Loosen Up My Buttons, Babe

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Hers.

Ah yes, this was my anthem for the second half of our headboard project.  Curse you Pussycat Dolls and your catchy lyrics that get stuck in my head for days!  For those of you up-to-date, you know our latest endeavor has been creating a winged, tufted headboard for the guest bedroom (for those of you needing to catch up, check out the project breakdown here).  You may also remember my oath to do this all without touching a sewing machine.

Well, I had reached the final portion of the project – covering the screws with matching fabric buttons.  We decided to take a day’s break from the project… and the day turned into a week… I’m sure you DIYers know how that goes.

The main source of my procrastination was the fact that I was waiting on my button making kit to arrive in the mail… okay, so maybe that only accounted for 2 days.  The other 5 days involved me dreading the creation of 67 buttons.  Yup, we had 67 screws to cover.  Yippee…  While the ultra-tall headboard makes quite a statement, it came with quite the price.  In the end it was worth it and I love the look, but for those of you with the same mindset I had of “the bigger, the better,” here’s your warning:

Big tufted headboards = a heck of a lot of buttons = a heck of a lot of work.

The process isn’t really that bad.  It takes about 1-1.5 minutes per button.  I sat and did mine while catching up on Real Housewives of Orange County because nothing makes dreadfully boring tasks like button making more interesting than a room full of overly-tanned, plastic-faced women screaming at each other.

So, here we go:  how to make fabric buttons without busting out the evil beast also known as the sewing machine.

First things first, you’ll need a button making kit, button shells, and button backs.  The least expensive option I found was a set from eBay for 100 buttons (buy extra because you’ll inevitably screw a few up).  I chose to buy size 24 (or 5/8″) buttons.  For those of you using the “tufting via screwdriver” method like we did, this size works great or you can go a little larger, depending on your preference.  For this method, I recommend buying flat backs (instead of wire backs) as you’ll be gluing rather than sewing it to the headboard.

Materials:

  • Button making kit which consists of a pusher (the pink item seen bottom left) and a mold (the clear item seen on the bottom right): $2.99 from eBay
  • Button back (seen at the top left)
  • Button shell (seen at the top middle): this plus the backs are $15.99 from eBay for a set of 100
  • Fabric swatch
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step One: Take the mold (the clear piece), placing the flat side down.  Put your piece of fabric over the mold.  Place the pusher (the pink piece) on top of the fabric (flat side up).

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Two: Push the pusher (who would’ve seen that coming?) so the fabric is pushed down into the mold.  I gave the pusher a good twist too to really be sure the fabric was wedged in there.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Remove the pusher and you’ll see your fabric swatch is beginning to make the button shape.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Three: Place the button shell with the rounded side down, on top of the fabric swatch (still placed in the mold).

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Four: Place the pusher on top of the button shell and push down.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

When you remove the pusher, the fabric and shell should be lodged in the mold.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Five: Without removing the shell and fabric from the mold, trim the excess fabric from the edges.  Don’t trim it too close as you’ll need to fold the edges over the back in the next step.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Here you can see how much fabric should be trimmed.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons 

Step Six: Next, fold the edges in, covering the back of the button shell and use the pusher to push it into shape.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Meet my best friend.  The hot glue gun.  In theory, you can use the pusher to push down the button back and it should pop in, securing the fabric in the back.  My fabric, however, was too thick to successfully do this so I found gluing the back on worked just as well.  If your fabric is thinner, you may be able to use the pusher instead and skip this step.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Seven: Use a hot glue gun to put glue on the back side of the button.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Eight: Quickly (before the fabric unfolds or glue cools), place the button back on top of the glue, securing the fabric ends.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Nine: Warning!  The hot glue will make the button back very hot so don’t use your finger to push it into place.  I used my pusher again to be sure the button back was secure and pushed it firmly in place.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Voilah!  Fabric button!

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

To finalize the headboard, I used my trusty friend again to put glue on the backs of each button then simply placed it on each screw on the headboard.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

I gave it a little extra push with my finger for good measure.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

It’s held great was SO much easier than sewing the buttons through the headboard.  That’s just nonsense, people.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Happy button making!

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22 Comments

Filed under Bedroom, Easy DIY Projects

22 responses to “Loosen Up My Buttons, Babe

  1. Pingback: Tuft Luck | DO or DIY

  2. This came out so great! I’m jealous!

  3. Pam

    Absolutely brilliant. After looking at many tutorials, THIS is the one we are going to follow. King size bed, cringe with me.

  4. Ann

    Do you remember the button size you used?

  5. Patty

    Hi
    I need such step by step help in any DIY project, so this is great. However, when do you take the mold off. I missed that part in the steps!

    • DO or DIY

      Glad to hear this was helpful! Pop the button out of the mold after step six and before you hot glue the backing on.

      -Julie

  6. Sara

    This seems way better of an idea than thread. However, how did the fabric not rip as you were screwing the screws down?

    • DO or DIY

      There’s something much more satisfying in using power tools to create tufts in a matter of seconds over the agony of sewing (although I really despise sewing so I’m a little biased). We used pretty thick upholstery fabric so we didn’t have any issues with fabric ripping. I would definitely avoid trying this method on flimsier fabric. I think it also helped that we hot glued the buttons over each screw, which also doubled as a way to keep any fraying from happening.

      -Julie

  7. Have you tried this method with chairs or a bench? I was wondering if the buttons would stay on well?? Thanks! Love your headboard 😉

    • DO or DIY

      Hi Kelly! We haven’t tried it on a chair or bench yet. I have plans to try it on a chair soon but haven’t gotten to it yet. Let me know if you end up trying it and it works well! I’m curious to hear as well.

      -Julie

  8. Mariela

    great idea! quick question though how did you make the headboard? i know the basics but was curious what you did. thanks.

  9. Wow, I never knew you could make your own buttons like that! I need one of those machines!!!

  10. I just used this to make the buttons for our headboard this weekend! Thanks for the help!
    http://www.thepomeroylife.com/our-diy-bed-frame-and-lessons-we-learned/

  11. Jenn

    I did a head board but maybe I stretched the headboard fabric too tight because I didn’t get the cool “wrinkle” between buttons, and I like that look.

    my question is where is the tutorial on how you layered your foam and prep that portion for the nifty buttons you made??

  12. Doreen

    OMG, you’re amazing! Did you push me outta line when God was handing out creativity because it sure looks like it. Wish me luck, I’m gonna try it.

  13. Pingback: 22 DIY Fabric Headboards & Tall Homemade Headboard Ideas

  14. Ash

    Hey! How are you? I hope you’re well. I came across your tutorial through Pinterest. I’m in the search for fabric for an upholstered headboard and do like the one you used. Can you tell me where it can be purchased? Thank you so much! I look forward to hearing from you.

    In God’s unfailing love,
    Ashley!

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