A Vintage Button Wreath
"What am I going to do with all these vintage beads and buttons?" I was asked this recently by a friend and fellow bead collector. Immediately I thought of my own collection, tucked safely away in my bead case. Its invisible except to my eyes when I browse through. Why haven't I done anything with them? Well, some of them are waiting for the right project, and others I'll probably never make into anything. I just like them. My friend said it wasn't a good enough reason. That it's not fair for a bead to live in a bead case forever. That got me thinking.
A few days later I was sitting in my dining room staring off into space, when I realized I was staring at a lovely wreath that was a gift over the holidays from my neighbor. Its not really a holiday wreath, exactly. Although, a pine wreath with acorns and dark berries could be used for a holiday decoration, I think its fine to leave it up all the time. Maybe its my passion for acorns. Whatever the excuse, its on my wall to stay. Then my earlier epiphany collided with my beautiful wreath, and voila! An idea was born. What better way to display these old beauties than in a wreath that I can leave up all the time?
A Home for Buttons
I'm certainly not the first to make one of these button wreaths. If you hunt craft fairs, holiday bazaars, specialty shops, and the internet you'll find many examples of beautiful ones for every occasion. I'm sure there are many ways to create these wreaths, but I'll tell you my idea.
How to Begin
You'll need an armature. An armature is "a skeletal framwork built as a support on which another medium is adhered." Its the hidden base underneath the beading that supports the beads. It can be a styrofoam circle, a fabric pillow, or whatever pre-made wreaths are available. You can find then in raffia, straw, cardboard, and wire, among other materials. I just walked through the craft store looking for a shape I liked. I guess you can make this project with any shape, as lond as it can be covered with fiber, ribbon or fabric in order to sew the buttons on.
Wrap Wrap Wrap
Next I chose a wide ribbon and wound it around and around, covering the whole thing. The nice thing about ribbon is that its fabric you can sew into. By covering the armature with ribbon, the armature is hidden and you've createda a surface to work from. It doean't matter if the armature is metal or straw. Ribbon will make the back pretty, and also add a bit of color of you've got gaps in between the buttons. I secured the loose end with a touch of glue on the front side where I knew I could cover it with buttons and it would be hidden. Then the back would stay nice.
Adding ButtonsYour buttons can be arranged any way you'd like, such as color, theme, subject or in a random fashion. Just attach a needle and thread such as Fireline to one spot, and add a button. Then travel under the ribbonto come out in a new spot where you want to add the next button. You can stack buttons on top of one another, put them side by side, or make them spread out so that the ribbon shows in between. I imagine that you could use a glue gun to attach the buttons. But them you'd have glue all over them, and you'd have a heck of a time using them for something else much later in if you wanted to take them off the wreath.
Hang it UpJust sew a ribbon into the back so that you're able to hand the wreath. There's no special way to do it. Just tack it to either side and then make sure its secure.
What's the Occasion?
Using certain colors will give your wreath a holiday feel. Red and green, or blue and white, or silver and gold are typical of December holidays. You can use reds for Valentine's day, or beach tones for summer. Go small for a wreath ornament, or large for wall decor. Hand them form doorknobs, bedposts, drawer pulls or on the wall. Whatever you decide to do with them, it's a nice way to keep your button collection within eyes reach all during the year. And anyone who spots them is going to have some serious button envy!
"In whatever one does, there must be a relationship between the eye and the heart." --Henri Cartier-Bresson