Very Easy DIY Wheel or Ringed Buttons

While looking for buttons today, I was once again dissatisfied with the selection seen in the local fabric store. I think I’ve ruined things for myself by having visited Fashion Districts in New York and Los Angeles that the local stores in small city Halifax will never be able to satisfy me again. However, an idea popped into my head and I was able to walk away with some useful, as well as unique, buttons! Well, that is until someone exactly copies this idea. ūüôā

Making your own ringed buttons (click to enlarge)

Making your own ringed buttons

What I did was to combine two buttons to make a new one with a nicer design, fairly rare in style, and unique in at the details level! The photo shows what I did.

There are a fair number of buttons in the style of the green buttons that have a raised ring on the outside edge, leaving a round depression in the middle. They come in all shades, even material like wood and metal, or simulation of materials like plastic painted like metals. That’s your outside piece.

Inside is just another button, like the white ones in the picture. Put them together and you get something like a wheel, or ringed, button. These aren’t very common among button selection out there, but they certainly won’t be like the one you made! Yours will be fairly unique unless others copy them, or just happen to think of the same idea among the thousands of combinations possible, if not more! You are only comparing among people who actually do these buttons, by the way, not just anybody buying buttons. ūüôā

The only practical criteria for this idea to work are that it fits into the depression, or is just big enough to sit part way in it like the example in the middle row, and have holes that overlap the big button. The artistic criteria are harder, pending your tastes. Colour and detailing are wider in variety in sizes, but less likely to be suitable given artistic tastes are far more wide ranging than some standard sizes for buttons.

The first practical criteria isn’t hard to satisfy. Buttons come in many sizes, and the way the big ones are designed, the circular depressions are close enough to common sizes of smaller buttons. In the pictures above:

  • The top row has a 28 mm green button (1 and 1/8 inch) and 18 mm white button (11/16 inch).
  • The middle row has an 18 mm green button ((11/16 inch) and 13 mm white button (1/2 inch) that doesn’t fit fully into the green button’s depression, but comes pretty close you can still use it to match that of the top. The matching, if you use more than one size in your garment, is a limitation you’ll have to deal with in choosing your centre buttons. There might¬†not be one of the size you want in the style you want.
  • The bottom row has¬†an 18 mm green button ((11/16 inch) and 12 mm white button (1/2 inch). The 1 mm smaller size button than that of the middle row fits perfectly.

The second practical criteria of having button holes which overlap so your needle can go through both and sew in the buttons isn’t hard to satisfy, generally, either. Button holes are pretty standard for width between the holes. The bigger buttons generally just have a greater range than the smaller buttons, with bigger holes allowing for greater “margin of error”, rather than a larger distance between the holes. The bigger challenge might be if you were having to deal with 2 or 4 hole configurations in your big and small buttons. If you can’t match the holes well,¬†you might just have to¬†hand sew in the buttons rather than machine sew them in.

Now, how can you be sure if the buttons fit and the holes overlap? There’s no sure way if the buttons are sold stapled onto¬†paper backings. You can definitely take the packaging and put them together to see if the smaller button will fit into the larger one. That’s easy. Whether the holes for threading in them overlap is harder. I just eyeballed the ones I wanted, but if you wanted to be sure, commit to buying one of each button type if your eyeballing seems to think their holes will overlap. You’re just making sure by committing to buying one so you can take them out of their staples in the store, put it up to the lights and see if you can see through the holes once aligned. If they don’t, you’re stuck with the buttons, which you can probably use toward something else considering you liked them enough to want to buy them in the first place. If they do, then buy as many as you need.

As for costs, it depends on which buttons you buy, of course. At full price, mine cost:

  • At top,¬†$1.57 plus tax
    $1.07 for a green button (H.A. Kidd Elan E 66 8132)
    50 cents for a white (H.A. Kidd Elan A 05 7015)
  • At middle, $1.20 plus tax
    83 cents for a green button (H.A. Kidd Elan E 66 8131)
    37 cents for a white (H.A. Kidd Elan A 05 7014)
  • At bottom, $1.01 plus tax
    83 cents for a green button (H.A. Kidd Elan E 66 8131)
    18 cents for a white (H.A. Kidd Button Basics BB4217G)

I got mine at half price, on sale, so it was a lot more affordable. That’s not to say those prices are¬†not affordable. There are many buttons far more expensive than these! But you know, if you love your garments enough, making these buttons aren’t going to break your bank and they should generally be pretty affordable. That said, the garment I’m putting these on, I got the fabric on sale that even with threads and so on, these buttons on sale were more expensive than everything else in the garment, lol.

Sewing in the Buttons Tip

Matching holes between the coupled buttons in your hands is easy. Getting them to stay that way on the fabric as you line up where you button should be with the button foot is a little trickier. If you find this a challenge, it’s well worth your while to thread a needle, loop through the button holes and tie a knot to couple them as one before machine sewing them in. Loop and tie the knot on the¬†under side of the two buttons. That way, you might even be able to leave that thread in the garment if the end threads were either short enough, or got caught in the looping of the machine sewn thread to hold your buttons.


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