Homemade Button Covers Crafts

Button covers are a great way to dress up a simple shirt into something snazzy.

Have you ever seen those darling button covers in the stores? These are snap-on covers that go over the buttons on a standard shirt, and add a touch of pizzazz to even a boring white blouse! But button covers usually sell for fifteen to thirty dollars a set, and come in a set of four. If you're like most people, you'll need four button covers just to go down the front of your shirt, and maybe five if you're tall or wear your shirt untucked. Furthermore, if you want to cover the buttons on the pockets as well, you'll have to buy another set. And at a certain point, this is a very pricey proposition!

There is another alternative, though. For only a few dollars, you can make your own button covers. Homemade button covers are fairly easy, if you know how, and make fabulous gifts. With only a few basic tools you can start making your own button covers, and transform a plain shirt or jacket into something really fun and unique. Best of all, you can change the look of your outfit by varying the button covers you wear!

There are two levels of button covers - those that utilize pre-colored buttons, and those that you paint yourself. Depending on your confidence level, time and budget, you can choose to make your own or to buy the attachments pre-made. Let's look at the basic process, and discuss the steps for both.

You'll need (per set of button covers)

* Four button cover snaps (available in any crafts store)

* A hot glue gun

* Two hot glue gun glue sticks

* Newspaper to cover your work area

* Four pre-painted Buttons

-- OR --

* Four wooden cutout shapes

* Acrylic Paints

* A paintbrush

If you are using pre-painted buttons, the first step is to look at the back of the button. If it has a raised "loop" on the back you need to (carefully) break this off (pliers work well for this) and sand the back down until it's relatively flat. If you are using a button with holes in it, you won't need to do this.

Heat your glue gun. Apply one dot of hot glue to the top of the button cover snap. Align the button face up so that the top of the button is facing the ceiling, and push the back of the button against the glue on the front of the button cover snap. The button cover snap (lid) should be held flat against the back of the button for about 30 seconds, until it dries. Make sure that the button cover will open in the right direction. If your button is oblong or not perfectly circular, try to align the button cover snap more toward the top of the button. This will keep the button from "rolling" when it's on the shirt (spinning on the button, since the cover will eventually adjust so the largest and heaviest area is to the bottom).

Repeat for the remaining button covers. Allow glue to dry, and test each on a shirt with buttons. Make sure that there is no glue on the sides or bottom of the button cover snap to prevent it from closing securely.

If you want to paint your own button covers, there are a few additional steps. Most craft stores will sell pre-cut small wooden shapes (typically used for woodworking). Buy a packet of shapes or individual shapes and select four to paint.

Lay out the wooden shapes on the newspaper. Using your paintbrush and acrylic paints, paint each wooden piece including the sides. You do not need (or want) to paint the bottom, as this side will be toward the shirtfront.

Allow the wooden pieces to dry. Follow the instructions above to adhere the painted wooden pieces to the button cover snaps.

This can be a fun activity to do with children, as well, as long as you take extra care around the hot glue gun. Kids will especially enjoy painting the wooden pieces and seeing these transformed into special decorative items.

You can also make pins if you prefer (either instead of, or in addition to the button covers). Just select larger wooden pieces and attach a blank pin rod to the back of the painted wooden piece.

Some special themes you might consider, and the pieces you will need for each include:

Christmas - mix and match pieces including fir trees, Santa, stockings, mittens, snowflakes, reindeer, boots, Santa hats, stars, packages, candy canes etc.

Easter - use oval pieces and paint each one as a different color egg. You can also paint pieces as bunnies, carrots, and baskets and mix and match.

Thanksgiving - pumpkins, turkeys, pilgrim hats, feathers, pies, etc. will make a delightful mix.

Halloween - witches, bats and pumpkins will make a decorative shirt that's sure to delight the trick or treaters!

Fourth of July - Stars can be painted in red, white, blue or striped, plus flags and circles that have "fireworks" (starbursts) on them.

Back to School - paint pieces to resemble books, pencils, an apple and a blackboard. Perfect for a teacher's gift!

Sports theme - use wooden "ball" pieces (available as a set, if you want) to paint a football, basketball, soccer ball and baseball. Great for sports fans!

Golf set - tee, club, golf ball and scorecard make a sporting effect!

Valentines Day - paint hearts in different colors and mix and match them to your outfit(s).

Noah's Ark - paint animals in all different colors to make a cute set.

ABC - paint letters in different primary colors for a cute effect, or spell your name if it's short enough!

New Baby - bottles, pacifiers, bonnets and booties in pink and blue are a darling look, especially cute with a pin to match!

Birthday - paint squares as packages in all colors, with a cake at the top (or just a candle).

Gardening - paint squares as packets of seeds, or mix flowers and vegetables with rakes, hoes, shovels, etc. for a delightful selection.

Everyday wear - flowers, hearts, circles, stars, animals, letters, etc. can all be painted in any color combination you want. Pick a theme or mix and match, the only limitation is your imagination!

If you hand paint your button covers, be sure to allow them to dry thoroughly before wearing. Test to make sure they are dry before putting on a shirt, and if you want apply a thin lacquer spray to the top to make them colorfast and shiny.

The cost of this project will vary depending on the materials you use. Typically, a set of pre-painted buttons will cost you about $5 per set and the button covers will be about 25 - 50 cents each. Unpainted wooden squares are usually less, ranging from 10 to 50 cents each depending on the size.

Remember - the important thing is to have fun and enjoy your project! Be creative, and you'll soon find yourself making button covers for all of your friends and family for gifts! Be prepared, though, for friends and strangers alike to stop you and rave about your unique button covers! They truly can transform a plain white or blue shirt into a work of art, and best of all you can change the look every single day!

© High Speed Ventures 2011