Saturday, 21 January 2012

Monogram Button Art

For a couple of months now I've been wanting to do some DIY wall art for Missy Moo's room.  I know I could have gone out and bought some art/pictures but she and I wanted to get our craft on and spend some time together (and I'm cheap frugal).

So last weekend, whilst our men folk were out we took over the kitchen table armed with only our imaginations, buttons, scrapbooking supplies, my laptop/printer and an IKEA frame.  In just over an hour (positioning the buttons with two Type-A people tends to take more time) we had a cute picture for her room!

While this is an easy craft it took me awhile to actually do it.  I started thinking about this craft back in the summer.  See how motivated I am!?!  I'm just a go-getter!  I had seen a monogram button art picture on Pinterest (it's like crack for moms) and I was intrigued.  Missy Moo was on board for helping me with this craft so off we went to our local thrift store and perused their used buttons.  See we're crafty and environmentally conscious and cheapA bag of buttons for $2??  We're in!!  We also wanted to have some of the colours in Missy Moo's room represented in the craft so we decided to buy a bag of buttons from a scrapbooking store ($8 for pretty pink, brown blue and teal buttons!!). 

I was all good for the other 'craft ingredients'.  I found a box of forgotten IKEA white picture frames in our basement (it's amazing what you'll find when you scour your own house for loot!!).  I also have a plethora of scrapbooking papers, adhesives etc that I purchased in several moments of insanity years ago when I jumped wholeheartedly on the scrapbooking bandwagon only to find that I have the attention span of a drunken gnat.  If anyone wants to see pictures from 80% of my trip to Italy five years ago let me know. 
So we had craft supplies.  Check.  Now, by using my mad math skills I figure this craft will cost me less than $10 since I won't use all the buttons and all the other supplies are considered 'free' since I bought them a long time ago.  Don't try to understand my 'free money' math logic.  I've made intelligent men (women seem to grasp this concept with no issues) bang their heads against walls trying to understand me.  "But it's not free if you bought it - even if it was a long time ago!"  Brad has tried numerous times in the past to grasp my 'free money' logic only to leave the conversation shaking his head.  It's one of the reasons he loves me ... I think.

Anyway, here's how you make a loverly button monogram!  There are the items you'll need:
  • paper (for your letter stencil)
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • Scotch tape
  • heavy cardstock (for your background)
  • buttons in all shapes and sizes
  • glue dots/squares
  • brads
  • picture frame (with removable glass)
First, go into Word and open a document.  Choose a font (I used Georgia).  Type in the letter you'd like to print in your new document and change the font size to 700 (you'll have to type it in because the pull down won't have a number that big).   You'll want to make sure that the size of your letter will fit into the frame you use.  I used an IKEA 8x10 frame but if your frame is a different size you'll have to see what font size will fit.  I tried to stay away from some of the fancier, frillier fonts because I wanted something simple and I thought too many curves may make it harder to define the outline of the letter using buttons.

If you're rolling in the dough and have money to burn on ink cartridges or printer toner then you can skip this next part.  If you're frugal like moi and want to save your printer toner/ink you'll want to print out only the outline of your letter.  Highlight the letter and right click.  Select 'Font'.  Under "Effects" choose "Outline".  Print out the outline of your letter.   If it fits your frame properly cut it out. 

On a piece of thick cardstock that has been cut to fit your frame, centre your paper letter and lightly trace it out with a pencil. 

I used a small piece of Scotch tape to secure the top of my "R" onto the cardstock to stop it from moving while I traced it.  Note: desticky the tape a bit by sticking it to your pants or shirt a few times so the tape doesn't stick to your cardstock too well and damage it.  Now you're ready to add the buttons!

Missy Moo and I placed the larger buttons on our "R" first then filled in the rest of the space with the smaller buttons and finally some little brads and some cute diamonds with adhesive on the back.  We also made sure to balance the colours of the buttons we used as well -- you don't want all the blue on one side and pink on the other.  That kind of thing not only looks wonky but it stresses me out!!

Once you have a general idea of what you'd like to do with your buttons it's time to 'glue' them on.  When I say 'glue' what I mean is we need to adhere them.  Honestly, I wouldn't suggest using a liquid glue.  It'll be messy and, with a lot of buttons, might make your cardstock a bit soggy.  You also don't want glue squishing out, right?
Instead, I suggest using Glue Dots and glue squares scrapbooking adhesives.  These worked like a charm and were small enough that we could use them even on the smallest buttons.  Also, using these adhesives makes layering the buttons a breeze!!  You could do a single layer of buttons but we liked the look of two or three layers to give the initial more interest, definition and texture.
Once you're done, remove the glass from your frame, fit your cardstock into it and replace the frame backing.  Voila!  Instant art and a fun afternoon with your eight year old!!

What cool DIY art projects have you tried your hand at?

Inspired by: Pinterest

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Jen at The Three Little Piglets said...

That's so cute! I've always wanted to do one of those names where you make each letter from a picture of some architectural element. But so far I am WAY too lazy to make that happen!

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Thanks, Jen! I have actually designed one of those initialized wall art pictures ... but have yet to print it off. I have our last name followed by 'est 1997' (the year we were married). It's one of those things that just gets pushed further and further down on my to do list. :)

Anonymous said...

Love it! I have lots of buttons that I've inherited from my Mom and Grandmother so this would be perfect to use them up.

Val said...

Great idea. I might even make some words with the buttons. Thanks.

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Anon and Val -- I'm so happy that I'm getting such positive feedback over this craft. :) It is a great way to use up those extra buttons that you acquire over the years. I was surprised at how pretty some buttons are. Very decorative. :)

Handmade by Hilani said...

Super cute. I heart Buttons!

Sarah said...

So cute!! I can't wait to try this. It turned out great! :)

I just started a new craft blog and I would love for you to follow and share ideas! :)

Your newest follower,

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Hilani & Sarah -- I'm so glad you like this craft! It's given Missy Moo and I the itch to create more!! We'll see what we can come up with this weekend. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this step by step guide! I discovered button art yesterday and wanted to find exactly HOW people go about doing it. I now need to go get some glue dots/squares to make my life easier :D Thanks. Helen

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Helen -- I'm so happy that my tutorial came in handy. Those glue squares make a big difference in how well the buttons stay on and how well you can layer them. Good luck! :)

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