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Grandma always kept a jar with assorted buttons in it. These were cut from clothes that were worn out. If you don't have a button jar in your home you can collect buttons for jewelry at very low cost through craft and fabric shop sales, and through thrift shops. Bag sales at thrift shops can be a gold mine of buttons.

Once you have the buttons have the children sort them in piles according to color. Then sort them again as to size. You can use sandwich bags to hold each set of buttons.

Young children under 7-use a blunt tapestry needle or cord which doesn't need a needle (plastic or leather). If you use a needle with little children, please make sure there is adult supervision.

Children 8 and up can use a needle to thread through their buttons. I prefer a blunt tapestry needle.

Use elastic thread that is available at craft and fabric shops. It comes in spools. The elastic thread is best for bracelets but can be used for necklaces also. You also can use sport weight yarn, thin cord, crochet cotton, ribbon,cording or other material which will fit through the holes of the buttons, plastic cord and thin string leather also will work.

To start the button jewelry tie on one button at one end. This will keep all the buttons from slipping off.

A pretty necklace can be easily made by alternating colors of the buttons and tieing a knot between each button. Create your own patterns by mixing colors and sizes. Make sure your stringing material is long enough to slip over your head. When you get to the end tie the last button with a knot. Your necklace is finished.

Using the elastic thread tie on a button at the end the same as for the necklace. You won't need to make knots after each button for the bracelet. In fact, the bracelet is especially pretty with a lot of buttons. Be sure to choose your pattern. You can use as many colors as you like but keep the same order for your color pattern. For instance: red, white, green, white, pink, white, blue and then repeat. The white sets off the other colors nicely.
A christmas gift bracelet of green and red
A princess bracelet of pink and white
A glamour bracelet of gold and silver

Use your imagination and create your own patterns and designs. This is a fun project which can be done with children from about 4 on up.

History of button jewelry:
This was a popular craft project in the 19th century when most clothes required buttons. Mothers saved buttons in jars. Children not only made jewelry with the buttons but also Christmas tree garlands and fireplace decorations. A display of buttons on strings has been on exhibit at the Connecticut Historical Society.