Monday, August 29, 2011

DIY: How to Create a Framed Button Artwork

I was inspired by an issue of Homes and Antiques (a UK magazine) to create my own framed, button artwork. The magazine suggested that button lovers discover the work of Vicky Cockell...

Cockell will make you one of those works for a mere $500. Or... You can save the cash and make your own Cockell-inspired piece. Let's do it!

For this project, you will need...
- A frame
- A piece of cardstock or other stiff paper
- A glue gun
- Glue sticks
- A bunch of buttons
- A ruler (A T-square works best)
- A pencil, eraser

1. This project works best with a solid colored frame. Make sure that your cardstock or stiff paper fits into the frame, then begin by using the ruler to create a border on the paper, centering your design. Mark edges lightly with a pencil.

2. For my project, I chose to recreate Robert Indiana's "LOVE". If you'd like to do this, dissect the area allotted for the design into four equal squares. Lightly sketch the letters in each block.

3. Warm up the glue gun! While it's gaining heat, go through your buttons and pick out your favorites. Here's a tip: Adding in silver and gold buttons makes it really pop! Also, I picked out round things (to add to the repeating element of circles) that weren't buttons to include in my work. For example, you can use decorative brads, pearls, beads, or rhinestones (some examples are below).

4. This is the most fun but time intensive part: Using the glue gun, glue each individual button into your sketch. Layering the buttons creates a thick effect which is visually more successful than laying buttons next to one another. Think of the work as a coloring sheet, only you're using buttons to fill in the design.

5. Pull any loose, stringy "hairs" (sometimes I call them "wispys") that the glue gun might've left behind.

6. Frame your work and voila! You're finished!

I used all kinds of round things, including brads (that shiny thing), cameos I cast (the green thing on the left), and a weird teddy bear cabochon that I got online.
In a way, this becomes a self-portrait. I added in things like cardinals (my totem animal) and a coca-cola button (my father's worked there since before I was born).
I filled in gaps on the sides with pearls and plastic bbs I found on the beach.

This project took me about 5 hours to complete. If you make it large enough, the piece is a wonderful addition to any living room and makes an excellent focal point. Good luck!
-Katie B.

You can learn more about Vicky Cockell at Hello Geronimo.


  1. That's really cute. I've always wanted to try something like this. Thanks for the great, easy to follow tutorial.

  2. Amazing, I love it! I so need to do this and I think my daughter would love to do something like this! Love the deer too!


  3. Anonymous3.9.12

    I just love this! I am definitly going to make one as i a looking for neat funky DIY projects for my livingroom wall. I might try it using all one color group of buttons..