Swag Hacker: 1 inch Button Hair Bow DIY

Swag Hacker Button Bow DIY |

Swag Hacker Button Bow DIY | In my last edition of Swag Hacker, I showed a bunch of examples of how to reuse all those free t-shirts you get in your subscription boxes and at conventions like PAX. This time around, I decided to create a full tutorial, with variations, for a great DIY to repurpose those ubiquitous 1 inch buttons.

I love buttons and I love collecting free buttons, but you can only wear so many buttons in the traditional manner before people start to give you weird looks. So my mind started working on dreaming up new places to wear buttons, and in my hair became the obvious choice. But how to modify a sharp button-back so that you could wear it in my lovely tresses?

Easy, add it to a bow.

Swag Hacker Button Bows Supplies | The nice thing about this DIY is that despite using fabric scraps for some of the bows, there is no sewing required. All you need are some fabric scraps (I found a couple of nice fat quarters in good primary colours), 1 inch buttons, a ruler, plain medium size barrettes, scissors, a hot glue gun, a small pair of plyers, and ribbons if you wanted to make a slightly different kind of button bow. I used this tutorial from Fourth + Hazel as the basis for my fabric bows and then sort of improvised a ribbon variation based on other ribbon barrettes I own.

Swag Hacker Button Bows Fabric | The first step in making a button bow is of course, the bow. From your scrap fabric, cut one piece 9 inches by 5 inches (this will be the body of the bow) and another, much smaller piece 2.5 inches by 2.25 inches (this will be the center).

Swag Hacker Button Bows Fabric Folded | Fold up the larger piece of fabric, first in thirds horizontally, then in thirds vertically. The end result should measure about 4 inches wide and 2 inches tall.

Swag Hacker Button Bow Center | Fold the tiny center piece in thirds lengthwise. You will use this to wrap around the main bow, once you have created a crease.

Swag Hacker Button Bow Crease | Now for the slightly tricky part. You need to create the crease in the main body of the bow. To do this, first fold your folded fabric rectangle in half lengthwise on the smooth side. Then fold the outer quarters out, so that you’ve made a little accordion shape. Then pinch everything together in the center. You should have something that resembles the photo above. Get your glue gun ready and move to the next step.

Swag Hacker Button Bow Hot Glue | While still pinching the bow together at the crease, very carefully begin placing the center bit with the rough end meeting the rough end of the body of the bow. Place a dot of hot glue, carefully attach the one end of the center fabric. You may want to use a pen or other instrument to press the fabric into the glue to avoid getting hot glue all over your fingers (yes, I learned this one the hard way). Add another dab of glue, pull the center bit tightly around the body of the bow and press it into the glue. Hold together for a few seconds to make sure it all sticks together. You should not have a perfect bow shape, held together by the center bit of fabric.

Swag Hacker Button Bows Remove Pin | You can do this step before you get started, but the best way to get your one inch button to sit properly on the finished fabric (or ribbon) bow is to remove the metal pin backing. Using your plyers, carefully grip the pin back and wiggle/pull until you dislodge it.

Swag Hacker Counting Kingdom Button Bow | Fill the back of the pin-less button with hot glue and then carefully position it over top of the center of the bow. Hold in place a minute or two while the glue cools to avoid it sliding off.

Once the button is securely in place, turn the bow over, add a line of hot glue and then attach the barrette.

Congratulations! You’ve just made a button bow!

Swag Hacker Ribbon Bow | For the ribbon variation, you’re going to need three pieces of ribbon. One measuring 7.5 inches long, and then two pieces of 1.5 inches each. Cut a little triangle out of the bottom of the two smaller pieces to create a forked look.

Swag Hacker Ribbon Bow Base | Add a dab of hot glue to your barrette back and attach the forked ribbon bits towards the center, at a jaunty angle.

Swag Hacker Ribbon Bow Folding  | Fold the longer piece of ribbon in thirds so it now measures 3 inches. Add a line of hot glue to the barrette, over top of the forked pieces. Carefully attach the folded ribbon so that the rough ends are hidden. You may also want to put a dab of hot glue in the middle of the folded part of the ribbon to keep it from puffing up.

Swag Hacker Ribbon Bow Finished | Fill a pin-less button back with hot glue and then attach it to the middle of the ribbon that is on the barrette. Congratulations! You have made a ribbon button bow!

Swag Hacker Button Bows Finished |

What’s your favourite way to wear 1 inch buttons?

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  • Reply
    Natalie A
    December 26, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Oh! These are so cute! I’m not usually a bow person, but this looks fun! I have an awesome button collection, but like you said you can only wear put so many on your purse or sweater before things get weird, hahah.

    • Reply
      December 29, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      I’m also working on some sort of DIY using 1 inch buttons to make more elaborate brooches, but it needs a little more work.

  • Reply
    December 27, 2014 at 3:27 am

    eep cute – I’m especially love with how that pink one came out and so easy too 🙂

    • Reply
      December 29, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      They are all really, really easy, as long as you don’t burn yourself on the hot glue… ;P

  • Reply
    December 27, 2014 at 6:07 am

    So cute!! 🙂


    • Reply
      December 29, 2014 at 10:20 pm

      Thanks! 🙂

  • Reply
    December 28, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Nice idea! I don’t wear buttons as often as I should!!!

    • Reply
      December 29, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      I have so many buttons, there’s no way I could ever wear all of them. I have them on my bags, my coats, my message board above my desk… and now my hair!

  • Reply
    Jane Y.
    December 29, 2014 at 11:18 am

    oh my gosh! what a great idea!

    • Reply
      December 29, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      Thanks! I know it’s very simple, but I really do like the way they turned out.

  • Reply
    December 29, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    super cute!!!!

  • Reply
    Joie Fatale
    December 31, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Is it bad that I still use my old waist pouch (“fanny-pack”), and, my “Standard Issue Dickies Punk kid” purse? Cause that where my band badges go…and I still use them both.

    But I will be changing my game now that I can make them BOWS!!!!

    • Reply
      December 31, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      Heehee. Fanny pack. Oh my.

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