How to Make a Woven Button Coaster

comments (30) March 4th, 2009     

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LindaPermann Linda Permann, contributor
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Heres a close-up of the coaster. It is so pretty to look at.
To begin, gather your supplies. I laid out my buttons in a square to determine how many Id need to make my coaster.
To knot off the beginning of the floss, insert the needle in any button hole and pull the floss almost all the way through. Draw the needle through the end of the thread (below the knot), then reinsert the needle through the same button hole.
Heres a close-up of the coaster. It is so pretty to look at.

Here's a close-up of the coaster. It is so pretty to look at.

Photo: Linda Permann
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When I was in Austin earlier this month, I spied this button bag at Tesoros. I have seen it before and had always been curious about how much patience it must take to sew all of those buttons together. And so, when Michaela told me it was button month, I knew it was time to put myself to the test. I thought I'd start small, with a coaster—and I'm glad I did! The purchase price of that bag can't begin to cover the labor that must have gone into making it. This is not a hard project—you're essentially using one stitch over and over to connect the buttons—but it is not for the impatient crafter (which, many times, is me!). Although part of me was wondering when I'd be done sewing these tiny buttons together and whether I was nuts for attempting this with such tiny buttons, the other part of me really enjoyed the meditative quality of this project and the prettiness of the finished coaster. It's colorful yet simple, and since there are so many connected threads, it's also incredibly fun to flex the shape of the coaster. If you plan to make a whole set, or something bigger than a coaster, though, be sure to take plenty of breaks.


To begin, gather your supplies. I laid out my buttons in a square to determine how many I'd need to make my coaster. I settled on nine rows of nine buttons.

Materials:

  • 81 four-hole buttons (I used 3/8-inch buttons; if you use something larger, you can probably get away with fewer buttons)
  • Small amount of embroidery floss in three colors
  • Needle (be sure it fits easily through the button holes)
  • Scissors
  • Patience

Start by cutting a 32-inch piece of embroidery floss. Pull a single strand loose and thread the needle with it, knotting the ends.


To knot off the beginning of the floss, insert the needle in any button hole and pull the floss almost all the way through. Draw the needle through the end of the thread (below the knot), then reinsert the needle through the same button hole.


Position the first (threaded) button so that the threaded hole is on the top right of the button. Thread the needle through any hole of the next button (but then position it so that the holes line up as shown). Go back through the first button's hole and reinsert the  needle through the same hole in the second button to secure it. It should be taut but with a bit of wiggle room.

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posted in: tutorial, how-to, buttons, coaster

Comments (30)

apadgett8 writes: I m so glad I found this. I lost my grand father in Febuary of this years and he has a huge collection of buttons that I am sure my grandmother ill let me have. I want to get them, make these and then give them to her. What a perfect way to use something he has to remember him by. Thank you so much for sharing!
Posted: 8:12 am on August 8th
LunarFaith writes: very very nice project - really never thought buttons make up coasters w.w.o.w.w
Posted: 2:15 am on June 11th
LindaPermann writes: Hi Nancy-
Yes, it's completely fine to link to this tutorial.
Cheers,
Linda
Posted: 2:48 pm on May 30th
NancyWard writes: Hi!

Today I posted an entry on my blog with a link to this tutorial.

Would you let me know if that's OK?

Thanks,

Nancy Ward
http://paperfriendly.blogspot.com
Posted: 1:18 pm on May 30th
EndlessC writes: Thanks for sharing this Linda! I added a picture of the basket that I embellished with woven buttons and I'm thinking of weaving more buttons for a liner in another basket that I have. Great idea and fun to do!
Posted: 7:49 am on May 19th
JennlovesSteve writes: This is so cute! There are so many things that you can make with it too!
I am so excited to try it!
Posted: 8:54 pm on May 3rd
CarlaT writes: I'm going to try this one thanks for sharing
Posted: 9:21 am on March 30th
LindaPermann writes: avocadooo-- I don't mind at all if you want to make and sell these. It would be nice if you credit the design on the tag or in the listing, but other than that, have at it!
Posted: 2:22 pm on March 16th
avocadooo writes: Linda:

LOVE this!!! Wondering if you'd mind if one made and sold these? :)
Posted: 8:09 pm on March 15th
LindaPermann writes: redheadforpeace- i bought a bunch (BUNCH!) of buttons from a woman on etsy and these were tossed in the mix- they were actually the ones i was least excited about! you can try joanns or michaels- they usually have colorful plastic buttons in very similar sizes sold in small bags for $2 or so. you can also try ebay, etsy, or go scouting at garage sales. I think mine were basically a bunch of shirt buttons saved up over the years.
Posted: 3:04 am on March 12th
redheadforpeace writes: I love this and can't wait to make one ... only I can't find buttons!!! Where you do find a large quantity of the same type of button?
Posted: 2:54 pm on March 11th
LindaPermann writes: thanks again everyone!
phreec- you could certainly try felt or cork, although then (at least with felt) you could just sew the buttons directly to it. I guess I am thinking more decoratively (a glass of wine, for instance, usually does not sweat). but go for it!

