One woman's adventures in the land of hand made jewellery

Monday, 29 October 2012

More Buttons

Earlier this year I made a bracelet from buttons. Then a few weeks ago I came across a small bag of recyclable jewellery donated by a friend. In it there was a lovely MoP necklace in shades of blue. Each of the flat, square pieces of MoP had a central hole and the necklace was constructed using two threads weaving in and out, I loved it rescued it so it was wearable once more and was inspired, somewhere in my stash I had some buttons.... 

... in fact two lots of Mother of Pearl (MoP) buttons purchased a couple of years ago from John Lewis as potential fastenings for a knitting project but in the end discarded as too small and fragile for a baby cardie. There were two shapes - circles and stars - both a gorgeous dark, greeny brown. I looked out some shiny bronze-coloured seed beads that I thought would complement the buttons, found a reel of brown button thread (why was this in my sewing box?) and started experimenting. First I cut two 1 metre long lengths of thread and tied them together with an overhand knot, for extra security I threaded on a crimp, squeezing it tight directly below the knot. A clamshell threaded on after this was used to cover both the knot and the crimp and would provide somewhere to attach one half of the fastening.

Having laid out the buttons and beads in a long line so that the buttons were all "rightside up" alternating stars and circles I commenced construction. Using the original necklace as a template for length I threaded one cord from each side of the button up or down through the first hole and then back through the second before feeding both ends through the seed bead. I repeated this until I judged there was sufficient length - my buttons were approximately 1 cm across and I used some 27 in total. It was a bit fiddly but don't pull the threads too tight otherwise the chain you are creating becomes too rigid as the seed beads lock the buttons together. Tip:paint the ends of the button thread with a little nail varnish to make it easier to thread them through the holes.

The end was finished off  to match the beginning - threading on a clamshell and a crimp before tying an overhand knot close to the crimp then closing the camshell over both knot and crimp. To make a catch I cut a short length of fine but fancy chain, created a wrapped loop in a short piece of silver-plated wire, threaded on one of the seed beads before creating another wrapped loop to secure it to the end of the chain. Then I attached the other end of the chain to one end of the necklace using a slightly over-sized jump ring. To the other end of the necklace using another jump ring of the same size, I attached a silver-plated lobster clasp.  The completed piece looks light and delicate, you hardly know you are wearing it and it has attracted several complements.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Inspiration from Buttons

Button Bracelet
Long time no post. In fact the well of jewellery inspiration has been pretty dry for most of this year until yesterday when I took a new friend on a visit to the so called Haberdashery Souk north of Dubai Creek in Deira. Tucked away by the door of one shop I found some small bags of buttons, 10 dirhams (less than £2) acquired a bag of each. An hour or so at my workbench and I'd conjured up a pretty nautical themed bracelet in blue and cream with plenty of buttons to spare for another bracelet and or some earrings. Here's how:

You'll need a length of memory wire to fit round your wrist with 4 or 5 cm overlap, I used about one and a third loops of smaller diameter wire (31-32cm). The key to this design is that the buttons overlap whilst the wire remains hidden behind them.

Cream Shanked Buttons, Blue Flat Buttons & Memory Wire
I chose some cream buttons about 1 cm in diameter with a shank that were decorated with an anchor design. As a contrast the blue buttons are a similar size, flatter so they lie behind the shanks of the cream ones but still have the thread hole at the back. The anchor buttons had been moulded from plastic and as a result the end of the shank was a bit rough but easily filed smooth with an emery board. I used 15 contrast buttons and 14 anchor buttons, if your bracelet is smaller then fewer buttons will be required.

Bend the final end back and tuck in
Make a small loop at one end of the memory wire and starting with a contrast button, thread on alternate buttons. Check that all the anchors are facing the same way. Finish with another contrast button. Once you have all the buttons on the wire check they all lie right way up then carefully bend back the last centimetre or so ensuring that the last button is held firmly in place.Tuck the wire end into the shank of the last anchor button. All that's needed now is to slide it on your wrist and wait for the admiring glances from your friends!