Beach Button Art

My fabulous and CRAFTY mother-in-law has the ultimate button collection.  I find myself drawn to these buttons like glitter to glue. Fortunately for me, she is extremely generous with her buttons.  The end result is that I have tons of buttons.  For the longest time the buttons just sat and waited.  Although I loved the buttons, I just wasn’t inspired to do anything with them.

Then it happened.  One night I had a dream I was sitting at my crafting table, surrounded by boxes of buttons when all of a sudden, the boxes/buttons came crashing down on me, killing me.  Oh my!! My epitaph read, “SHE NEVER USED THE BUTTONS!”  So, I am on a button craze in the hopes of cheating the button reaper and avoiding the death by buttons thing.

5 x 7 canvas
Acrylic paints
Paint brushes
Hight temp. hot glue gun
High temp. hot glue gun sticks

First, I used the acrylic paints to paint a beach scene on the canvas, making sure to cover the entire canvas.  For my project that meant painting a white sky, beige sand and blue ocean.  This is important because the buttons will not cover every inch of the canvas and you don’t want white canvas peeking out from behind the buttons.

Next, while the painted canvas was drying, I used another canvas (same size and unpainted) to layout my buttons.  This is when my OCD kicked in major! I swear I sorted, laid out and re-sorted hundreds of buttons until I achieved something I could live with.

Finally, once the canvas was dried and after I had a general layout of my beach scene, I started transferring the buttons to the painted canvas, securing each button to the canvas using my hot glue gun.

The end result was better than I envisioned.  I am absolutely thrilled with it and will definitely be doing more of these “paint by button” projects.

PROS of this project:  Some of the buttons gifted to me are somewhat old and valuable.  I tried to use them in a way that would not ruin them or, more importantly, offend my mother-in-law (she really does love her buttons).  If, for whatever reason, I wanted to reclaim any of the buttons used in this button art, I can simply peel them off the canvas and peel off the hot glue.  Although I cannot promise this works with all buttons, I tried it with my buttons and it worked.  🙂

CONS of this project:  For those looking for instant gratification, this project may not be for you.  Between waiting for paint to dry, sorting hundreds of buttons, laying out the buttons and then gluing the buttons, it is time consuming.

TIPS:  The majority of buttons I used had flat backs.  If you don’t have flat back buttons, you can always use an X-Acto knife to slice a small slit in the canvas to slide the button shank into.  Another option is to use an X-Acto knife, or a pair of trimmers to snip off the button’s thread shank.

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