Another Button Project - Huge Scale!

4 Materials
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.
Work Area
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.
Panel 1 - Barn and Orchard
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 2 - Windmill
Panel 3 - Farmhouse
Coloring the Buttons
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.
The Final Artwork!
It's done! The project took over 5 months!

I am researching ideas for my next one, probably to be done this Fall/Winter.
Suggested materials:
  • Buttons - Thousands of Them
  • Window Screen
  • Jewelry
See all materials
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 5 questions
  • Nancy Haggerty Nancy Haggerty on May 05, 2016
    Where did you start?

  • Dianne Dianne on May 05, 2016
    Would it be possible to take pictures of your cake topper and other items you made for your wedding . Work is beautiful . Thank you for sharing

  • Dee B Dee B on May 06, 2016
    Out of curiosity, have you any guesstimate of the number of hours this took to conplete.

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5 of 165 comments
  • Stephanie Raimondi Stephanie Raimondi on May 24, 2017
    love it. I collect buttons and have thousands of them, might try something like this but on a much smaller scale.

    • Mary Ann Goldberg Mary Ann Goldberg on May 30, 2017
      Go for it, Stephanie! There's all shapes and sizes of window or picture frames out there waiting for you. I'm starting my next one in the next couple weeks, when it gets too hot outside to be out doors.

  • Ginger the farm gal Ginger the farm gal on Nov 04, 2017
    Enjoy all your projects, but this one "takes the cake" Wonderfully creative, better than a jigsaw puzzle :>)