How to Make Button Canvas Art the RIGHT Way!
Button Art is Easy & Fun Once You Know How!
An Introduction to Button Canvas Art
I am ecstatic that you want to learn how to make button canvas art!
Once you start, you may find, like I did, that it’s FUN, RELAXING and totally ENGAGING! And, you might even become a button addict like me! It’s an addiction – plain & simple and one that I love!
It’s Easy to Become Passionate about Button Canvas Art as Thousands can Testify:
- It’s a craft that ANYONE can learn. And, I truly mean anyone! I’ve seen a five-year-old create art pieces using this medium. And, I’ve also seen beautiful button art masterpieces by talented artists.
- They make lovely, meaningful GIFTS! I’ve given button art away as wedding gifts, Christmas gifts, thank you gifts and more!
- EVERY piece is unique. There are two elements to button canvas art – the art design and the buttons themselves. The art designs are not hard to replicate, but the selection and placement of buttons are virtually impossible to replicate. So, your art piece will always be unique, and a true expression of yourself.
- Like any art medium, your work IMPROVES with practice. And, it’s gratifying to see yourself improve. For example, with practice, you can add subtle shading by varying the button colors and sizes. And, your edges will become cleaner and crisper as you become more proficient in your craft.
Supplies Needed to Create Your Button Canvas Art:
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below, but these are all products I highly recommend and/or used. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.
You can find buttons in many places.
Your Closet. For years, I kept a jar of buttons in my closet. I occasionally used them. But, most often, the jar sat in my closet looking cute and colorful. Now, you can drag those buttons out of hiding and put them to good use.
Flea Markets. I have found old jars of amazing vintage buttons at great prices at flea markets. And, I am overjoyed when I do; old and unusual buttons add an inordinate amount of flair and value to your art piece.
ShopGoodwill.com auction. You can buy large quantities of buttons (pounds of buttons) at this often-overlooked online shop at reasonable prices. ShopGoodwill.com can really ramp up your button collection! One word of caution, watch out for those ShopGoodwill shipping costs!
Antique Stores and Junk Stores. These stores often have button jars hidden in a shelf corner looking for a new home.
Craft stores. Craft stores carry new buttons at reasonable prices. I especially like buying button packages that come premixed in a nice color combination. I used such a package when I made the hydrangea bunny. These button packages do the button selection and mixing for you. They include an assortment of two-hole, four-hole or shank buttons in a variety of matching colors and shades. It couldn’t be simpler!
Etsy. Look for the Czech buttons – they’re gorgeous!
Flat back rhinestones add bling and fill in those gaps between buttons. I like the Swarovski 2088 XIRIUS Flatback because of their extraordinary brilliance. Unfortunately, I don’t have a “go to” store for crystals but here are two sources:
Dreamtime Creations. They claim to be the largest store on the web for crystals. And, they have a lot!
Amazon. Yep, you can find good deals there. Plus, they have a great assortment of crystals. I like buying the “mixed” colors or sizes of the Swarovski crystals. I also love buying the clear crystals in different sizes.
Note: It’s important to buy varying sizes of rhinestone crystals. Don’t make the same mistake I did when I first began button art and buy only one or two crystal sizes. Varying sized gaps between buttons demand a good assortment of crystal sizes. Also, if you want to have a nice crisp outline, you’ll need the varying sizes there too.
Canvas – You can purchase canvas panels that are 1/8’ inch wide or the stretched cotton panels that don’t require frames. I generally use Ampersand brand panels, but sometimes I will use less expensive brands. If you have it in your budget or if you are working on a special art piece, Ampersand is the way to go! The quality of the Ampersand artist panels are second to none!
Glue – I use Beacon Gem-Tac Permanent Adhesive. It’s pricey but reliable. I have yet to have a button fall off using Gem-Tac; it’s that good! I don’t recommend glue guns for button art.
Gem Applicator – I use the Crystal Katana Tool which you can buy on Amazon. It’s not inexpensive, but it works great. And, you can buy replacement tips if the wax wears out. I’ve had my Crystal Katana Tool for at least two years and I am only now considering buying replacement tips.
Other Supplies (Optional) Needed To Create Button Canvas Art
I can’t cover everything that you could need in this tutorial since there are so many ways to design your button art.
For example, you could customize it by placing a cute saying in vinyl or stenciled on the canvas right below your button art piece. I’ve seen adorable button art on fabric, paper or wallpaper backgrounds.
Needless to say, I can’t cover all the supplies you may use, I’m just touching on the basics.
So, let’s move on to the HOW TO Make Button Canvas Art
- Lightly trace your image onto your canvas. If you’re starting out, select a simple design such as a heart or an apple or even a plain tree outline. Once you have some pieces completed, you can tackle more complicated designs. Start easy first. Also, note that on this sample cross, I traced the cross on a large sheet of paper and cut it out. I then placed the cut paper template onto the canvas. I did that to protect the canvas from glue stains. So, you do have options if you don’t want to have pencil marks on your canvas.
- Place your buttons on your canvas. Don’t glue the buttons yet! Just work on the selection and placement of the buttons. You will likely want to vary the button sizes and colors to make the piece more interesting. But, that is not a clear and fast rule. Just focus on placing your buttons in a visually pleasing way.
- Using the gem applicator, pick up each button and glue it on the canvas.
- Once you have finished gluing the buttons, begin filling the gaps with the crystals. This step can be time-consuming depending on the intricacy of your design and the placement of your buttons. You will also quickly realize that having a variety of crystal sizes on hand is helpful.
- Using the crystals and buttons, fill in the edge of the design so that it is clean. I like changing the sizes of the crystals and buttons so that the edge looks naturally crisp not outlined.
This post gives you the basics of button canvas art. By following this tutorial, you should be able to get started. However, don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions. I’m only a blog comment away!
Happy Crafting all!
And, by the way, I would love it if you left a comment or even followed me on Facebook!