How to Use Buttons with Shanks for Jewelry
While these elegant buttons are perfect for adding some sparkle and shine to your clothing, why limit their use to just what they were made for? Boring!
Fancy, high-end buttons are the perfect way to make yourself some unique, statement jewelry pieces! Plus, it’s easier than you might think.
Types of Buttons
If you’re a button connoisseur, you probably already know that there are quite a few different types of buttons, each made to sew onto fabric in a different way.
How many types of buttons are there?
There are 5 types of buttons that you’re likely to run across out in the world.
- flat buttons: You’ve definitely seen a flat button or two in your life. Flat buttons are your typical button with two, three, or four holes that are sewn through to attach the button to fabric.
- shank buttons: The second most common type of button, shank buttons have a tiny metal loop on the back that is sewn through to attach the button to fabric.
- snap buttons: Rather that using a buttonhole, snap buttons have two interlocking sides that – you guessed it – snap together.
- stud buttons: If you’ve ever worn jeans – haven’t we all? – you’ve seen stud buttons. Stud buttons are attached to fabric with a stud that cuts through the fabric and is attached to a metal fastener on the other side.
- toggle buttons: Probably the weirdest buttons you’ll find, toggle buttons are elongated and have two holes that are attached to a coat with a long string. The coat is closed by putting the toggle button through a loop on the opposite side.
What are shank buttons?
Shank buttons have a little metal loop, known as a shank, on the back. This loop is sewn through to attach the button to fabric. The best part about shank buttons is that without holes through the button, the entire face is free to be used for a fancy design or rhinestones. That’s why most of the extravagant, luxe buttons on the market are shank buttons – making shank buttons the perfect candidate for making jewelry!
How to use buttons in jewelry making
When it comes to jewelry making, whether you’re using traditional jewelry pendants and stones or utilizing some gorgeous buttons, you’re limited only by your imagination. Just experiment, try different designs, and of course, have fun!
To get you started on your button-jewelry-making journey and get those creative juices flowing, we’ve got three awesome DIY jewelry ideas utilizing shank buttons below.
How to make earrings using shank buttons
One of the easiest ways to turn shank buttons into jewelry is to make a pair of pretty dangle earrings.
What you need to make shank button earrings
- 8 inches of 20-gauge wire
- Needle-nose pliers
- Two fancy shank buttons
To make your earrings, cut two pieces of wire that are 4 inches long. Bend the wire so that one side is 1.5 inches long and the other is 2.5 inches long.
Thread the button through the wire and hold it at the bend in the wire. Bend the shorter wire end around the button shank to hold the button flat, in line with the wire. Trim the short end of the wire and squish the end in with your pliers to hide the sharp edge.
Finally, shape the long end of the wire to form the dangle earring wire shape – you can judge the shape of the wire based on a pair of earrings you already own and like.
How to make a bracelet with a shank button clasp
Shank buttons also work great as a clasp to secure a cute, braided bracelet.
What you need to make a bracelet with a button clasp
- One fancy shank button
To make your bracelet, first cut three long pieces of cord. Make sure to cut each piece to the same length and at least 3 times the circumference of your wrist.
Start braiding the strands together at the center, braiding until you have about 2 inches of braid. Fold the braid in half to form a little loop. Combine all 6 cord ends and continue braiding right where the braided loop starts, braiding all the strands together.
Continue braiding until the bracelet is the right length to fit around your wrist, then string your shank button onto two of the strands. Braid another inch or so beyond the button, then knot your thread tails and trim the excess.
The button should fit through the loop you made at the beginning of your braid to secure your bracelet around your wrist!
How to make a ring from a shank button
If you love wearing statement rings, don’t settle for the rings you find in-store! You can make your own rings from fancy shank buttons.
What you need to make a shank button ring
- 20-gauge wire
- Needle nose pliers
- A ring that fits you
- A candle, chapstick, or other cylindrical, approximately finger-sized item
- A beautiful shank button
To make your shank button ring, you’ll first need to make a finger-sized form. Use your well-fitting ring to find a tube of chapstick, a candle, or another item that is the size of (or slightly smaller than) your finger. If needed, add tape around the item to give it a bit more width and get a perfect fit for your well-fitting ring.
Cut about 30 inches of wire and wrap it twice around the finger-sized form. The two ends of the wire should be at the top of the ring. Pinch the ends tight so that the ring is taut to the finger form. Thread the shank button through both wire tails and slide it all the way to the top of the ring.
Wrap the wire ends around the finger form again. Using one of the wire tails, tightly wrap the shank of the button up with wire to hide it. Wrap the other wire tail tightly around the wires forming the base of the ring. Continue wrapping all the way around until all the wire making the base of the ring is all wrapped up. Trim the wire ends and file them down if needed.