Button Crafts and Upcycle Ideas

Button Crafts and Upcycle Ideas

Button tins and boxes were a staple of most homes when I was growing up. Used for mending and making clothes, they were something that most mothers and grandmothers had with their sewing supplies. These days, I, too, keep a collection of buttons- not necessarily for mending tasks, however. But rather for button crafts like these- because there are some amazing ways to upcycle all those gorgeous vintage buttons.

“Coin” Charms

coin bracelet from vintage brass buttons

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Vintage metal buttons are often found by the jar load at antiques shops and even thrift stores. They just don’t draw the eye quite like colorful buttons in interesting shapes. But they are ideal for transforming into “coins” like these to make eclectic, globally-inspired jewelry crafts such as bracelets and necklaces.

Button Magnets

magnets made from vintage buttons

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Stacks of vintage buttons in descending size like this are the perfect thing to turn into magnets. For your fridge or memo board, they’re pretty to look at and get the job done. Plus, mixing and matching up the perfect stack is one of the most satisfying button crafts out there- and anyone can do it.

Charm Bracelet

diy charm bracelets from rhinestone buttons

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Vintage rhinestone buttons are stunning, and deserve to live a showy life outside the button tin. But if you don’t want to use them on a cardigan sweater, here’s a great alternative: a button charm bracelet. Particularly well-suited for shank buttons, this DIY bracelet is incredibly easy to make and looks absolutely stunning in person.

Button Crafts with Collages

button art that looks like a mitten

Image credit: Virginia Sweet Pea.

One of the most popular button crafts to make is a themed collage like this mitten art. Not only does it use a lot of buttons in one project, but you can either sew them or glue them to a surface, depending on your skill level (or preference). And anything goes when it comes to choosing a shape and button colors.

Wax Seal

diy wax seal with vintage metal buttons

Image credit: Hearth and Vine.

We may not write many letters anymore, and if or when we do, we don’t seal them with wax. But that doesn’t mean sealing wax is completely obsolete. Crafters, junk journal-makers, and artisans still love to tinker with wax seals featuring intricate designs. And who would have ever thought you could make your own wax seal with a vintage metal button like this?

Ornament Tops

upcycle a wooden spool as a christmas ornament

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Yes, this is a Christmas ornament made from an old wooden spool, but look closely at the top. A vintage button was repurposed as an ornament cap and an easy way to add a loop for the ornament hanger. It’s a subtle way to upcycle buttons, but comes in awfully handy for the right DIY ornament project.

Boho Bottle Charms

diy boho decor

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Old bottles plus scrappy ribbon plus coin charms come together in a whimsical way to create this Boho-inspired decor. But those aren’t coins at all- vintage metal buttons were used to create these charms, which keeps this craft project simple and inexpensive.

Button Crafts at Halloween

cute halloween ghost

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

These DIY ghosts take less than five minutes to create if you’ve got the materials on hand. Serger thread cones (in white, of course) are ideal for upcycling into friendly ghost decorations like these. And the secret to those “ghost faces” are small black buttons! These are actually small glass shank buttons, which were especially ideal to work with in this capacity, but any small black buttons would do.

Seasonal Button Art

indian corn art project

Image credit: Goodwill of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio.

Not all button collages need to be uniform in color. In fact, this version of Indian corn uses all sorts of earthy shades in a layered collage. Paired with a thrifted picture frame, it’s the ultimate upcycling project and button craft all in one.

Flower Brooches

Lapel flower or cloth flowers with flour sack fabric

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

This little fabric flower pin a quick and easy sewing project that is perfect for a beginner. At the center of it, a vintage button pulls it all together and secretly covers up the stitches! So your work doesn’t have to be perfect and flawless, straight and neat- hurray, hurray! Talk about a vintage button to the DIY rescue.

Button Crafts as Decor

oversized buttons as farmhouse decor

Image credit: Dukes and Duchesses.

Here’s a fun button craft that adds a little whimsy to your decor- a button garland. This version uses natural, neutral hues in a farmhouse-style way. But colorful buttons and cord/twine/string could just as easily be used for a more Bohemian-style variation.

Button Crafts for the Door

front door wreath with vintage buttons

Image credit: Thrifty Rebel Vintage/Color Me Thrifty.

A button craft that uses a lot of buttons and the (older) kids can help? What a great idea this wreath is– and you could totally personalize it for a holiday, season, or just coordinate it to your front door color. Either way, it’s a fun pop of color to great you every time you come home.

Button Pillow

acorn pillow with vintage buttons

Image credit: Salvaged Living.

This button-collage-on-a-pillow is a wonderful way to repurpose any number of things. A sweater to make the pillow…scrap fabric to make the acorn…and buttons to add to the acorn cap! And if you have a lot of wooden, leather, or brass buttons, this is a great seasonal project to use them on.

Button Crafts with Fabric Yo-Yos

fabric yo-yo magnets with wooden buttons

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Fabric yo-yos, or little rosettes made from gathered circles of fabric, were historically found on quilts. But they can be made for any number of individual projects these days, including this magnet craft that pairs up with wooden buttons from your stash.

Details for this project can be found in my book, “Crafting with Flannel”.

Assemblage Sign

junk sign with buttons and keys

Image credit: Petticoat Junktion.

Assemblage signs spell out symbolic words using all kinds of things- hardware, keys, scrap wood, and even buttons. In fact, buttons are a great element for “junk” signs like this because you can use them to create just about any letter in the alphabet, and they’re easy to glue onto your sign board, as well.

From Spooky to Cute

skull decor on an embroidery hoop

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Who knew skull art could be so…cute…and un-intimidating?? Thank the sweet little vintage buttons for that- they have a knack for de-spookifying even the creepiest of shapes, especially a skull. There truly is a button collage idea for every season and every holiday, isn’t there?

Button Crafts Galore!

vintage buttons for button crafts

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Wood, plastic, metal, glass- there are a lot of buttons out there just waiting for the right upcycle idea to come along. Thankfully, there are all sorts of button crafts and projects that they can be used for, from home decor, to jewelry, and so much more. The question is…which button project will you work on first?

Craft on!


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upcycle ideas for buttons

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Great ideas! I have a Pinterest board of nothing but button crafts. I’ve been meaning to make a framed button art of a Christmas tree for years and still have not gotten that on my schedule.

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