How can I reuse or recycle random spare buttons?

ButtonsWe’ve had a message from Amy:

I have a large box of spare buttons, all odd, different colours, different sizes, the ones you get on items of clothes in case you lose one.

Does anyone have any useful suggestions for re-using? Looking forward to your suggestions

Woo! buttons! I love spare buttons! :)

And they’re a hot crafting item at the moment too: I love the idea of button bouquets, but there are also button coasters (perfect for lots of less exciting buttons), collages and using them as embellishments for boring shoes or tops.

My favourite pairs of earrings are made from buttons too: before I trained myself to wear dangly ones, I just glued by favourite buttons onto stud findings but now I’ve got a pair that are simply three colourful buttons on headpins – I wear them all the frickin’ time (even now as I type this ;) ).

Around the home, I’ve seen them used instead of gravel in clear fake-flower vases or on top of the soil in plant pots — and if you can’t think of a reuse for them, put them in a bag on eBay and button-cravers like me will snap them up ;)

Any other suggestions?

(Photo by nkzs)

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31 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle random spare buttons?”


  1. nelly says:

    I LOVE Buttons! You can make badges out of them using ribbons and a button, or just decorating pper pictures or dding them to tshirts to make them look cool or same thing i said for badge but instead of sticking it on safety pin stick it (with ribbons) on hir band and other stuff like that

  2. nelly says:

    o and also you could take them to chrity shops they normally have loads there so they will probably be useful

  3. rebecca says:

    In high school, my sister made a necklace out of buttons–she just strung a thin black leather cord through the holes, so that maybe 8 or so buttons of different, but coordinating, sizes, shapes and colors hung together in a row. I used to borrow that necklace all the time!

  4. Danielle says:

    At Rubbish Revamped craft workshops we use buttons as embellishments for many craft items as well as making really cute little hearts. Have a look in the gallery of the website for inspiration. http://rubbishrevamped.wordpress.com/photo-gallery/

  5. reverenddave says:

    maybe glu them to a small wall of the house some where that needs brightening up :)

  6. Danielle says:

    I just happened to ‘bump into’ this whilst looking for something else (as you do…) and couldn’t resist posting it. Absolutely gorgeous flowerpot decorated with buttons on this blog http://blogs.diynetwork.com/diy/creative_juice/archives/2008/07/newspaper_colum.html

  7. Marlies says:

    I managed to recycle buttons and the tops from my Canon ink cartridges into magnets. Check it out here: http://www.mcuniverse.com/Button-Magnets.1749.0.html

  8. carol says:

    how about donating them to a school or Scout troop? maybe story time at the library

  9. miss light says:

    what I did with mine was..
    sorted them into colours, and then filled empty baby food jars with each different colour.. and placed the jars of buttons on the windowsill in a rainbow.. it is a nice way to bring lots of colour while still looking tidy.. I hope that made sense..

  10. Lizzy says:

    Just decorate everything!
    Make a button brooch, make button jewellery, sew them onto shoes, make noticeboard/fridge magnets , use them as counters for a board game…buttons have endless uses =D

  11. Lucia says:

    I use them to do jewels: http://www.jblarts.com/c_buttons.html and the ones on the site are not the only ones. Then you can use them as eyes for animals or dolls made out of old clothes/socks. If they are many you can make a curtain.

  12. nelly says:

    Also in http://www.lunacyboutique.co.uk/button-rings-p-717.html there are rings made out of buttons nd they look very unique nd cool. And as i said before give them to charity shops beause people like me LOVEEEEEEEEE buttons, they are good to adding to bags and tops and badges and hairbands e.t.c.

  13. eb says:

    find an interesting jar that you can actually fully fill, I do the same w/ bottle caps. I’ve seen them used as friendly poker chips.

  14. lanayako says:

    use a segment of elastic band, stringing thru the holes and make a tie. then use it to tie a pony tail.

  15. Jodie R. says:

    Fill a mason jar with them and buy a lamp kit to turn it into a lamp.

    You could also make them into mini wreaths for Chrismtas ornaments. You can find pictures online if you google it

  16. jackie says:

    i like to buy old picture frames from thrift stores and make button paintings.

    if you have a large variety you can use like buttons to make shapes and even detailed works, but you need a large frame, or you can make an abstract.

    just glue a spare bit of cardboard to the back of the frame, and hot glue the buttons in place.

    ps: you can also paint over the buttons, they make a very interesting, almost organic, texture.

  17. denaK says:

    When we had the chickenpox in 1963, my sisters, brother and I used the buttons in my mother’s button box to create a giant mural of a chicken on the living room floor. Mom still has the old b&w pics of it and us with scabby faces.

  18. sarah says:

    You can also glue or sew on buttons on headbands.

  19. Patty says:

    Glue one on the bottom of a chair or anything that wobbles a little. This will level up the item and noboby ever knows…

  20. nelly says:

    o and also today i met someone wearing a necklace made out of buttons, they have to be a bit coloured themed but it works and use a double tread and just sew through the holes! ( i think ) it looked rly unique and cool!:D

  21. nelly says:

    o and also you can probably put interesting fabric over a big button to make it more interesting if you are adding it to anything :P

  22. sonya says:

    Love buttons- I have used them to mosaic a vase…looks great! Also, you can sew lots of random buttons on a sweater or shirt…great way to “freshen it up” or cover a small stain. Recently, I used them to make a pendant. Just stacked and glued 3-5 buttons on top of each other- worked out great!

  23. Angel Oakley says:

    Great suggestions. I agree that buttons are great embellishments to all sorts of home items: Tissue Boxes, Frames, Vases, Table legs, Mirror edges, and the like.

    If you want to get rid of them, make an offer on Craigs list for craft supplies.

    Someone is bound to pick that up.

  24. Shorty says:

    They made a button book on Blue’s clues. The larger buttons were used for the sun, wheels, etc. I’d say if you have a staggering amount, give a bunch to your local preschool, they eat that up. I like the earring idea a whole lot, and the coasters look promising. Just look around and find any crazy idea that could use a button or two, there are so many options.

  25. addy says:

    there’s a very cool diner in my hometown that glued hundreds of buttons to the blade parts of the ceiling fans.

    another way to use them is if you have kids that are learning basic math (addition, subtraction) they help to show how it works, almost like a visual, hands on calculator.
    kids also like to use them as money if they are playing store.

  26. LMK says:

    You have got to see these button projects … simply amazing … pillows … flowers … quilts … even a button suit!

  27. lialan says:

    there is a fundraiser for spare buttons

  28. Anonymous says:

    Decorate t-shirt. Sew raws of mismatching bottons around sleeves, at the bottom of a shirt or a collar.



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