Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Tutorial on Covering Old Shank Buttons

I’m making some pillows for my sofa and needed some large buttons for them. I didn’t find any in my collection whose color satisfied me, but I did find 2 rusty old metal buttons and 2 very plain black plastic ones. I decided to look for fabric to cover them. The piece I found was a ribbed knit (the kind used for neck bands on t-shirts). A woven fabric would probably work better for this project as it won’t stretch around the button as easily, but I found that mine came out well enough to use for my project.
I know it’s easier to just buy a covered button kit, but I hate having to spend money on something new when I have so much stuff that needs to be used up here at home.

Here’s a how-to:

Step 1)
Choose a shank button and cut a circle of fabric about 1/2” to 5/8” larger in diameter than your button.
Step 2)
Sew a tight running stitch around the outside edge of your fabric circle.
Step 3)
Place the button upside down on the wrong side of fabric and pull your thread so that the fabric gathers tight around the button. Securely knot off the thread.
Step 4)
Cut a circle of felt or lightweight pellon smaller than the button but large enough to cover the raw edged on the fabric on the back of button. Cut a slice in the center for the button shank.
Step 5)
Run a circle of glue (I used Ilene’s Ok to wash it) around the stitching. Place the felt on top and press firmly down and secure with some clothespins until dry. I placed a piece of plastic wrap on top so any glue that seeped out wouldn’t stick to the clothespins.

As you can see in the photos, it worked a bit better on the 2 black plastic buttons because they had a recess on the back, but the metal ones are still usable.

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