Heirloom Button Art

When my Grandma passed away about a year ago, her granddaughters were able to chose some of her jewelry to keep and remember her by. I picked a couple pairs of earrings and a brooch that belonged to her mother, my great grandmother, and a tin full of really old buttons.



I already had a few buttons that belonged to my dad's mom, so I was excited to have a collection from both sides of my family. I'm sentimental about family things, so I knew I'd want to do something with these old buttons rather than hide them away.



My amazing sister, Ali, was visiting us this week and I thought this would be a fun project for us to tackle together. We pulled out the buttons late one night, when Evie woke up. I got her out of bed and let her join us for a bit. She was so excited by these buttons!







After Evie went back to bed, Ali and I got busy arranging the buttons on this interesting white burlap. It's mounted on heavy paper and I've never seen anything like it (I got it at Bettertex fabrics in SoHo). It a nice heavy weight and the color is interesting with the white fibers on the yellow paper. I'm sure a stiff burlap or a grasscloth would work similarly.



I cut the fabric down to size and ironed it flat. Then we arranged the buttons by color in horizontal lines, but tried to be a little loose about placement so that it didn't look overly thought out.



The top row is green, then yellows/golds, two rows of whites and creams, blues, blacks/browns/purples and then reds/pinks.



Many of the buttons had old bits of thread still in the button holes and I kept these. For contrast Ali and I threaded some of the buttons with colorful thread.



Then we cheated and fabric glued all the buttons in place. It would have taken ages to sew them all down and it would have been tricky to get the placement and spacing right. Using Fabritac to secure the buttons took about 10 minutes total and they are all holding very well.



After the glue dried, I framed the buttons in an old aluminum frame from the 60s that I got at a flea market for $1. The artwork it used to hold was nasty, but I loved the frame and thought I could change out the art. It was the perfect size for this project! Framing can be really expensive, so whenever you are at a thrift store or a flea market, keep an eye out for well made frames in standard sizes that can be reused.



I'm happy with the way this easy project came out. I like that it is colorful and has great texture. And I love that it is something that can be studied. There are lots of pretty and unique buttons. Many of them are connected to childhood memories I have of my grandmothers.



For now, I put the button art in a gallery wall arrangement above the dining table.



This space is still very much a work in process, but the buttons are a fun, graphic addition. Seeing them every day makes me smile.


115 comments:

cafenoHut said...

So cute, simple buy very stunning.
Love it.

pve design said...

you hit it on the button.
love it.
pve

Fran said...

Jenny, I love this idea - simple but impactful and oh so meaningful!! I'm saving this one in my inspiration files!

Rene said...

Jenny, I love this project on so many levels! What a lovely addition to your wall gallery too.

mel said...

What a gorgeous way to remember someone special. I love your idea so much. Your gallery looks lovely.

Southern Exposure said...

This looks great! I love all of the textures and what a nice way to remember your grandmothers.

Sadie + Stella said...

I love this idea! I wish I had some heirloom buttons sitting around...I am sure I could conjure up some that have fallen off some clothing :) Looks great on the gallery wall!

www.sadieandstella.blogspot.com

Jenn said...

It turned out beautifully. I like how you arranged them by color. It must be fun to look at!

The Lawyer's Wife said...

I love it!!! So stunning and so meaningful! You will treasure this piece forever and the time you spent with your sister making it!

xoxo
MPM

Holly said...

What a beautiful piece of art, and I love the story attached to it. Great job!

meenal @ maison marigold said...

what a beautiful idea and totally unique artwork..looks fabulous mixed with the rest of the art! great job, jenny..have a lovely day..do visit my blog when you have a moment..xx meenal

Andrea said...

what a great idea. I love how it turned out.

Maretta said...

I LOVE this! I have a box full of buttons from my grandmothers, great aunts etc and this is such a great way to use them!

chillart said...

Jenny, that is so special. What a treasure to look at everyday. Love how the gallery is looking.

Chelsea Earnhardt Plax said...

i, too, have a box full of my grandmother's many interesting buttons! wonderful and thoughtful idea.

Brilliant Chic said...

Looks like the perfect addition to your gallery wall!

Anne said...

