelry design. See round TierraCast buttons with a leaf pattern in New Leaf Earrings and bone buttons sewn on the Boston Bracelet.

Buttons as clasps:

Dark and Dangerous Bracelet

Dark and Dangerous Bracelet

Whether for popular wrapped lashed leather bracelets, or for necklace designs, adding a button to one end of your design and creating a simple loop or series of loops at the other end will complete your creation. The Dark and Dangerous Bracelet uses a cast pewter Spiral Button for the closure.

Buttons as Cabochons or Cameos:

Cute as a Button Bracelet

Cute as a Button Bracelet

Disk & Loop Bracelets make up into quick finished jewelry by gluing buttons to the disks. If the button has a shank, you may need to trim it and file the surface, then add your favorite adhesive, and you have quickly created a new accessory. Cute as a Button Bracelet uses an assortment of plastic “accoutrements” by Tim Holtz for decoration.

Copies of Buttons:

Buttons, Molds, and Cast Reproductions

Buttons, Molds, and Cast Reproductions

Have a one-of-a-kind or vintage button that you love, but don’t want to part with? 2-part silicone molding material works great to make a mold of your treasure that you can re-create in polymer or resin and use time after time. Silicone molds were quickly made of the buttons in this picture. Reproductions of the buttons (without the pesky shanks) were easily made with Amazing Resin and SuperClear Resin. For more information on making molds, see our previous blog: Making Your Own Molds is a Hoot.

Buttons you can buy from Rings & Things:

Rings & Things carries buttons in materials such as bone,

Assortment of Bone Buttons in various colors.

Assortment of Bone Buttons in various colors.


Plastic Button Assortments

Plastic Button Assortments

cast pewter

A sampling of pewter buttons.

A sampling of pewter buttons.

one lone sterling offering

Sterling Flower Button

Sterling Flower Button


Crystal Buttons

Crystal Buttons


Making a Button:

Resin Flower Buttons

Resin Flower Buttons

Do you have an item without holes that you want to use as a button? Easily glue a plastic button shank to your piece to create a button. These work great for turning resin, polymer clay, hand-made glass, and ceramics into useable buttons. Since these shanks are plastic, they don’t have the sharp edges that you sometimes find on metal shank findings. The set shown above are made from resin flowers, colorized with gilders paste, and attached with E-6000.

Changeable buttons:

Cast Resin Button Covers

Cast Resin Button Covers

With a button cover and some glue, you can create a decorative cover that can be transferred from garment to garment, covering the plain or boring buttons used in manufacturing. This set is made with super clear resin, colored with dye and glitter, and attached with E-6000.

Our pinterest board “Buttons” has further inspirations for using buttons and great handmade buttons.


~ Rita

Twelve Days of Christmas Jewelry Designs: 2 – Bottle Cap Baubles

Monday, November 14th, 2011

What *can’t* you make with a bottle cap? That seems to be what our design team wanted to find out. Check out all of the fun and fabulous bottle cap jewelry, bottle cap home decor and bottle cap holiday accessories you can make! *


Santa Claus charm bracelet - or wine bottle adornment! Or both!


Supplies for bottle cap necklaces.

Our bottle cap jewelry-making kit contains bottle caps, ball chain and clasps, jump rings, earring findings, the hole punch pliers, and clear epoxy dots to cover the images. The only other thing you need is white craft glue, scissors or a 1″ hole punch (highly recommended!), and paper or pictures to insert in the caps. (Many of these examples use images from Simply Swank’s Christmas collage sheet.) Plus embellishments of course. Lots and lots of embellishments!

Upgrade to rhinestone chain for loads of holiday sparkle.

bottle cap napkin rings

Add chain or ribbon to turn monogram bottle cap charms into napkin rings or place cards.

These thin silk ribbons are so pretty. They are even long enough to use as gift wrap – which then becomes a pendant necklace!

Silk cords - classy, reusable gift wrap?

Or, fill bottle caps with your favorite illustrations for lovely gifts.

Normally we advise people to use images that are in the public domain. However, when Sondra bought art from Corid on Etsy, Cori included several itty bitty images with the order. These images were too cute to go to waste, so Sondra them in some of her bottle cap creations. (The general rule is that if you purchase the artwork, it is yours to do what you wish with it for personal use – EXCEPT reproduce. So if you have an original, great, but don’t copy an artist’s work.) Here’s another Corid image:

A charm bracelet can also be used to personalize a wine glass, or decorate a wine bottle. What a great double-duty hostess gift!

So there you have it! Bottle caps made into necklaces, charm bracelets, gift adornments, napkin rings, place settings, wine bottle markers and more!

One more idea: use family photos or kids artwork to make Christmas tree ornaments, for your own tree or as teacher gifts! Enough for today – stay tuned for day 3 of the DIY Christmas jewelry countdown tomorrow! ~ Cindy

* Recycling or upcycling is always a good thing. However, it is much, much easier to use new bottle caps for these designs since they don’t have rubber liners. Rubber liners keep your drinks sealed, but they get in the way of sealing an image in place.

Upcycle cans and tins into jewelry!

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Metal shears, a metal tin and the completed metal pin!

We all know recycling is a good thing, but upcycling is even better! Aluminum and tin cans can easily be turned into jewelry, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. Metal edges can be wicked sharp. Make clean cuts and file off any jagged points. Quality jewelry metal shears make this much easier! Most tin snips and other shears from hardware stores are difficult to grip.
  2. Aluminum cans and most tins are too thin to be durable enough for jewelry by themselves. We suggest layering the metal you cut from recycled items. Three ways of doing this are riveting, gluing and/or coating the metal pieces.

Here are a few examples of how to turn packaging into lovely adornments:


Polly's tin pins and pendants

Polly sandwiched her recycled metal elements between brass fairy doors, disks and gears. She riveted the pieces together using Crafted Findings’ riveting tool. Learn more about the riveting tool system here.

soda pop can necklace

The holes are lined with large eyelets from a scrapbooking supplier.

For this Soda Pop necklace, we cut disks out of cans and then glued them to brass disks to make them thicker. A circle template makes this task easier. Get more info in our design gallery.

soda can bobby pins

Layers of flowers punched from soda cans form these fun bobby pins.

Instructions for how Toni coated these pins with liquid polymer clay to make them safe to wear are in our design gallery.

Start looking at soda cans and other product packaging in a different way! I for one always check the bottle cap design when deciding on a beverage.

How I wish every city had an Upcycle Exchange Market. It is a brilliant idea for reusing and redistributing crafty supplies and recyclables! Until then, ask your friends and family to help collect interesting materials for you. You might just upcycle something wonderful!