DIY: Button Trees - Round 1 | the ReFab Diaries

Do you love buttons? Do you store them in jars? Me too.  How about storing them in a way that's a little more visual?  How about a little button art that allows you to actually use the buttons when/if you need them?

Behold ... the humble button tree.  This is a first attempt - there will be a "Round 2" in the near future because I have another idea...

But here's how it came into being. I happened upon this button art (pictured below) on Etsy and immediately shared it with a button-loving FB friend stating "I want to make this right now!"  Then I showed it to a colleague at work who said "wouldn't it be cool if you didn't have to actually sacrifice all the buttons?  If you could make it so that, somehow, you could use the buttons if you need them?  Umm ... yes, of course!  Of course that would be cool.  So I wandered the aisles of hobby stores until I came up with the ingredients for this little craft.

How to make a Button Tree

1. After much comparing and contrasting, here's what I ended up using:
- Artist's foamboard (it's about 1/4" thick. $2.99 for a poster-size piece).  I think 1/4" cork board would work too.
- Craft knife and ruler if you're going to cut board.
- A pack of craft "brads" - have fun choosing colors.  These little pin-like thingies - that can be pushed through then split - are easy to find (look in the scrap-booking isle).  I can't remember what I called them growing up - split pins?  I chose them because of the length and head size.
- Acrylic paint and a marker
- Buttons!

2. Measure and cut your board to size. (Please forgive the quality of the pics... I have to do this kind of project at night so the flash is unavoidable)

3. Trace, sketch or draw your tree in pencil.  (I recently saw this Owl Stencil DIY and considered using it instead of the tree.)  When you're happy with your outline, go over it with the marker - makes it easier to stay in the "lines" when you start painting.

4. Play with paint!  I'm no artist ... but I love acrylic paint.  On this kind of board, you can see the brush strokes as you go.  It adds a really nice texture; makes it look painted v. printed.  I added a second "coat" to even out the color.  (This would be a great time to get your kids involved).

5.  Now for the really fun part!  I had a ton of beige/brown/black/white buttons (yes, I wear a lot of brown) so I bought a pack of brads in those tones.  Spend some time pushing the brads through the buttons.  This will help you figure out which buttons you're going to be able to use, and which ones are too small or too thick (for the brads).

6/7.  Now start arranging.  For the most part, the pins pushed through and stayed put.

8. Once I was done adding buttons, I had some fun with an orange paint marker (Sharpie) ... mostly to help it pop more in the photos.  And that's it.

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  1. Nicely done, Candice! I love the idea of picking buttons off my very own button tree when I need them!


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