I really love this, Jenny! I love the combination of the way you laid out the buttons, the texture of the background, and the simple aluminum frame.

The Cuban In My Coffee said...

What a cute project. I wasn't sure about the buttons since I'm not much of a buttons kind of gal but I love how it looks in your collage. You made it a bit fresh and modern, how about that! Thanks for the idea.

http://thecubaninmycoffee.blogspot.com/

XOXO, Whitney (the cuban in my coffee)

heather s. said...

Gorgeous! I'm going to have to remember this since I have a lot of my grandmother's and mother's buttons.

angela said...

Love it! What a great idea. I am a sucker for sentimental artwork, I have some of my grandfather's old photos in my house.

Ashley said...

What a fantastic way to display meaningful family heirlooms. Beautiful, Jenny, as always. Oh, and Evie is ADORABLE!

Janell @ Isabella and Max said...

Unbelievable. Now don't I wish I had done this with my grandmothers stash of old buttons!! It looks just amazing on the wall. Janell

Courtney said...

What a cute idea! I also love that you glued them :)!

--Courtney

lizziefitz said...

Fantastic idea! I love that you will always have the memory of making with your sister ( and sweet Evie)! Stil LOVE your carpet!!!

Jil Casey said...

Your daughter is adorable! I like your graphic take on the buttons. I collected buttons for awhile and always intended to frame some, reminds me that I should.

{ a m b e r } said...

What a lovely way to show those buttons. And your gallery wall is simply amazing!

Julie said...

Brilliant idea! And now these precious buttons are safe and sound, in a lovely display. So pretty.

Kathy said...

I can't believe it's been almost a year now. I Love this idea to showcase button and what a great way to tell your kids about their great-grandmas. Happy and simple. and I'm sure grandma would love it, too. : )

Bethany said...

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love the graphic, modern look using things from your family history!!! Wow!

Megan said...

Love this concept, and it could be done with many different types of heirloom pieces, such as broaches, hairpins, or even beads. I see it as a a modern twist on quilting, by combining individual heirloom pieces you have created one beautiful, cohesive piece. Great idea and thanks for sharing!

Once a Miss Now a Queen said...

I love anything to do with buttons, specially old buttons! Nicely done!

Julia's Bookbag said...

OOOOOOOH this was a GORGEOUS project!!!!!

JWK said...

Looks amazing!! And such a special piece to hand down to your girls someday...

Barbie said...

There you go again. So perfect. Want this in my home!

Rebecca said...

Love this, first because it is so meaningful, and second because it is so very pretty!

Heather Anne said...

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?! Why haven't you done a post yet on the wall art in the dinning room?!?! I am sooooooo in love with gallery layout! OK, I don't think that I can make it through two weeks till I move out there!

BTW I love this project. I think that it's the perfect way to remember the Grandmas.

barbara@hodge:podge said...

Fantastic idea. My grandma also passed away in the fall and I asked for some of her buttons! She had a fantastic collection of gorgeous mother-of-pearl buttons. I should get a shadow box and do the same!

Thanks for the idea. Love your gallery wall by the way! {and that lumbar pillow on your sofa - gorgeous!}

Adrienne said...

A wonderful and unique project. I absolutely love it. And the pictures of Evie are precious. Thank you for sharing this!

Peppermint Bee said...

I have jars full of buttons from my Nana and my Mom too! That's a great idea!

Angeline said...

Oh Evie is so adorable! Thanks for sharing this awesome project - love your gallery wall- so inspiring!

HannahJ said...

LOVE IT! It looks amazing on your gallery wall! I found an etsy artist who does button/bead artwork- so pretty!
http://www.etsy.com/shop/NicoletteTabram

Karen said...

Love it!

Karen said...

Love it!

Erin said...

What a great idea! Looove your gallery wall and I think the button art makes a nice addition!

t g said...

I inherited all my Grandmothers tea cloths she embroidered while she was pregnant with my Dad but have never figured out a way to display them. Thanks for the ideas!

Rina said...

I like this clever idea! I think it would also work with any other types of collections like stamps, coins etc.

Sam M. said...

such a great idea! i predict this will start a mini-trend.