as for the bowl- it was made with a sturdy thread (I think the buttons were larger and therefore had larger holes), you could also try elastic. Wire might be too pesky to work with, but it's worth a shot.
Posted: 3:07 pm on March 9th
eveh writes: Oh, I love this. I think it would make cute pockets on a shirt. Of course you couldn't use them as a pocket but I never do anyway. I can also see this as a design around a box, as a book cover, covering a lamp shade, friendship bracelets, If you used elastic instead of thread, it would increase your options. Thank you for this.
Posted: 10:08 pm on March 8th
MsMae writes: This is a great idea! I'm always on the look out for good button ideas. Went insane last year and bought this huge box of old buttons. I was wondering about the buttons scratching furniture. Also, do you have any idea how the bowl were made using the buttons? Would the thread keep it tight enough to keep its shape or do you think wire would be required?
Posted: 4:19 pm on March 8th
phreec writes: an afterthought; these are awesome just this way, but do you think a bit of felt (or cork, or otherwise) underneath would detract from their beautiful cuteness? my mother (and partner-in-craft) brought up the subject of "sweat" absorbtion from cold drinks, LOL! any ideas/suggestions, from anyone?
thanks again!!
~christi ;)
Posted: 3:40 pm on March 8th
phreec writes: this is awesome; thank you for your time, creating and posting this project!! :)
i'm also a button hoarder - bins and BINS! with lots of flat buttons of all sizes and colors :) if i manage to get them out of the garage, i think a rainbow set, or custom-colored set would be fun!!
thanks so much!!
~christi :)
virginia beach, VA
Posted: 3:35 pm on March 8th
ChristineDesigns writes: What a unique idea. I can't wait to give this a try & use up some of my buttons & floss that I've been hording over the years. Thanks for the idea!
Posted: 5:40 pm on March 7th
zencatknit writes: Just to say AWSOME!!!!!!!! As I own millions of buttons and I am not exagerating. I definitely want to get into this project. Great Job! Lisa
Posted: 5:12 pm on March 7th
LindaPermann writes: reliker- well, i figured someone was bound to comment either way on whether or not hot drinks would melt the buttons (and i can't be sure what kind of buttons everyone will use), so I just wanted to cover my bases. Feel free to experiment with your next cup of tea.

Jeffrey- thanks for the comment- a huge compliment coming from you! I do have an itch to make a complete set now, if only for the fun of connecting all of the buttons.




Posted: 12:46 pm on March 7th
Jeff_Rudell writes: Linda: The moment I saw this I got that little tingle -- call it the Craft Itch! I could imagine how satisfying this piece would feel in my hands, what fun it would be putting it together, and what squeals of delight it would likely elicit from guests who saw it. Fun to do, fun to have, and fun to share: a perfect project in my opinion. Thank you.

Posted: 11:47 am on March 7th
Jrsjewels writes: This is so cool! Thanks for sharing!
Posted: 8:57 am on March 7th
reliker writes: This is really, really cute! But just out of curiousity, how hot are your hot drinks, Linda? Since the average modern button is designed to go into the washer and dryer, and can stand up to a hot iron (did you know cotton is ironed at about 400 degrees?), and the average hot drink doesn't get above 212 degrees (the boiling temperature of water), I suspect your coaster would be just fine. You could always test one of your buttons with an iron before you started the project, just to make sure... (Actually, I'd probably just drop it into my tea and see how it did, but I'm lazy!)
Posted: 1:56 am on March 7th
beaderonboard writes: What a cute coaster, you did such a great job.
I can't wait to give it a try, give me a chance to use up all of those buttons I've been hoarding for years.
I can see how it would make a very cute purse also.
Thank You for Sharing.

Posted: 1:19 am on March 7th
LindaPermann writes: thanks y'all. thelongthread- i want to see your button tablecloth/rug/house if you end up making it :)
Posted: 11:59 pm on March 4th
thelongthread writes: So cool! I think I'll make a tablecloth like this -- no, a rug -- no, I'll cover the backyard in buttons, or the whole house. Love it.
Posted: 8:50 pm on March 4th
luvinthemommyhood writes: This is gorgeous! I adore buttons and you just helped give me one more project to add to my ever growing list. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial.
Posted: 6:46 pm on March 4th
susanstars writes: beautiful, Linda! I love it so much. I just mentioned on Erika's post that I adore pearl buttons and it's so cool to see these gorgeous projects bringing them to life!
Posted: 4:02 pm on March 4th
kaytet writes: linda that's great! i saw bowls made this way at a museum and thought the same thing. but you actually made them!!!
Posted: 10:43 am on March 4th
Sister_Diane writes: OMG, Linda - that is insanely cool, And beautiful! So many possibilities, the mind just boggles. Thank you for the beautiful tutorial!
Posted: 9:52 am on March 4th
afreehand writes: very clever! i've seen buttons used in many crafty ways but this is different and a quite elegant result with plain buttons. good job!
Posted: 9:40 am on March 4th
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