Today my husband and I grabbed our passports and crossed over the bridge from Johnstown, Ontario to Ogdensburg, New York. I was on a mission to find a dress pattern for an 1812 costume and findings for more clip-on earrings. My husband wanted to fill up our gas tank. We headed first to the Joanne store where I was thrilled to discover the very things I was looking for and more. I bought up all the remaining packages of clip-on backs. I was looking for the silvery kind, but only found one package of them. The rest were gold coloured. Then I pored over the buttons and found a bag of pumpkins, two bags of Christmas buttons, a card of two Santa head buttons, some shamrocks and a pretty pair of violet flowers I couldn’t resist. I would have liked to fill up my basket, because there were some cute daisy buttons, some pansies, a bag of snowflakes and one of cute ghosts. As it was, I managed to find a white paint pen that I needed too. The dress pattern took a bit longer but it was in the Burda pattern book as a “Josephine” gown (otherwise known as Regency). I didn’t need material, because I am planning to use an old sheet set that has been sitting in my linen closet. I will post a picture of it when it is finished.
As soon as I got home, I took out my wire cutters and took the loops off the backs of the buttons. Then I heated up my glue gun and went to work making my earrings. The ones pictured above are the result. I am very pleased with how they turned out and can’t wait to wear my pumpkins for Thanksgiving (Oct. 8 here in Canada) and for Halloween.
If you are anything like me and cannot have pierced ears ( been there, did it and ended up with a messy infection due to an allergic reaction) or you simply choose not to, you might like an alternative. Years ago when ear piercing was not so widespread women wore clip earrings. You may have noticed that they are almost impossible to find now unless you haunt estate sales, auctions or your grandmother’s closet. I have long admired the cutesy earrings worn by friends who do have pierced ears. It seems that they always have seasonal earrings in their earlobes – Christmas Trees, Easter eggs, Halloween pumpkins, etc. I was envious because I just had to make do with the pairs I had which were sparkly, or the right colours for the season.
Then one day I was looking at some photos of the beautifully knit sweaters a friend had made for my children when they were small. They had puppy, cowboy, and kitten designs on them with buttons to match each design. I remembered seeing other buttons for children’s clothes and even some for adults with interesting shapes and objects on them. Hmm, I thought, I wonder if I could use actual buttons to make some fun earrings for myself. I made a trip to the craft department of a local Walmart and sure enough I found some daisies, yellow ducks, and apples on the button rack. I then searched for the snap-on earring findings. These are a bit harder to find. I needed the kind that have a flat surface on which I could glue my buttons. A crafts store like Michaels is the best place to look, but even then it may be quite a search. The helpful clerk at the store I shopped in suggested a trip to a second-hand clothing store might be the answer. They often sell bags of old clip-on or screw-back earrings for a mere pittance and the unwanted decorations could be removed so that the findings could be re-used.
I did find the kind of backing I needed, so I heated up my glue gun and prepared to make my earrings. The first thing I had to do was take the plastic loop off the back of the buttons. It can be done very carefully with the wire-cutting pliers. All that remains then is to hot glue them to the metal backing. I was a bit concerned that the glue might not hold but I have worn my earrings several times and they are still intact. Use just enough glue to fasten the buttons securely to the backing. Wait until the glue dries completely before trying them on (ear burns otherwise). Buttons with holes are good to use as well. You could always put a small bead in the holes if they bother you, but otherwise, don’t bother. No one will notice and if they do they will simply think it is part of the design.
Have fun making your earrings. Today I found some really great strawberry buttons as well as some with air planes, tugboats, and trains. I also saw (but didn’t purchase) some nice black and white lace designs and some bumble bees and lady bugs. Actually, you might find some great buttons in your own button jar at home. Never throw away a garment without checking the buttons. You never know what treasures you have in your rag bag.