Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Bead & Button Bracelet Tutorial {Waste Not Wednesday}

Last week, I briefly introduced the concept of Waste Not Wednesdays. Each week I'll be trying to make something beautiful or useful (both if I'm lucky) from my car-boot hauls, hand-me downs and from the leftovers of previous crafty projects. Just think of me as a modern day Womble.

I was planning to start with a completely different project, but I distinctly heard a plea for a something that would start to make a dint in our burgeoning button collections - and who am I to refuse?

Bead & Button Bracelet - Finished

You'll need:

* Buttons - I found shank buttons easier to attach, but any will work.
* Beads - Choose a selection of beads leftover from other projects, or fill with smaller buttons.
* Jewellery pliers and wire cutters.
* Headpins and jump rings - just a few.
* A 'charm' style bracelet or length of chain with sizeable links and a closure fitting.

Bead & Button Bracelet Tutorial - Stage 1-4

1. Start by counting the number of links on your bracelet chain, then choose a corresponding number of beads and buttons. Lay them out along the bracelet chain - without attempting to fix them in place. Re-arrange the beads and buttons until you find the arrangement pleasing to your eye - it may help to start with a large focal bead or button in the centre. (As above.)

2. Open the central link of the chain using the pliers and attach the button directly onto the chain link by 'threading' the chain through the shank fitting. Close the link securely.

Bead & Button Bracelet Tutorial - Stages 5-8

3. Continue to attach your buttons to the chain using the same method, leaving empty links between the buttons if necessary. (As in the first picture above.)

Tip - Sometimes, the shank fitting of the button may be a little too tight for the chain link to pass through easily. Don't force it through or you may risk damaging your buttons. Instead, 'thread' a jump ring through the button and then attach this to the chain link.

4. Once you have buttons attached along the length of the bracelet, try wrapping it around your wrist. Check the drape and 'fullness' of the bracelet and, if you feel that it needs extra beads or buttons, spread it out and decide where to add your extra beads and buttons.

5. To add your beads 'thread' the beads onto a headpin.

Bead & Button Bracelet Tutorial - Stages 9 -12

6. Using your pliers, form a loop at the top of your headpin and then snip off the excess with your wirecutters.

Tip - If you don't have any wirecutters, instead of forming the loop first, grasp the headpin firmly with your pliers about 1cm above the topmost bead. Bend the wire back and forth until it snaps. Now use your pliers to form a small loop closure.

7. Open the loop closure slightly and add the headpin to a chain link. Close the loop securely.

8. Continue to add additional beads and buttons to the chain until you are happy with the drape and fullness of the bracelet. Now sit back and admire your work.

Bead & Button Bracelet

And, would you look at that? After all that, there still seems to be plenty of pretty bits and pieces leftover. Ah shucks!

I'm hoping that you'll join me for Waste Not Wednesdays on a regular basis as there will definitely be more beads and buttons where these ones came from. And fabric. And cardboard boxes. And old jam jars. And....oh. Ahem!

I'd be grateful for any feedback or questions about the tutorial (and hints on what you have in your stash and would like to put to good use) and if you do have a go at making something I feature let me know, I'd love to stop by and have a look x


  1. Why thank you, dear Womble :-) Gorgeous bracelet and clear tutorial (though I may request a spot of personal tuition...)

    I'd love some fabric-y ideas too please xx

  2. Very nice idea ! Never tried it with buttons, it looks very nice. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Beautiful bracelet, really interesting tutorial! Thanks for sharing ^^

  4. Wow...gorgeous. I am in awe and can never measure up to your greatness. It's even my favorite colors.

  5. Very enterprising, and I see that I'm going to enjoy this Wednesday series. I have a large box of shells, and wonder what I could make with them that doesn't look TOO 1970s...?

  6. This is such a wonderful idea! I've never made a piece of jewelry, but I'd really love to. Thank you for the inspiration and the instructions. You're so clever! Also, if I'm ever on your continent or you are on mine, there will be plenty of hiking fun.

  7. wow gorgeous hun need the personal touch tutorial though lol xx

  8. Great work, the bracelet is beautiful and the tutorial is very clear. I have been thinking I have t get back to my button bracelets. I was never able to figure out a way to incorporate the shank style buttons, so thanks for the pointers. I certainly need to make a dint in my button collection; they currently fill a whole shelf in my very messy studio.

  9. finally, something to do with all those buttons! Love the bracelet and I think your tutorial is very easy to follow.

  10. love this waste not wednesday idea...really cool. thanks for sharing!

  11. Great tutorial, want to go and try make myself a bracelet right now!
    Can you come up with any projects that would use up all those letter stickers I get left with at the end of the pack?!!

  12. Hi Clair ~ I'm glad you stopped by my blog because it brought me to yours. You have a lovely blog here -- I LOVE the bracelet tutorial and am inspired to make one myself!!! :o)

  13. I absolutely love this tutorial, very nice...Thanks for sharing it...

  14. Beautiful bracelet, thank for the idea!

  15. I love this tutorial! I have a team blog dedicated to stashbusting our beads and am always on the look out for great leftovers projects to link to, I will be linking to this post right away!

  16. Great choice of buttons and a very pretty bracelet indeed. I will link in a future blog post so others can come visit!


  17. Gorgeous! The most beautiful button art I've ever seen!

  18. Hi! Great tute! I will be linking at in future post.


  19. Wow, I really love the bracelet you made! I'm gonna try to make one also:)

  20. Hi! I adored this tutorial from the moment I came across it some time ago. Your work inspired me to take up my own attempt and here's what I made:

    I made sure to link back to your original so I hope that's ok since this was your idea. Thank you so much for helping me make what is now one of my favorite pieces of jewelry.

  21. I am so thrilled to find this. I inheirited my Grandma Light's buttons and wanted to do something special with them. This is perfect. Thank you so much..

  22. Very cute. I am currently on the hunt for button projects as I have a very large stash that I want to start using up. Thanks so much for sharing your idea.


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