We’re back at it with our clasp war series, where I talk about the pros and cons of different types of clasps and my suggestions for using them. Today we are talking about a real classic – buttons!
So, first off, the obvious bit – buttons are freaking gorgeous and there are so many kinds! Below this paragraph, I have photos of two of my Stash Worm bracelets. The one on the left has a fancy Czech Glass button that I purchased at my local bead shop and the the one on the right is a random button I found in an old sewing kit. The color-matching and style possibilities are endless and the variety of aesthetic options means that you can always find the perfect button to add something special to your piece. Buttons never just look like hardware – they’re always a design element.
Another great thing about button is that you can find them anywhere. You can pick up unique vintage pieces at garage sale or find hand-carved wooden ones on Etsy. You can pick something loud to build a piece around or something simple to blend in. Because so many different crafts use buttons, you aren’t limited to what bead manufacturers put out. Buttons are everywhere and you’ll never hurt for options.
For me, this is the big issue I have with buttons – they can be hard to attach. For one thing, you gotta figure out what size to make the loop so that it fits over the button easily, but isn’t so loose that you risk the bracelet falling off. You basically have to use trial and error and that can be annoying – and all the stitching, un-stitching, and re-stitching can even start to fray your thread. It can be frustrating.
You also need to take into account that your loop can make your bracelet look lopsided if your button on the opposite side is snug up against your beading. In my SuperDuo Rosette bracelets below, I left some space between the button and beading so that when the bracelet is clasped, the button looks centered. It seems to solve the problem, but it takes a little more forethought than you would usually need for your clasp.
The other issue with buttons is that they can be hard to fasten if the loop is tight. The orientation of the button can make for some weird wrist maneuvering when trying to fasten by yourself. Personally, I don’t think it’s a huge challenge, but if you usually use, say, magnetic clasps, the inconvenience will be noticeable.
So, generally I use buttons for bracelet clasps because it’s a bit less secure than I prefer for a necklace. It can be a bit fussy to make sure the loop is the exact perfect size for the button, but if you manage it, the added element of style and seamless blend between clasp and beading can be really hard to beat. I love it when a clasp doesn’t look like hardware.
What do you guts think? Do you use buttons? Have any tricks for figuring out the loop size for each one? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so pop a comment below if you have anything to add!
I’m wondering if loop should be length of buttonhole you would make corresponding to button size, but doubled? Because you are making a loop
I love buttons, only problem is I never want to part with them.
Omg, YES. I definitely have to have a deep heart-to-heart with myself over my button stash whenever it comes time to use one, haha.
Another great article Sam! Buttons can be more of a challenge to attach and size but the more customized, personalized look is worth the extra effort. Plus for those with metal allergies, glass buttons, especially those gorgeous Czech made from vintage molds are a great alternative!
I use buttons on most of my Kumihimo projects–bracelets and necklaces. I feel they are more secure. I only use buttons with a shank and fairly smooth edges and make the loop just loose enough for the button to go through. In that way, my buttons have an extremely slim chance of coming open. I have yet to have that happen. When I show anyone how to make this type of closure, I feel secure in telling them they will never loose their bracelet or necklace!
I bet the relative stiffness of a beaded kumihimo works perfect with a button clasp! The tip about smooth edges and preferring shank buttons is great info. Thanks, Betty!
I have fallen in love with a certain button. It’s the tree of life–thats all I’ve been using lately. It comes in gold, silver & copper. Love them.
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