Monday, December 3, 2012

How to: Make Christmas Tree Decorations with Buttons

Originally posted in 2010, I hope it is worth a second glance.
When you see the word craft, what comes to mind? A big store of stuff sold to make things? That is the way we do crafts now. Arts and Crafts are a long standing tradition in our part of the world. 
Traditionally on the plains, many crafts were useful items made of fiber: knit, crochet, embroidery, sewn. Often beautiful beyond all practicality, they usually had a practical possibility.   

I love buttons. I am a button collector, I suppose, but I don't think of it as a collection. Collections are things you acquire and don't intend to use. I intend to use every button I own.
The older I get, the less likely that is to happen, but I enjoy the useful road, so was happy to include buttons in making Christmas tree decorations.

I used cookie cutters and made bows to enhance them before hanging them as Christmas tree ornaments.

Pieces of leftover fabric were torn into one and one-fourth inch strips. I did this by measuring and snipping through the edge of the fabric then tearing it across the grain. 

You can use purchased ribbon, but I was going for an old fashioned kitchen look with the cookie cutters.
I cut a generous 12 inch piece of craft wire for each bow I was making. I dug through my button tins. It is difficult to choose.
I will never run out of lovely buttons, plus there is the joy of new buttons... 
There is some sparkly cast off costume jewelry in with my vintage buttons. That might catch the light on a Christmas tree.
Lovely Christmasy effects can be achieved by stacking a shank button with one or more flat button. The shank button on top will present a finished look, the flat buttons enhance with a circle of color. Bend your wire in half to mark the middle, string the shank button on first, then put each end of wire through a hole in the flat buttons pulling the flat buttons up to the shank. Twist the wire just enough to hold the buttons in place.
I wrap the ribbon around my three fingers and can control the size of the bow that way. Secure the bow with the button wire.
This large gingerbread cookie cutter has a sparkly belt buckle. I attached the button bow to the head with the wire by twisting, then twisted the ends to form a hanging loop. 
A tiny gingerbread cookie cutter looked very cute with a smaller bow and a rhinestone button positioned like a hat. 
There are many different items that look cute on a Christmas tree with buttons and a bow. A sugar tongs, or other silver pieces would be elegant on a flocked tree.
 My son earned this track medal in high school and would enjoy seeing it on the Christmas tree. I would use a grosgrain ribbon or a narrow braid on that with a metal button. A star shaped button would be cute. 
The third item is the spoon I used to feed my babies. 
I think a collection of demitasse spoons would very cute as Christmas ornaments.  
If you decide to use something that is real silver, or any item that the wire might scratch, you could try using these mini hooks which come many sizes, some smaller than these. They don't harm surfaces. I have also used heavy thread to fasten button to bow to fragile decoration. 
You can add a bow to many of the ornaments in your collection and give your tree a unified look.
 Run the wire through the back of the button. 
My silver spoon is actually stainless steel, so wire won't hurt it. The button is mother of pearl and a beautiful contrast to the black torn ribbon. Fasten the ribbon into a bow.
  These are great on a tree in or near the kitchen or in the dining room.
On the tree the button catches the light. It may even inspire a story of happy days gone by in GriggsDakota.

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