Sunday, November 10, 2013

Project Sunday: Button Earrings

Hello, lovelies! Happy Project Sunday!

Past Sunday Projects: lamp revamp, desk makeover, braided hairstyles

I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but somehow I became my family's "button lady." I never had any intention to collect buttons, nor any inclination for that matter. My mother had a basket of buttons that perpetually remained in a closet somewhere; I have no memories of her actually using said buttons, though she did sew curtains every few years for the house. The first time I myself used buttons was four years ago to decorate scrapbook pages. Until this year, I never thought of buttons as remotely interesting.

Over the summer, however, my grandfather handed me a small cardboard box and told me to take a look inside. If my Papa tells me to investigate something, it almost always involves chocolate or history. In this case, it was history. The box was filled with buttons. Some were loose, some matched, some were still attached to the paper they were sold on, and others were in tiny envelopes. There was one envelope mailed from a New York City button company to my great-grandmother Doris in the 1950s.

For the first time, I felt a nostalgic wonder as I handled buttons. Each button was collected by my great-grandmother and a few other relatives. It was strange and wonderful to hold the same buttons that Doris had held, particularly because I was not close to her while she was alive. She was ill for most of my childhood and then moved out of state to a full-time care institution before she died. By contrast, I was very close to my grandmother's mother, Geraldine, or Bam as all her great-grandchildren called her. I visited Bam almost every week for 13 years. Bam and I shared inside jokes, lots of stories, and many memories. It's easy to recall her face and her voice because we had so much together. It was very powerful to have a piece of my other great-grandmother, too.

Since I received this box, I've received a tin of other buttons found in the church I spent so much time in as a child. Apparently, the older ladies in the congregation thought of me when they found them. How sweet is that?! I have yet to clean and sift through the new buttons, but I will. I quite enjoy being the button lady now, especially because it means I can use them to create pretty things, like earrings!

Here's a close up of some of the buttons from my great-grandmother and other family members:

Aren't they gorgeous? I'm saving some of them for when I finally start sewing clothing, but I wanted to use some of them immediately. I made 11 pairs of earrings in 15 minutes for less than $1, and I'll show you how you can make your very own button earrings in just minutes.

3 steps: Clean. Glue. Wear.

You need to prep your buttons first! Wash them gently. I put baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and water in a small bowl and soaked the buttons for a few seconds. Then, I used a cotton bud to wipe off any leftover residue, and dried them with a cotton towel. I used a pair of pliers to remove hooks from the back of the buttons to make a smooth area for gluing.

You need flat pad earring posts with butterfly clutches, like these. I purchased two different sizes at Joann's.
The 48-pack of surgical steel posts and 2 10-packs of gold posts cost less than $3 total (sale & coupon).

 Attach the posts to the buttons using a strong glue, like E-6000. I used a cotton bud to apply the glue.

 Let the glue dry for at least 30 minutes before use. Clean the posts with rubbing alcohol to disinfect before wearing your new, vintage earrings!

 Here are some pics of the other earrings I made.

And here's what my new earrings look like on! I love that they're big and loud and 80s.

I want to see your button earrings. Show them off!

Much love,

Linked to parties here:
Nifty Thrifty Things
Flamingo Toes
Sew Many Ways
The Girl Creative

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