Many moons ago I fashioned a necklace from vintage buttons passed down from family. Having no experience whatsoever in jewelry-making, I strung the buttons and beads on a length of elastic cord and it lasted for a good while. It was imperfect, but lovely, and not a day went by where I wore it and didn't get a compliment from passersby.
Recently, the elastic cord gave its last and the buttons and beads went cascading across the dining room floor. They've been sitting on a silver tray patiently waiting for me to summon the courage to restring them in a more permanent and artful fashion.
Recently, my friends at Lark Jewelry and Beading sent me a review copy of Candie Cooper's new book, Necklaceolgy. It was love at first glace -- just look at this cover...
On page 39 I found the "Kiss the Bride" necklace tutorial. Candie's technique of using three strands of wire was just the trick I had been looking for to string those tricky buttons into one flowing rope. I'll be sharing my full review of the book and giving away a copy later this week.
A vintage button necklace is a wonderful project for anyone who wants to showcase a button collection, enjoys big baubles, and has little or no prior jewelry making experience. The crystal beads are actually synthetic (so the necklace doesn't weigh 20 pounds). You can find them by the bag or container-full in the floral decor section of stores like Target or Walmart (for $5-$9). They're sold for filling vases, but have holes drilled through to use as beads.
- 84 (approx) vintage buttons of various sizes (I used a variety that included pearl, shell, silver and rhinestone buttons along with various shades of white and ivory)
- 15 faux cut crystal beads (see section above for source)
- 75 inches of silver beading wire
- 4 silver crimp beads
- 2 silver crimp bead covers
- 3-in-1 tool (jewelry pliers)
- Toggle clasp
1. Cut three pieces of beading wire 25 inches long. Secure them together using a crimp bead clamped at 2 inches.
2. String all three wires through a crystal bead.
3. String a button on one of the wires. String a second button on the next wire. Continue with the next wire and continue stringing on alternating wires until you've created a nice cluster of buttons (6-8). It may take some playing around with to get the desired grouping.
4. String all three wires through a crystal bead.
5. Continue alternating with button clusters and crystal beads until you have about 2" of wire left. You'll want to end with a crystal bead.
6. Thread a crimp bead over the three wires and down to the last crystal bead. Clamp in place with jewelry pliers.
7. Thread wires on one end of the necklace through a crimp bead. Bring wires through the end of one of the toggle clasp pieces. Bring wires back down through the crimp bead and pull through to tighten the loop on the toggle clasp. Clamp the crimp bead in place. Trim the wires.
8. Cover the loose wire ends with a crimp bead cover and clamp in place.
9. Repeat with the second side of the toggle clasp on the opposite end of the necklace.
This project has been shared with the Crafty Soiree at