Heather said...

Gorgeous DIY and gorgeous child. Well done on both. :)

my little apartment said...

this is so delightful!! loved all the photos and the outcome is really charming.

Upscale Downhome said...

Wonderful! I love how you took the antique buttons and made the whole thing look so modern and fresh by color blocking them and putting them in the simple silver frame. Gorgeous! I have my grandma's buttons, too. I love them so much; I might just have to copy this idea.

Polly said...

What a lovely project! Well done. x

parrott design studio said...

What a lovely idea! I love your gallery wall too.

Katie @ covestreetblog said...

Fabulous idea!! I may need to get collecting and give it a try. It looks awesome on your gallery wall!

Team Botanical said...

Genius! I, too, have quite a collection of buttons from both grandmas, and I had no idea what to do with them. Really great work.

Aja said...

I love this idea! So simple and cool.. and sentimental. Lovely.

Melanie Burk said...

OH I love that! So beautiful. You are so talented!

Jesse said...

i have way too many buttons i've been wanting to do a project with for over a year, love this idea!

Four average Joes said...

love, love, lovity love, love LOVE it!

Sally said...

I love it. What a wonderful idea. I may take your lead. Could be fun to do with my granddaughter. I also love your wall of art. I have to get busy and hang some pictures (old and not so old) that I have recently had framed. They hold many memories and need to be on the wall rather than stored in a closet. Thanks for the push.

Heidi said...

Such a perfect idea. And the graphic look is amazing!

Luella and June said...

This is so great. I feel really inspired to take on a similar project now!

Martha said...

so perfect!

Kendra said...

Absolutely LOVE the fabric of your bolsters. Would you share your source? Beautiful!

Amy @ Ink'd said...

I love how that turned out! It is a great reminder of your past & would make me happy to have hanging up.

lynne said...

so beautiful!!

LisaM said...

So neat!

Regina said...

My grandmother passed away recently, and she did the same with us girls. we got to draw straws for her jewelry. I got a beautiful collection of her pins. I did something very simmilar to what you made! It is a great way to remember those whom we love.

Mo Pie, Please said...

This is so neat, such a great idea! And a cute baby to boot!

Lonely Wife Project said...

This is the cutest idea ever! Absolutely must steal it ;)

justtherightangle said...

Love it! Such a fresh take on something many of us probably have lying around. I have a tin of buttons from my grandmother too...I think I feel a project coming on!

Inspiration for Decor said...

What a unique and meaningful piece of art! It looks positively lovely hanging on your gallery wall. Very inspiring!

Sarah said...

I love this! It's simple yet has such great memories behind it! Great idea and DIY!

CinnamonInk said...

That is SUCH a great idea! I love the meaning behind it... I want to make one!

xo,
Kate
www.cinnamonink.blogspot.com

Jill said...

What a brilliant way to display your collection/memories. I really love how it turned out, with the lines & colors. Thanks for sharing your great idea.

Melissa said...

I love the modern look of your piece especially on the wall with the more traditional art....it is a really great mix!!! Congratulations on such a creative use of meaningful materials!!

charity said...

Hi Jenny. This is such a great idea and a wonderful way to remember special loved ones. I also have to say that Evie is the cutest little gal! I had to smile when I saw those pictures of her playing with the buttons!

Rachel said...

I LOVE THIS!!! What a beautiful display. Definitely want to add this to my "do to someday" list.
Thanks for sharing!

Hana said...

this is so beautiful and simple! and that gallery wall.... oh, i cannot wait to see more! xo

Carey said...

This looks darling! But, lovingly, I have to tell you that those buttons are choking hazards for your sweet baby. Those little darlings can put tiny objects in their mouth before you even realize it. (Sorry, not trying to scold, just the mother in me.)

Jenny at LGN said...

Thanks for your concern, Carey! We don't normally have small objects like this in Evie's reach and we know buttons are not toys. She was being monitored very closely for the two or three minutes that we let her touch and look at the pieces.

Thanks!

Megan Elizabeth said...

What a great idea! This is what I love most about blogs. Sometimes I stumble upon something so amazingly inspirational, I can't help but wish I had thought of it first!

Staci said...

