Stored in jars, cookie tins, the junk drawer, or a sewing kit—we all have a stash of extra buttons. To a child, a jar of extra buttons is gold. Dump them on a table and watch your children light up (their eyes, not a cigarette—jeez) . Oh the possibilities and fun your kids can have with buttons! In this week’s Camp Ask Holly, I’ll show you how to keep kids busy and having fun with buttons:
Five ways other than sewing to use buttons:
- Dye them
- Make a game or game pieces with them like The Snowperson Game
- Create collages to photograph
- Make charms and bracelets
- Create 3-d frameable artwork
Most of us have plenty of extra white shirt buttons. Did you know you could dye buttons? Yep, dye them. Rit dye is easy to find and very inexpensive, as well as coming in every color of the rainbow. Using Rit dye in a glass mason jar add two teaspoons of dye to one cup of boiling water, stir and then add buttons. After about a minute put the jar in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds. After about five minutes scoop a button out, rinse it under cold water and check if you have the desired color. If you would like the color a bit darker, put the button back in the microwave for 30 -60 seconds. The key to making the dye stick is high heat. This process using boiling water is dangerous. Supervision is recommended if a child would like to help. Never let a child handle boiling water.
Using thin elastic cord (I found some in one of our many beading kits) string an assortment of buttons along the cord and tie the two lose end together.
Using thin wire cut off a small piece of wire and twist the end with pliers (for full instructions click here). String the one end of the wire through the button and then through a charm bracelet and twist the end to keep it secured in place. My ten year old figured this out with a tiny bit of practice and kept busy for an hour using extra fun buttons in different shapes I picked up at the craft store.
I printed out a large E from my computer and lightly traced the letter onto the paper I wanted for my background. Using my dyed buttons, I covered the E with overlapping buttons here and there. You could glue the buttons down and frame the letter or photograph the letter and frame the photo.
Dump the button onto the middle of a table and have you child sort them by color or size. My six year old made “Mr. Buttonhead” and glued some together, dumped glitter on them and called the homemade Bakugans. He gets an A+ for random, outside the shirt, button thinking.
So what do you do with all of your buttons? I asked my Facebook friends what they do with all of their buttons. Here are some of funny and most random answers:
- In the button basket. I take years to sew buttons back on, but I refuse to toss anything because of a missing button.
- Toss em. The chances of me ever having my @#% in gear enough to actually sew it back on are slim to none. If I were to love a piece of clothing enough to do that, it will have more character with a button that doesn’t match anyhow (not that that has yet to happen.) I am a big believer in safety pins.
- Flick them at people that annoy me
- And the most radical answer: I use them to sew back onto the article of clothing after I’ve lost one.
Summer craft questions? Just Ask Holly!