How to Make a Button-and-Wire Brooch

15 Oct 2009

I'm still noodling with buttons and wire over here... and this is the latest result. I like how the design can take on a "shooting star" effect, or resemble a little flower vase.

This isn't a complicated project - please don't let the number of photos here fool you! I was just trying to be thorough.

You'll need some 24 gauge craft wire and some assorted buttons. One of them should be a large shank button. The others should be smaller sew-through buttons. Oh - and, wire cutters and needle-nose pliers are useful.

So, begin with one of the sew-through buttons. Poke the end of the wire up through one of the holes in the button, from back to front. Leave the wire attached to the spool for now.

Pull the button along until you have about 8" of wire sticking up through it. Then, take the end of the wire and poke it back down through the opposite hole.

Pull this little wire "stitch" as snug as you can.

Next, take the end of the wire and poke it back up through the next hole, as shown. Pull the wire through snugly, leaving another little "stitch" on the back of the button.

Poke that wire back down through the last hole in the button, creating another "stitch" on the front, as shown. Pull this stitch as snug as you can.

Now, place the two strands of wire coming from the back of the button side by side, as shown.

...And then gently twist the wires together. Try to keep the part of the wire that's stitched through the button really snug at this stage - if it gets loose, your button will kind of flop around on its wire stem.

There are worse fates, but still...

If things have gotten a little loosey-goosey, you can often correct it by mashing the wire a bit with your pliers.

You can now cut the wire away from its spool. Cut the strand so it's about 30" in length. And then, feed the next button onto the end you just cut.

Pull this button along until it's placed where you'll want it in the finished piece. Then, repeat the wiring process to stitch this button into place and twist up a stem.

When you've finished the second button, you'll have something that looks like this, with a small space between the two stems.

Incidentally, if you want to create a little "leaf" in your stem, it's really easy. Just twist to the place where you want that leaf to be...

...And then make a little loop in one of the wires, like this.

Twist that little loop once or twice, and then continue twisting the stem.

Add as many button-stems as you like. When you're done adding buttons, you can cut away any excess wire, leaving two tails of about 4" , as shown.

Take a moment to gather the button stems closer together, or fan them out, or bend them a little - whatever you want them to do.

Pass the two ends of the wire through the button shank.

Wrap the ends of the wire around the button shank a few times, and then cut away any excess.

Then, use a nice, strong glue, like E6000 or Amazing GOOP, to glue a felt circle over the back of the button.

A little note on shanks, by the way: my blue button has a fairly shallow shank, which doesn't stick up from the back of the button too much, so I was able to glue the felt right over it. That red button, on the other hand, as a much deeper shank, so I cut a tiny slit in the felt so it would lay flatter.

...And now you can glue on a pin back. Your brooch might be a little top-heavy, especially if it has buttons sticking out from the top, so make sure you place your pin back near the top of the brooch to help balance it.

I hope you like! I could totally see these as little holiday gifty-things.

...Too early to use the "H" word?


Totally Great!

Oh, how cool! I hope everyone enjoys them! Thanks so much for this
nice comment. I'm so happy to hear you were inspired. XO

I made a bunch of these and I'm planning on giving them for christmas presents...thanks so much for the great idea!

so cute! something even i could make :)

So cute! I love the whimsical look and the tiny leaves are a great touch too.

I love these and I know a couple people the pins would be perfect gifts for! Thanks for sharing such fun ideas.

Awesome "toot" Sister D! Thanks for taking the time take all those great pics and explain things so exceptionally well! Love the shooting star effect. And red will be so awesome for holiday coat wearing!

Aw, thanks, Kathleen! XOXO

Fantastic! Thank you. I am *not* ready to use the H word yet but you're right - lovely little gifts. I will post this lovely tutorial on my blog tomorrow :)

How adorable! Thanks for the tutorial; never too early to use the "H" word when you're making stuff!

