Metal Buttons for Coin Jewelry and a Boho Bracelet

Metal Buttons for Coin Jewelry and a Boho Bracelet

I love coin jewelry, but it can be expensive and difficult to make. It has great bohemian style and feels exotic to wear. When I stumbled across an artisan who has created a gorgeous line of “coin” jewelry by upcycling the metal buttons of days gone by, I was instantly smitten. The button jewelry looked JUST like old coins (or even pirate coins!) and I knew I had to give it ago.Who would have thunk it? It’s a GENIUS upcycling idea. And silly me, I’ve always passed up metal buttons in favor of pretty plastic and glass ones.

Well, not anymore! I couldn’t wait to try to make some coin jewelry from metal buttons and create the boho bracelet or gypsy jewelry of my dreams.

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Upcycling the Metal Buttons into Old Coins or Pirate Coins

First, I started collecting some metal buttons from local shops and online Etsy stores. I wanted all sorts of sizes and designs.

Having a mixture of metallics was also ideal so that I could make gold coins and silver coins alike.

I already had a blacksmith anvil which I had used to flatten spoons for my cameo spoon pendants.

And let me tell you- smashing metal buttons is childishly fun! They start out as little metal air pillows, and end up looking like pirate coins

And no, you don’t need to remove the shanks first- they’ll flatten just fine without issue.

How to flatten the metal buttons to become pieces of eight for a Boho bracelet

Pro tip – wrapping the metal buttons in soft fabric before flattening on the anvil (or concrete pad) will help prevent metal scuffing during the “smashing” process. Just remember that you aren’t driving in stubborn nails. Try a few light taps with your hammer first to determine how much “smashing” force is necessary.

In my experience, metal buttons flattened pretty easily with little to no effort.

See what I mean? They look like pirate coins or pieces of eight, don’t they? I would have LOVED having these for my backyard adventures when I was a little girl.

They’d also be perfect for a Halloween pirate costume or for a pirate themed birthday party, too.

Pirate coins or pieces of eight from metal buttons to make the coin jewelry

Coin Charm for a Boho Bracelet

Once the metal buttons were upcycled into pirate coins, I used a simple awl to pop holes in the coins. To do so, I placed them on a piece of scrap wood first and then punched a hole near the top.

If you were making a coin ring, perhaps, you wouldn’t need the hole. But for a coin necklace or coin bracelet, the hole was necessary.

Punching a hole in button jewelry to add a jump ring for making a boho bracelet

After the holes were punched through the metal buttons, I gently hammered the back of each hole to flatten the sharp metal bits. Then, I threaded jump rings through the holes.

Now I had coin charms that were perfect for making coin jewelry!

Adding a jump ring to pirate coins from metal buttons to make the gypsy jewelry

I measured a length of chain that would work well on my wrist, and began attaching the jump rings to the chain.

Don’t these metal buttons look perfect as coin charms for gypsy jewelry?

Boho Bracelet and Coin Jewelry from Metal Buttons 

After I attached all of the metal buttons to the chain, I had the boho bracelet of my dreams. It was lightweight and shiny, and cost just a few dollars to make.

Gypsy jewelry or coin jewelry with metal buttons that were flattened into old coins

The honest truth is that I’m obsessed with this idea for button jewelry. The process is cathartic and fun, and the end result is…well…charming.

I also love the mixture of gold coins and silver coins and how different each one is. Flattening the vintage buttons didn’t remove the designs, but gave them that “old coin” look that I wanted.

Button jewelry and boho bracelet by upcycling the vintage buttons into pirate coins

I don’t know why I think of coin jewelry as being boho jewelry or exotic, but I do. Perhaps it’s because I always saved coins from my (limited) world travels…

Coin jewelry and a boho bracelet with vintage buttons that have been upcycled into pirate coins

I really do love it, and I have plenty of metal buttons left to make a coin necklace. Or maybe several necklaces!

Update! Not only is this idea great for gypsy jewelry, but I’ve also created this Bohemian decor idea with metal buttons.

Bohemian decor with antique bottles and metal buttons turned into a coin pendant

And if you enjoyed this upcycling idea for DIY jewelry, then you may also be interested in the friendship necklaces / mother daughter jewelry I made from clip on earrings!

Friendship necklaces, BFF necklaces, or mother daughter jewelry made from a pair of vintage earrings for Mother's Day gift by Sadie Seasongoods

Craft on!

S

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Comments

  1. This is gorgeous! My dad was on a ship in the Navy and collected coins from all the countries he visited. I now have that collection and have always wanted to do something with them. I wonder if I can recreate this with actual coins, rather than smashed buttons. I love how this turned out!

  2. That is a really creative idea. I like the way it can be done with stuff you already have around the house.

  3. Estamarie Fairchild says

    Did you remove the shank or just smash that too?!

  4. You are hammering out some great ideas here. Sometimes I get stuck on a particular form, like a bottle cap, but the idea of smashing it flat opens up more options. Nice post – found you on the Makers Link Party. –Lorraine

  5. What a clever idea and so therapeutic too:-) I have a drawer full of these metal buttons. Thanks so much for the inspiration and for sharing at VIParty.

  6. I found this link on the Smart Schoolhouse link up and I love this. I used to have a necklace like this, but it broke. I am looking forward to making one myself, but I don’t hae any of the buttone. Off to Etsy I go!

  7. I just love this new twist on button bracelets! I made them for a few years until arthritis took over but I never thought to smash them first! I think you have a one of a kind, fabulous gift for yourself!

