Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bottle Caps ----> Fabric Covered Buttons. DIY Recycled Supplies

I had this idea while wandering around Japan. (No, I have no idea why I was thinking about bottle caps or buttons, but here we are.) And since returning home my sewing machine's been on the fritz. I spent two days cutting and pinning, and most of today spinning, but there's only so many things to entertain me with my Bernina around.

I developed two different methods for the different ways I use fabric covered buttons. One is just covered, no wire. This is for using as flower centers or other decorative touches when there is no button hole involved. The other is a more common "closing stuff" button.

First one must procure a few bottle caps and some other basic supplies. Go buy a six-pack. If you like good beer and there's no twist off caps you may wish to buy a box of bottled sodas. Each button will require a two inch square of fabric. Thin/weak fabrics and super heavy/stiff fabrics are no good. For a fancy button you will need medium gauge wire and a small nail or big ass needle. Plus pliers and a hammer.

From a circle appox. 2in. square make a circle 2in. in diameter. I needn't be a perfect circle, just lop off the pointy corners of the square. Then with a hand needle make a straight running stitch around the edge. Be sure to leave a good margin around to prevent ripping out. If you've ever made yo-yo's this should look familiar. If you've never heard of yo-yo's there's a 50's craft book dedicated to them. Curtains, aprons, bedspreads... ick.

If you'ld like you can take your twist-off cap and gently hammer at the edges to pound out the sharp ones. Or just use a slightly thick fabric and you'll have no troubles.

Place your nice twist-off cap in the center and draw the fabric up around it. Make another pass around the puckers to tighten and secure the fabric.

That's all for this one. Sew it in a fabric flower by stitching just under the inner edge.

Now for the next one. You don't want to start out with a totally mangled cap, so look for one that came off easy the first try. Start by going around the edge with pliers and gently folding it in. use a hammer for assist and to keep it round. If you want a really round perfect button go nice and slow coaxing it into shape. Finally squeeze the edges flat with a strong hand on the pliers.

Mark holes like you were going to sew the bottle cap on. (That would also be kinda cool...)

Using a small nail or a b.a. large needle like I have, and a scrap wood block if you don't want to have holes in your table, punch two holes. Always punch with the top up to avoid sharp shards poking upwards. The holes shouldn't be much larger then your wire.

I bought a small pile or medium gauge wire at the hardware store for about 4$. That pile will likely make more then a hundred of these however, so use what ever wire you've got and double or triple up if it's too flimsy.

Cut a piece of wire about three inches long and bend it like an L (one side longer). Eyeball the distance between your holes and make another bend on the short side. Slide the two ends (pointing the same direction) into the holes and bend them down across the center. Bend the long one straight up in the center and wrap the short end around it. make a small loop, then follow for a second loop, right up close to the bottle cap. Clip the end and a neaten it up. Like sewing it's better to have extra wire then too little.

Then sew up your circle and finish it just like the last one. Your wire loop should be just peering over the top of the fabric. I also cut a slightly smaller piece of ugly puffy scrap to give it a nice round shape.

Ta Da!! For the price of that coil of wire I could get a button kit, and I wouldn't get to drink beer as a crafting activity.

Most importantly this could make a dent in my piles of saved bottle caps. I used to make bottle caps necklaces as a craft counselor at Flying G Ranch Girl Scout Camp, but those little brownies can only use up so many. Really, I used to collect them in high school and I still have bags of them (in middle school it was pop tabs, got a million of those too...). My only other craft solution was to use them to shingle a birdhouse for a recycling contest. But how many times a week do you need to shingle a birdhouse? How many times a week do I sew on a button... These may be appearing on my bags from time to time now!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice! I covered bottle caps with fabric in the 70s and of course made trivets, but also made a table cover for a small livingroom table. I think I put cloth underneath, like velvet.