Never to early for the "H" word! :P

...Good advice from a woman who's been using it all year, and who will
be grinning at us from her cozy fireside during the last frenetic
weeks when we're all wishing we'd planned ahead. :-)

I agree with Nina Lise: It's never too early when you make stuff! I already saw a couple of holiday craft and cuisine magazines in stands. :-D

I exactly thought the same about making this brooch for little extra Christmas gifts. :-) And you're not using too many pictures at all. I could understand the craft just by looking at them.

oh! these look great :D I need to go through my button stash now...

Thanks! Happy sorting! :-)

Oooh those are SO FUN! I love they way they look against the sweaters. So very fall. Thanks so much for the great idea, time to raid the button box! It's gone though four women in my family and it's the most amazing treasure trove. I'll be linking as well.

I love these! Can't wait to give them a try, thanks for sharing =)

Very cute! What a great idea. And an inexpensive,original gift as no 2 would be exactly alike.

Very nice, and these are things I have just hanging around my craft box!! Thanks for sharing!

Love, especially, the ones with the little wire leaves....


what a great idea!! can't wait to try it out :D thanks!

Saw this on Craftzine blog and loved your idea! Great use of pretty buttons. Thanks for sharing!

I don't think its too early for the H word at all and I love these little guys! Thanks for sharing them!!

amazing tutorial...thanks...i love buttons....

I love this idea!!!!

Thanks for sharing!

Beautiful! Love these! You have taken the "gem tree" technique to a whole new dimension! I agree with Rachel - perfect for using treasures found in family heirloom button stashes.

And... I can see a whole advent calendar made out of these!

Ooh, that would be pretty!

Cool! I am going to link to this from Dollar Store Crafts soon!

Well those are happy little things aren't they? Very nice!

These are great! I have tons of buttons. Even the plain 4 hole buttons look great in these broaches!

Love this ideA

Beautiful! What a wonderfully simple idea - and they look very complicated. I love it!

What a cool tutorial!

Not too soon to think of the holidays, I don't think! Especially when we'll have busy hands between now and then to get things done. I'll be making these for my sisters-in-law! I linked to this on my weekly roundup (post is under my name) with admonitions for them to not click through. Wonder if they'll heed? :>) Thanks!!

Those are SOOOOO cute! ( digging through button stash now).

Neat! Thanks

Thanks for sharing your tips, Lenetta, and your photos. Your brooches
turned out lovely - and I love your idea of turning them into magnets!

I ended up making these, though my hubs brought me copper wire instead, and there definitely is a learning curve with the twisting! I had much better luck holding the button and twisting, rather than trying to twist the wire strands. And I had a few buttons break! DOH! I'm not sure I'm crazy about them as pins, so I'm thinking I'll offer to turn them into magnets if my SILs prefer. :>) You can see how mine turned out at my Handmade Christmas post (link is under my name) - thanks!!

Great project! I was intrigued by your comment on my Button post about your grandmother's button collection, and I came by to have a peek to see if I could find photos. This tutorial is tops!! And thanks for visiting my blog--it's great to have new visitors, especially such awesome ones!

Great project! I was intrigued by your comment on my Button post about your grandmother's button collection, and I came by to have a peek to see if I could find photos. This tutorial is tops!! And thanks for visiting my blog--it's great to have new visitors, especially such awesome ones!

Great idea...i will make that for

cute, cute, cute! but I'm not ready to use the "H" word yet, either. last weekend I was at Target, & they had all the Halloween stuff out - and Christmas stuff on an *adjacent* aisle! what the heck, Target? let us experience the joy of decorating for one holiday at a time, please.

WOW how very cool. Thank you!

WOW how very cool. Thank you!

How wonderful! And a what a great way to make a fabulous gift from simple materials. Oh - my mind is reeling at all the possibilities. Thank you for sharing!!!

Love it! Thanks.
Tokul Crafts

Love it! Thanks.
Tokul Crafts

omg...those are great! I am going to just have to try some tonite...time to dig into the vintage button barrel ( I am a button addict and i don't care!:) ) thank you for sharing!

 Goodness... How did I miss this tutorial? Very cool!

I really appreciate your tips and full, large photos with step-by-step instructions.  Probably some of the best instructions I've seen.  Thank you!