  8. Sharon Welck says

    This is very creative…great job & thanks for another fun project to try…

  9. What a great way to use all those gold buttons (yes, the ones usually tossed aside in favor of the more “vintagy” looking ones.) Thanks for the inspiration.

  10. Love this idea. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Oh my gosh this is too cool! I have a zillion old metal buttons lying around, I’ll have to try this asap!

  12. Well, you did make it look easy! Thanks for sharing with the Thursday Blog Hop!

  13. Very pretty! Thanks for sharing on my Friday Favorites linkup!

  14. This is absolutely beautiful! Found your post on Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop:) While I am a painter by heart, I do love to play with jewelry!

  15. Wow,..what a cool idea. Love the vintage charm.

  16. I love your coin bracelet, I have all the supplies but cant get back in the mood.

    Thanks for sharing on The Oh My Heartsie Girls WW this week.
    Have a great weekend!
    Karren
    Oh My Heartsie Girls -Host

  17. Those are buttons?! SO COOL! Thanks so much for joining us over at the #HomeMattersParty – be sure to send your blogging friends our way! And we hope to see YOU again next week!

  18. Love this!! I’ve been planning on smashing some of my metal buttons too. I only hope mine turn out as awesome as yours!

  19. That’s a smashing good idea:) I would love to do this with coins I’ve collected from traveling.

  20. I love this. It is so pretty! Thank you for sharing on Show Me Saturday!

  21. Good idea! I would have never thought of this! visiting from Skip to my Lou Monday

  22. Love this bracelet. Great tutorial. Thank you very much for joining in the celebration of #purebloglove, we enjoy having you each week. I hope to see you on Thursday at 8PM, EST through Sunday night. ~Cydnee

  23. gor.geous! Simply love this – I never thought of hammering down metal buttons before. And using an awl to punch a hole – mind. blown! You completely rocked this inspiration!

  24. Just beautiful !!!
    I’ve been hammering down tea light tins for a month now so this would be right up my ally LOL – and would never have thought of this in a million years – pinning !!!
    xox

  25. Great idea!
    Love the bracelet.
    Kathy

  26. Sarah this is just gorgeous! Really different and vintage looking. I wonder if you’d do me the honour of sharing this idea at my very new and shiny blog linky party, Five Star Frugal? We’d love to have you….Mimi xx
    http://atrayofbliss.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/five-star-frugal-6.html

  27. This is so beautiful! I love it! Thanks for sharing at Totally Terrific Tuesday!

  28. Oh my gosh I LOVE this! I can use this method for my belly dance and renaissance faire costumes!! Pinning to share, I’m serious – I love this so much I can hardly stand it!

  29. balmtomysoul says

    Sadie, these are beautiful! I can’t believe they are smashed buttons. What a perfect and unique gift for someone special!

  30. Oh I like your coin button bracelet.
    I will try to make me one however I am not good at closing the O ring once attached to any bracelet, seems like I loose charms?
    I have lots metal buttons so like I said i’m trying this

    you just can’t beat a charm bracelet

    Janice

  31. Hi Sarah…thankyou for sharing your cleverness at Five Star Frugal this week. This was one of my favourite projects for the week! I look forward to more of your gorgeous work….Mimi xxx

  32. Sharon | Her Organized Chaos says

    I love this so much. It is very pretty and vintage looking. Great tutorial. Sharing! Thanks for sharing at Totally Terrific Tuesday last week! Can’t wait to see what you have been working on this week!

  33. Beautiful bracelet!

  34. Love this necklace. It is stunning. Pinned it. Love the name “Sadie” We have a beautiful yellow lab puppy with green eyes. Sadie means “beautiful” and “princess” It seemed to just fit her so that is her name 🙂

  35. Great idea! I have tons of buttons I could use 🙂

  36. Jann Olson says

    Love this idea! I have quite a few of these type of buttons. Can’t wait to have fun smashing them! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

  37. diane in texas says

    ooooooooooooooh myyyyyyyy gosh. thank you so much for this tutorial….I gotta get me an anvil ASAP!!!!!

    • Hahaha! Do you have a Northern Tool in your town? That’s where I got my cutesy little anvil.

      • diane in texas says

        I’m so excited….I went out yesterday for all of my supplies (I used to collect buttons…I have enough for 60 bracelets!). had to order an anvil from home depot (2 weeks!), but in the meantime, I ordered a jewelers block from amazon that should be here by end of week….hopefully that will work for me.
        I could be smashing buttons for days. 🙂
        question: there are lots of different kinds of shanks on the back — did you smash any and all kinds? maybe it’s all softer than I suspect.

        • Woohoo!! And yes, you won’t believe how soft that metal is, so the shank will flatten out no problem. I do recommend wrapping the button in soft fabric- like an old undershirt- just to keep it from scratching.

          Have fun smashing!!

  38. Love this idea. I had to find a collective way to pin this to my Pinterest board so I ended up collaging some of your pictures…..thought I’d share how that turned out. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/114067803039843909/

  39. Hi there, I just recently came across the smashed button jewelry idea. It’s such a great idea!
    One word of caution, though– I think some of the vintage silver ones are actually made of pewter and therefore contains lead. Smashing them may create some amount of lead dust, which is hazardous to your health, so it’s probably a good idea to wipe the work area clean and also wipe the smashed silver buttons to remove the dust, just to be safe. Just my 2 cents…

Trackbacks

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