Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Easy DIY Gift -- A Stylish Button Necklace

 Guest Blogger Kate Fox
Tells Us -- and Shows Us -- How to Make 
a Handmade Button Necklace
Styling and Giving = Good Living

Kate Says:
I love the idea of making presents, saving a little money, and showing friends and family that I took the time to make them something special and unique. It all seems like a win-win.  The only problem I have when it comes to DIY (do-it-yourself) projects is I can end up spending more than expected on something that looks handmade –- and not in a good way.  That is why I am excited to share with Love Where You Live readers a fantastic, easy and stylish DIY necklace! 
Kate modeling one of her button necklaces.
(Perhaps the final touch to entertaining at home, yes?!) 

She begins: Originally featured on marthastewart.com, I found this necklace while researching a stack for delicious.com (soon to be finished: Top Ten EASY and Amazing DIY Holiday Gifts).  The first thing I noticed was how cool the necklace was but as I read the instructions, I found them to be confusing and a little intimidating.  So, wary of spending my money and time on a fruitless project, I decided to try a different DIY project –- furry bracelets.  Since I am not writing this post about furry bracelets, I think you can guess how they turned out.   
Kate's try at making the "furry" bracelet.
And she confesses:  After the furry bracelet debacle, I contemplated giving up on the whole DIY presents thing –- especially since I was already $36 in the red, but I figured I would give it one last shot before I bought frozen cookie dough to bake and pass-off as my “homemade” cookies. 

I went to marthastewart.com and read the button necklace how-to, Googled slipknot and then reread the button necklace how-to.  Still confused, I just went for it.  First, I went to JoAnn’s Fabric and Craft Store to get the tools and materials needed for the project.  I am showing you what the marthastewart.com instructions called for in black and what I did in red: 
 Tools and Materials
  • Abalone-shell or pink mother-of-pearl buttons 
I found the abalone-shell buttons at JoAnn’s, each pack had 64 buttons – that is about one necklace.
Shellz Buttons 64 count $3.29
  • Beading String, cut to 40 inches
I did not find any string named specifically “beading string,” but I did find 3-ply bead thread and DMC Floss Group thread.  There are pros and cons to both types of thread.  The bead thread is stiffer than the DMC thread, which makes it easier to wield and thread through the necklace closure; however, because the bead thread is stiffer it does not fall as nicely as the DMC thread.  I also chose three different colors – black, brown and a neutral cream color, but I ended up only using black.
20 yards 3-ply bead thread, Black $2.99
  • Crimp Bead 
I found crimp beads on my second trip to JoAnn's, I should have Googled them to begin with so I would know what I was looking for – alas, live and learn.  As it turned out, the crimp beads I got were too small and seemed like quite a headache, so I got 3mm double cup connectors.  Let me first explain what crimp beads are:  They finish the end of the necklace and help create a loop for attaching the clasp.
48 - 3mm double cup connectors - $0.98 (on sale)

  • Necklace Closure 
At first I got a spring ring clasp but, after a few trials, I realized I liked the magnetic clasps much more.
8 – 5x11mm Silver Magnetic Clasps - $2.29

  • Needle-nose pliers 
The pliers are for the crimp bead/3mm double cup connector.  Apparently you can use crimping pliers to give a more finished look, but I just used basic needle-nose pliers – mind you, my closures are not the prettiest.
Already Owned - $0.00
  • One item that I think should be included is a good pair of scissors, a dull pair of scissors will cause your thread to fray and make it nearly impossible to thread through the necklace closures.
  • If you do not get a good pair of scissors, then you will need a lighter – the lighter will be used to singe the ends of the bead thread (I doubt this would work with the DMC thread).
 She explains:  After I got my materials, I sat down and stared at them for a good two days… then I got down to business.  I am giving you instructions for what I did on my third and final rendition of this necklace. It is the easiest and best looking. Again, I am showing you what the marthastewart.com instructions called for in black, and what I did in red: 
 Button Necklace How-To
1.     Fold the string in half, and create an end by tying two slipknots 2 inches down from the fold.

I have no idea why you would follow the instructions above – I just do not get it.  So instead, first I took one end of the string and slipped it through one button hole, then I slid the button down 8 inches from the end of the string.  To get the button to stay in place you will want to secure it with a slipknot.  To make a slipknot, make a small loop to the right of the button and pass the button through the loop and tighten – voila.  

Now you should have something that looks like this:
The right side should be much longer -- as shown in the picture.

2. Slip a button on one string. Tie another slipknot 1 inch from the previous knot. Repeat until you have 12 buttons on the string. (Sophie makes five strands for her necklace, but you can make as many or few as you like.) Trim the ends (not the looped end) 2 inches from the last knot.

Okay, slip another button on the string starting from the long end of the string – I made sure to face each button the same way, but I think it could also be fun to mix it up.  One inch from the first button, attach your second button the same way you did the first – with a slipknot.  I used my thumb to space out the buttons, you may want to experiment with how close together or far apart you space the buttons.  Repeat until you have 12 buttons on the string. I used 4 strands for my necklace, but I found that three would do in a pinch.  Now you just rinse and repeat. Do the same thing with three more pieces of string.

3. Gather all the ends together, and crimp in a crimp bead. Attach the necklace closure using a pair of needle-nose pliers.

Gather all the strands together and line up the buttons according to how you would like the necklace to look.  Trim to make the ends of the strings line up even with each other.  Take one end of your magnetic clasp and thread all of the ends through the opening, making a loop.    

If you are having problems with the string fraying and you are using the bead thread, you can singe the ends with a lighter to prevent splitting.  Once you have each end threaded through, use the 3mm connector to grab the necklace and the tail of the loop.  

 I know this is unorthodox, but I use my teeth to mash in the connector, and then I use the needle-nose plier to really mash it down.  
 By mashing the connector, you are ultimately fusing both sides of the loop together.  Cut off the rest of the tail, do the same to the other side and done!

I hope you enjoyed this project and do not be afraid to experiment. I did a wonderful one in a green/jade buttons, too.  -- Have a wonderful holiday! -- kate
* * * * * * * *
Kate is my daughter, and I fell in love with her necklaces. I thought you might like to try your hand at this, especially if you're looking to present a special someone something rather unique -- a piece made with love. Or make it for yourself!  You've got your home looking festive and pretty, now it's your turn. What do you think? 

If you have questions about the directions, I'm sure she'd be happy to help you. Just ask.

Merry! Merry!!

2 Responses to “Easy DIY Gift -- A Stylish Button Necklace”

So much talent! What a special gift.
Merry Christmas.

Love this! Thank you for sharing the tutorial.

Have a wonderful Christmas Susan!

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