All Buttoned Up: Use Some Buttons in Your Necklace Making Projects

Apr 1, 2012

My first foray into jewelry-making came when I was five years old. My sister and I would dig through my mother's stash of buttons, selecting the brightly colored plastic and sparkling cut glass buttons to use for necklace making. We strung our button necklaces on whatever we had handy and wore them everywhere we went. Years later, I found myself with a large stash of buttons of my own, some new and some vintage, that I love to incorporate whenever I want to add a unique touch to a necklace making project.

You can find great buttons at your local thrift shop.
Buttons for necklace making can be found anywhere! The best finds are the ones I come across at my local thrift shop. A couple of years ago, my father in law brought home a huge glass jelly jar that was crammed full of buttons. Most of the buttons were plastic, but some were made from wood or metal and all of them were perfect for adding as a lightweight clasp to some of my earthier necklace designs.

Contemporary pressed glass buttons from the Czech Republic come in a variety of beautiful designs!
Some of the new glass buttons coming out of the Czech Republic these days are absolutely stunning. Made with brightly colored glass and set with rhinestones, you can find these new glass shank buttons with all sorts of beautiful designs. During my last trip to New York City for some bead shopping, I found a beautiful Czech glass button with a crane design at York Beads. Two of my more recent finds are two Czech pressed glass buttons from Nikia Angel's Etsy shop: one, of course, has a fantastic dragon design on it and the other has a beautiful paisley design set with sparkling rhinestones!

Vintage buttons, when you can find them, add a wonderful bit of history to your necklace making projects.
Vintage buttons are some of my favorites for using in my necklace making projects. These are buttons with a story -- and a history! I've been holding on to a couple of cards of antique buttons that used to belong to my mother, and I've been saving them for just the right beading project. One set is actually covered with fine crochet, and the other is a set of gorgeous, deep ruby pressed glass with tiny metal shanks. These are the kinds of buttons that work well as focal points for necklace making projects, too.

Need some more inspiration for using buttons in your necklace making projects? Each issue of Jewelry Stringing magazine is packed full of wonderful ideas for using buttons and other unique jewelry making components. You'll find fresh, modern designs for beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings from today's best jewelry designers. Subscribe to Jewelry Stringing magazine and see for yourself how you can use buttons with beads to make beautiful beaded jewelry!

How do you use buttons in your necklace making projects? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your tips and techniques with us!

Bead Happy,


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on Apr 2, 2012 8:00 AM

In my blog last week, ...

I wrote about attaching buttons with shanks to a stretchy bracelet that's like a watch band. It's specifically designed with 3 loops/link for attaching all kinds of things to it. While I LOVE the Czech glass buttons,and use a lot of them in my art quilts, trying to put a metal split ring through the shank just breaks it off. Also, those glass buttons used in a piece that gets a lot of friction, like a bracelet, chips the glass. IMO, they work better used as single cabochons or as part of a pendant.

Ann Seri wrote
on Apr 2, 2012 8:19 AM

I have been using buttons in my jewellery designs for awhile, either as medallions fringed with smaller beads or in a sort of 'button soup' wired collar using pinch n' twist technique (recently learned at the Grand River Bead Society!). I'll use buttons as clasps on bracelets or necklaces; they're also great incorporated into earrings - in a loop, stacked, or layered. The right button can even work as a substitute spacer/ bead cap. A friend of mine does wonderful vintage button rings!  

I'd love to show you some photos!

Ann, 'Atelier Bessalel', Kitchener, ON, Canada

maven2 wrote
on Apr 2, 2012 9:14 AM

To Ann: I'd love to see those photos you're talking about ... could you post some type of link to them like Nancy did to her blog (thanks for that, Nancy!)? I'm sure others would like to see them, too. I have  a few buttons I've been saving and some I've lusted after on various beading websites, so I'd love to find some ideas for using them in my jewelry designs.

on Apr 2, 2012 11:13 AM

Thanks for sharing the link to Angel's shop, Jennifer. She has lots of gorgeous stuff!

I need to do some serious button shopping for bracelet clasps.

JudyT@38 wrote
on Apr 2, 2012 2:41 PM

I am happy to see your article. Buttons are so cool and we have a huge selection

on our website now. I was fortunate to find a warehouse collection of Italian Metal Buttons, woo hoo! So half of them so far are put up on our website,

There are so many wrap bracelets that call for buttons, and I know y'all will love them. Plus the prices cant be beat! We will have them at the Northern California Bead Society April 21st.

on Apr 2, 2012 4:13 PM

I have been blessed with my mother's button "jar"  They are over 50 years old.   you Some are plastic but still gorgeous.  Lot of glass ones in it as well.  I just love looking at them and have used some beautiful glass ones for clasps.

I am wanting to get into bezeling some but still new at that.  Reading up on what to do with the shanks etc.

PeggyB@16 wrote
on Apr 3, 2012 1:32 PM

I,too, am a button collector. Especially love the vintage ones.  I'm sure you know that the crochet covered ones are Dorset buttons?  You are very lucky to have some AND on the original card.