February 5, 2011

Response Saturday: Vintage Buttons and Resin Clay

I woke up one day this week with the burning need for an idea for transforming my vast button collection into usable components.  I let ideas bounce around in my head while I was laying in bed and most of my ideas were too complicated, until I came upon the epiphany of setting them into resin clay.
This seems to be a great solution, as I do not have to alter the button in anyway, dealing with the shank by simply embedding it into the clay. I think my first few samples are successful and I continued to play with this idea, adding more decoration around the clay that framed the buttons.
I tried one pendant using one of my new ceramic cut out frames, setting the clay and button inside the window.  I like this idea, but I think it would be better with a plain ceramic frame, as the detailing got lost.  Worth further pursuit...
Most of my buttons are jet black which doesn't really show the beautiful designs very well.  I added some colored resin and paint to some of the buttons for more contrast.  In this link, I used another ornate button to add decoration around the edge.

As I worked, the clay frames seemed to get wider, but I think in the future, I will make them as small as I can.  I also want to put a texture into them that looks like pounded metal.  The clay set up very fast, so I will have to get the timing right on that experiment.

I really like the immediacy of making these, and I like that I am using up some of the items in my studio that need to get cleaned out, and I am making something fun and new.  I have listed these in my Etsy shop, and I am sure I will add more soon, too.

Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.


  1. I think this is a lovely way to repurpose those buttons! Very clever of you :)

  2. So cool! I especially like the next to last one.

  3. This is a GREAT way to solve your button shank dilemma!

  4. I just used a few shank buttons on a crazy quilt inspired wall hanging. Had to place them over heavy embroidery or other embellishments to hide the shanks. Embedding them in clay to make a flat piece is brilliant! I'd always figured they would melt or distort using polymer, resin clay is the perfect solution.