How to Make Button Cards . . . with Removable Buttons!

comments (24) November 7th, 2008     

Pin It

Sister_Diane Diane Gilleland, contributor
Love it! 50 users recommend
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.  
The buttons can match, like these leather ones, or be a mix of different colors and styles. 
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!

Photo: Diane Gilleland

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)

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.

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. . . . And you're done!

posted in: paper, card

Comments (24)

Katinkabutton writes:

This is a very smart idea very useful.

If Hautebutton is still interesting in buying buttons she can mail me this is my mailadress [email protected]

a lot of metal and glass buttons for sale
Posted: 8:30 am on January 25th
Katinkabutton writes:

This is a very smart idea very useful.

If Hautebutton is still interesting in buying buttons she can mail me this is my mailadress [email protected]

a lot of metal and glass buttons for sale
Posted: 8:30 am on January 25th
HydeElnora writes: Make your life time more simple get the loans and all you need.
Posted: 9:44 am on September 20th
hautebutton writes: If any of you out there are interested in selling your vintage metal buttons, I would be interested in looking at them. Please leave a note here and I will check back for your email address to contact you. Only metal or glass buttons please.

This is a great trick for displaying buttons on cards by the way. thank you.
Posted: 11:52 am on August 17th
Silvermint writes: Fantastic idea!

I have tonnes of vintage buttons with me and I was trying to sew them onto a card yesterday night in my attempt to sort them all out. But I felt that it was taking too much of my time to do so and there had to be a better way to attach and remove them easily from the cards. This post hit the jackpot and showed me how it could be done. Thanks! The pictures were absolutely helpful as well.
Posted: 5:10 am on March 22nd
knittingirl writes: Thanks for a great idea. My button collecting started with a jewelry project, became a hobby, advanced to an obsession, and has finally developed into a disease. At the risk of spreading it to a few creative friends, I will be making some of these card shortly.
Posted: 10:11 pm on September 4th
Fwani writes: Simple but brilliant, who knew! I have literally zillions of buttons, guess what I'LL be doing with them? And actually I was thinking of putting some of them in some form where I could frame the final result--this technique would work perfectly for that as well as for the cards. And you could use stabilized fabric as well as paper for a background--you could fuse other fabric, ribbon, lace, etc. but use the same technique. Yessss!
Posted: 5:41 pm on September 2nd
Bettsi writes: Super cute, Diane! Thanks!
Posted: 12:14 pm on August 29th
StampLady writes: I've been looking for new ideas for Christmas and winter cards. Great suggestion. How about making snowmen and Santas with appropriately colored buttons or doing a tree theme with those tiny buttons in your stash? Also, could use a pale yellow or pearlized white one for a moon on a religious card.
Posted: 7:35 pm on August 28th
Mike_Zero writes: Button, button..who's got the button?
Posted: 12:02 am on May 27th
Sister_Diane writes: craftretiree, I can help you with your printing issue if you email me. diane AT deepideas DOT com. Will you tell me what internet browser you're using, please?
Posted: 2:26 pm on November 16th
SewJoe writes: Why stop at shank buttons--use a flat button w/holes and do a quick stitch with a fine gauge wire and twist in back. Make the holes with a large needle using the button as a template. Add a little interest with a three or four seed beads across the holes in front before sending the wire to the back.
Posted: 1:09 pm on November 16th
craftiretiree writes: Print problems: page 1 prints, page 2 blank & page 3 one paragraph prints.
Please advise!
Posted: 6:58 pm on November 15th
CraftyRose writes: That's a really cute idea. I also find slats from old vertical blinds hold things like buttons and earrings really well. Office hole punches work on them and dollar store scissors cut them. If you need to differentiate between prices, sizes, etc., you can use different widths or colours! I find lots of those things left outside in my neighbourhood.
Posted: 3:14 pm on November 15th
tulipstreet writes: Great idea for all button collectors too. Sure beats sewing them all on to cards and then having to take them apart to make a different display. Love this idea !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted: 12:27 pm on November 15th
PTCHWRK writes: What a great idea. I do scrap booking swaps and this idea will come in handy. Thanks
Posted: 12:13 pm on November 15th
eyesaflame writes: Oh yeah, baby! You rock! My Holiday cards this year are all going to be patchwork themed, but I may have to add in a few yummy buttons . . . hmmm . . .
Posted: 3:27 pm on November 10th
hdmedley writes: What a lovely idea. Great way to share old buttons or keep litle hands busy poking in the pipe cleaner!
Posted: 12:34 am on November 10th
Craftyjeannew writes: What a great way to display your anitque buttons and/or keep them organize. I can see using cardstock and a notebook to keep the antique button in.
Posted: 8:20 am on November 8th
susanstars writes: that is just gorgeous. love it!!!
Posted: 7:45 pm on November 7th
Average_Jane_Crafter writes: Brillllllant! I love that the buttons are removable - fantastic! And what a smart and easy way to attach them. I never would have thought to do that.

And - as always - beautifully written and photographed. You are Queen of the super macro! ;)
Posted: 4:45 pm on November 7th
pinsandneedles writes: Yes, this is a must-make!
Posted: 2:21 pm on November 7th
crafty_gal writes: what a great idea!
Posted: 12:47 pm on November 7th
erika_kern writes: Okay. . . that is the cuteness! So pretty and useful and thoughtful. I'll have to tuck that away in my mind for gifties.

Posted: 12:09 pm on November 7th
You must be logged in to post comments. Click here to login.