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Another Button Project - Huge Scale!

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My future husband was in another state, and I needed something to keep busy. I had made my wedding bouquet, cake topper and boutonnieres out of buttons and jewelry. I needed another project to keep busy and I came up with this idea. I would make a landscape utilizing a window screen! The screen is 55" long x 2' high, and is separated into 3 sections. The original screening was not in very good shape, so I stretched a new piece over the frame for sewing on the buttons.
Being from a Wisconsin farm, I had a nostalgic vision of this being a country scene, so it came together one section at a time. I set up an area of the LR, using tables to make a "U" shape. I did not have the metal storage drawers yet, so I had containers of buttons all over the place. I laid the screen on the tables and it became the bottom of the "U" shape. This way I could work from both the top and bottom of the project.
To create this artwork, every one of these buttons was sewn on! Yes, every one of them, and there were thousands. I tried counting them once and didn't get finished with even the first panel. Someday, when I don't have anything else to do, I will try again.
I had a lot of buttons, but not nearly enough. I won some lots on Ebay. When they came I had to clean and wash all the buttons, which took a long time. Then they had to dry, and I would keep flipping them to get all the sides dried off. I even tried to clean them in the washer, but that didn't work so good. The lingerie bags couldn't hold up to the weight of them.
Finally, they were sorted by color. Every container I had was used for sorting, and still more were needed.
Panel 3 - Farmhouse
Because of the sky and trees in the project taking up a lot of the space, I ended up hand-painting white ones and turning them blue or green to save on expenses. Next time I will dye them! I have the dyes already.
Here are pics in more detail. There's even a rope swing on this tree! The leaves here turned out an exciting way - without trying, the way they were sewn on make them look textured.
This shows the detail on the house. It includes my "Key To My Heart" motif as a door ornament. If you look closely, you can see I used Swarovski Crystals scattered throughout the panels to add an element of surprise and sparkle!
I used a sealant to finish off the buttons. This was to seal the threads and keep the buttons in place. I then used a Styrofoam backing to protect the buttons.
Almost finished! The final step was to cover the back with felt, for more protection.
It's done! The project took over 5 months!
I am researching ideas for my next one, probably to be done this Fall/Winter.

Materials used for this project:

  • Buttons - Thousands of Them
  • Window Screen
  • Jewelry
See all materials
  • Bernice H
    Bernice H Woodburn, OR
    on May 4, 2016

    I am totally blown away! This is awesome, and sooo time consuming and arduous.( I am thinking about my back, how badly it would be hurting) but the result is so worth it! I can see you entering this in a state fair..and then as an heirloom for grandchildren down the road. Absolutely stunning..and i appreciate all the hard work and hours you put into it. This is a KEEPSAKE! This is something i would buy because it is so different and and unique! Kudos to you!

  • Mary Ann  Goldberg
    Mary Ann Goldberg Lake Saint Louis, MO
    on May 4, 2016

    Thank you, Bernice. It was a love/hate relationship for awhile when I didn't seem to be getting anywhere. But slowly it came together. When I told my fiancee what I was doing he couldn't grasp the idea until he saw it. Yes, it is that big!

  • William
    William Burbank, IL
    on May 4, 2016

    This is amazing! It's a labor of love! Beautiful!

  • Sandra Crosbie
    Sandra Crosbie Ireland
    on May 4, 2016

    Amazing. You did fantastic work. Go you for having the vision to begin with. Beautiful.

  • Valerie
    Valerie South Africa
    on May 5, 2016

    I absolutely LOVE this!!! Now I know why I have been saving all those buttons ... thanks so much for the inspiration!!

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!