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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.