What an awesome idea! I have a bag full of my Grandma's old buttons, I may have to copy your idea. I love it! Great job!

Lisa said...

Sweet diggity, this is an awesome idea. Love it.

Jen of MadeByGirl said...

Just stunning! :))))))))

shannon said...

Wonderful!! Love it!

Brooke said...

What a wonderful project! I love that it is so simple but so full of meaning. And it looks great on your wall!

I'm Busy Procrastinating said...

What a wonderful way to keep a memory alive ... and visible. It's great that you and your sister did it together, too. And ... it looks perfect on your wall with the other items.

Meredith M. said...

I love this... what a sweet daily reminder of your grandmother. I have my late grandmother's sewing box and may need to check it for old buttons! Evie is too cute, too!

Laura@JourneyChic said...

I love this! My grandma had loads of buttons, and I have a ton of "spares" from clothes I don't even own anymore. Thanks to you I now know what to do with them!

Margot Madison Creative said...

I love this! A friend and I were just talking about how delightful that tin of buttons that our mothers & grandmothers always had. I forwarded the post to inspire a project with them. Thanks for the great idea!

ashley@decorology said...

Beautiful and unique!

Emily said...

What a lovely idea! I love the meaning behind it!

holly.craig@comcast.net said...

fabulous!

First House on the Right said...

What a beautiful and original way to remember your grandmother! Nicolex

Celeste said...

I love this. When my great-grandmother died I ended up with her buttons and sewing notions, and I don't know how to display them. This has given me some ideas though! Well done.

SHERRY HART said...

OK...I had to comment on this one! Awesome idea.

patricia said...

Hello, In the picture with the long flower pillows - where did you get those or what fabric is it??? I have been looking for FAB floral fabric and have the hardest time finding it!!!!???

Suggestions on great floral fabric (and wallpaper) that doesn't look like a little girls room???

Kate said...

This is a fabulous, fresh idea for buttons! I have a few jars and tins of my grandmothers' buttons sitting around waiting for some inspiration. Thank you for providing just that!

Get a Blog said...

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Lauren Corbyn said...

Absolutely fantastic. Fantastic!

Happy Habitat said...

Simply beautiful. And even better on the wall mixed in with the gallery art. Inspiring.

Nora said...

The button project is great and all, but I just have to say that the best part about that post is EVIE! She is just scrumptious. Those chubby, delicious legs! You just want to take a nibble!

Amber Interiors said...

Genius as always!

Tracey said...

I have a tin of these. What a fab idea!

Midwest Magnolia - Melissa Lewis said...

Ok, seriously now...best idea EVAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I could do this. Growing up, I remember hanging out in my Mimi's (my grandmother) sewing room while she sewed. She had a built in with cabinets that had mason jars full of ribbons and buttons. She tells me now, since she has moved, she has no idea where those are. Makes me so sad. I would love to have them! I would love to frame this this way:)

Tamsyn said...

How absolutely gorgeous! I love it.

Competition said...

very nice job.Really impressive.

Mod Podge Amy said...

OMG - When I was little, I played with my great-grandmother's button collection ALL THE time! I think it fostered my love of crafting. I used to sort by size, color . . . I have great memories of that collection! This art is awesome. And that baby is ridiculously cute!

Happy Habitat said...

What a cool story that turned into a great piece of art. You inspired me, and I've linked to this post!

Abbey said...

love this!

Elizabeth Downie said...

My grandma recently gave me a tin of buttons so this is perfect! Thanks for another great idea and tutorial!

And i have to say, your daughter is simply adorable!

Pearl said...

Wow! I love what you did with the buttons!! What an amazing idea!
Thanks for sharing!!
I'm a big lover of your blog and all your helpful tips!


Pearl

Sara Grace said...

what a lovely idea! http://adventuresofdutchandme.blogspot.com/

1-2Punch said...

Absolutely love it! I too inherited a button collection from my nana, I have added to it over the years, your display is simply charming.

Kahtie said...

I LOVE your wall!! How do you decide which pieces get to go on there? And how do you hang them all so straight and evenly? I've tried to do something similar but it is no where near as lovely as our wall. Bravo!

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