Heirloom Button Art

When my Grandma passed away about a year ago, her granddaughters were able to chose some of her jewelry to keep and remember her by. I picked a couple pairs of earrings and a brooch that belonged to her mother, my great grandmother, and a tin full of really old buttons. I already had a…

When my Grandma passed away about a year ago, her granddaughters were able to chose some of her jewelry to keep and remember her by. I picked a couple pairs of earrings and a brooch that belonged to her mother, my great grandmother, and a tin full of really old buttons.

I already had a few buttons that belonged to my dad’s mom, so I was excited to have a collection from both sides of my family. I’m sentimental about family things, so I knew I’d want to do something with these old buttons rather than hide them away.

My amazing sister, Ali, was visiting us this week and I thought this would be a fun project for us to tackle together. We pulled out the buttons late one night, when Evie woke up. I got her out of bed and let her join us for a bit. She was so excited by these buttons!

After Evie went back to bed, Ali and I got busy arranging the buttons on this interesting white burlap. It’s mounted on heavy paper and I’ve never seen anything like it (I got it at Bettertex fabrics in SoHo). It a nice heavy weight and the color is interesting with the white fibers on the yellow paper. I’m sure a stiff burlap or a grasscloth would work similarly.

I cut the fabric down to size and ironed it flat. Then we arranged the buttons by color in horizontal lines, but tried to be a little loose about placement so that it didn’t look overly thought out.

The top row is green, then yellows/golds, two rows of whites and creams, blues, blacks/browns/purples and then reds/pinks.

Many of the buttons had old bits of thread still in the button holes and I kept these. For contrast Ali and I threaded some of the buttons with colorful thread.

Then we cheated and fabric glued all the buttons in place. It would have taken ages to sew them all down and it would have been tricky to get the placement and spacing right. Using Fabritac to secure the buttons took about 10 minutes total and they are all holding very well.

After the glue dried, I framed the buttons in an old aluminum frame from the 60s that I got at a flea market for $1. The artwork it used to hold was nasty, but I loved the frame and thought I could change out the art. It was the perfect size for this project! Framing can be really expensive, so whenever you are at a thrift store or a flea market, keep an eye out for well made frames in standard sizes that can be reused.

I’m happy with the way this easy project came out. I like that it is colorful and has great texture. And I love that it is something that can be studied. There are lots of pretty and unique buttons. Many of them are connected to childhood memories I have of my grandmothers.

For now, I put the button art in a gallery wall arrangement above the dining table.

This space is still very much a work in process, but the buttons are a fun, graphic addition. Seeing them every day makes me smile.

Join the Conversation

115 thoughts on “Heirloom Button Art

  1. I love it. What a wonderful idea. I may take your lead. Could be fun to do with my granddaughter. I also love your wall of art. I have to get busy and hang some pictures (old and not so old) that I have recently had framed. They hold many memories and need to be on the wall rather than stored in a closet. Thanks for the push.

  2. My grandmother passed away recently, and she did the same with us girls. we got to draw straws for her jewelry. I got a beautiful collection of her pins. I did something very simmilar to what you made! It is a great way to remember those whom we love.

  3. What a brilliant way to display your collection/memories. I really love how it turned out, with the lines & colors. Thanks for sharing your great idea.

  4. I love the modern look of your piece especially on the wall with the more traditional art….it is a really great mix!!! Congratulations on such a creative use of meaningful materials!!

  5. Hi Jenny. This is such a great idea and a wonderful way to remember special loved ones. I also have to say that Evie is the cutest little gal! I had to smile when I saw those pictures of her playing with the buttons!

  6. This looks darling! But, lovingly, I have to tell you that those buttons are choking hazards for your sweet baby. Those little darlings can put tiny objects in their mouth before you even realize it. (Sorry, not trying to scold, just the mother in me.)

  7. Thanks for your concern, Carey! We don't normally have small objects like this in Evie's reach and we know buttons are not toys. She was being monitored very closely for the two or three minutes that we let her touch and look at the pieces.


  8. What a great idea! This is what I love most about blogs. Sometimes I stumble upon something so amazingly inspirational, I can't help but wish I had thought of it first!

  9. What an awesome idea! I have a bag full of my Grandma's old buttons, I may have to copy your idea. I love it! Great job!

  10. I love this… what a sweet daily reminder of your grandmother. I have my late grandmother's sewing box and may need to check it for old buttons! Evie is too cute, too!

  11. I love this! A friend and I were just talking about how delightful that tin of buttons that our mothers & grandmothers always had. I forwarded the post to inspire a project with them. Thanks for the great idea!

  12. I love this. When my great-grandmother died I ended up with her buttons and sewing notions, and I don't know how to display them. This has given me some ideas though! Well done.

  13. Hello, In the picture with the long flower pillows – where did you get those or what fabric is it??? I have been looking for FAB floral fabric and have the hardest time finding it!!!!???

    Suggestions on great floral fabric (and wallpaper) that doesn't look like a little girls room???

  14. This is a fabulous, fresh idea for buttons! I have a few jars and tins of my grandmothers' buttons sitting around waiting for some inspiration. Thank you for providing just that!

© Jenny Komenda. All Rights Reserved.
Site by