Own Your Initial: DIY Framed Button Artwork

After 21 non-stop years of school, I’m used to being busy. So, it’s no surprise that my graduated and unemployed state this summer has left me a little bored. The problem with this is that I a) don’t handle boredom very well and b) discovered over those 21 years of school that the busier I am, the more I get accomplished. And I have a lot to get accomplished — namely job applications.

I’ve been doing pretty good on that front though. Unfortunately, however, you can only fill out so many job applications in one sitting, so I have to find other things to do with my time. Not to mention that any down time I do have leaves me feeling guilty and depressed about not having a job in the first place.

So, I’ve taken to other pursuits, like scouring Pinterest for ideas. One of my favorites on the site are the various examples of Button Artwork that are constantly floating around.

I tried this particular project out once already when I made one in the Spring for my cousin’s daughter. I was supposed to make one for her son — I had all the supplies and everything — but life (namely my Master’s thesis) got in the way and I never made it. Lucky for you though, I finally got around to finishing it and remembered to document the process!

What You’ll Need:

  • Buttons (color of your choice)
  • White cardstock
  • Hot glue gun (and hot glue sticks)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil (with eraser)
  • Photo frame — NOTE: Since the button art is not completely flat, you will need to choose a deeper frame that allows for more than a flat piece of paper to be placed inside.

Instructions:

Step 1:  Assemble your supplies. For this project, I used lime green buttons that I bought at Pat Catan’s. They were less than $5 and I have more than enough left over for another button-related project. I also used regular white cardstock as the backing. Finally, I bought a plain white 8″x10″ frame from IKEA.

Pat Catan’s sells assorted bags of buttons in various colors. In addition to green, they have pink, blue, teal, white/pearl, and more depending on availability.

Because this button art is for a child, I decided to use a white frame and white background.

Step 2: Plan out your artwork ahead of time — you don’t want to start gluing and have to start over because your artwork is crooked or doesn’t fit on the paper. Using a ruler and pencil, draw out the letter you are creating on the cardstock. Make sure it’s centered and looks even. Tip: place the cardstock in the frame for a second to make sure the letter looks okay.

I traced the letter P on the cardstock lightly in pencil. Later, I erased it slightly so that that pencil marks wouldn’t show through on the finished product.

Step 3: Spread out your buttons on the table and plug in the glue gun.

Step 4: Start arranging buttons on the letter you traced. Try to vary the sizes of the buttons as you go so that you have both bigger and smaller buttons next to each other. Since my buttons were not all the exact same shad of green, I also tried to avoid putting too many dark or light green buttons next to each other.

Before you start gluing, lay some of the buttons out to get an idea of how they look and fit next to one another.

Step 5: Start gluing! The letter that you traced on the paper is meant to be a general guide — don’t worry about going outside the lines slightly. Also, don’t worry about the gaps that will show through between the buttons. Later, you can go back and add a smaller second layer of buttons to cover some of the holes.

CAUTION: You will be handling a hot glue gun to secure the buttons to the cardstock. Be very careful as the glue is extremely hot and can burn you if it comes in contact with your skin. Please use extra caution when applying the hot glue to the buttons as they have a very small surface area.

Just have fun selecting and gluing the buttons — don’t worry about perfection!

Step 6: Once the letter is completely filled in, go back and place a few additional buttons in a “second layer” to cover any gaps that exist.  Don’t worry about covering all the gaps — the second layer can cover up any mistakes, globs of glue, or pencil marks as well. It also gives the project additional depth.

Here’s what the art work looks like after both the first and second button layers have been completed.

Step 7: After the artwork has dried and cooled completely, place it in the frame.

And you’re done!

The finished product!

Another, close up view, in the frame.

From start to finish, this project only took me about an hour and a half. Some letters may take longer than others.

I’d love to see your button artwork! Let me know if you attempt your own (or someone else’s) initial and definitely feel free to contact me with any questions!

1 thought on “Own Your Initial: DIY Framed Button Artwork

  1. Looks great! Coincidentally, I made one of these the other night for Brian’s sister-in-law’s baby shower with a big “W” in blue and green buttons. I used a rustic-looking frame from Goodwill, but I need to add a sawtooth or something to hang it on the back.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s