Friday, 18 February 2011

Vintage Spool Buttons

I have been looking for a winter coat for a while but they are either prohibitively expensive or not my style. I had a bit of a brainwave last night when I saw an old summer khaki coat in the wardrobe. I have had the coat since my uni days, so over 10 years - eeek! I've altered it already a number of times. So I took hooded top (which I no longer wear as its covered in paint) and I cut the hooded top up the middle at the front and sewed it into my khaki coat - ta da...New winter coat!! It doesnt look too shabby either.

I was going to buy some nice wooden buttons to sew down the centre of the coat to jazz it up a bit and was about to leave the house to go button shopping this morning when I suddenly realised I didnt need to buy any wooden buttons, I could use the ends of old wooden spools.

So, to make these bad boys all you need to do is collect a few old-fashioned wooden spools if don't have any already, often these are available on ebay, charity shops, freegle or from a relatives stash.

obbin Button

Have you ever wanted to featured in a 'whats hot' list? No? Me neither, but with these super-hot handmade buttons you may have to start fending off the style paps!

Materials: Wooden bobbins, Hacksaw, Vice, Bradawl or sharp pointy implement, Clear Varnish.

Choose bobbins with pretty advertising on their top and tail to give your buttons extra crafty wow factor.

(These buttons are really dry clean only, so bare that in mind whatever you sew the buttons onto)

  • First you need to saw off both ends of the bobbin using the hacksaw, sawing as close to the 'shaft' as possible. You can pop it in a vice or hold it down firmly on a table, being super careful of your hands
  • Next grab your bradawl, (For those not down with the tool lingo this is essentially a pokey thin spike with a handle) so if you havent got one a sharp thin nail would probably do.
  • Mark on your first 'button' in pencil where you want the holes to be, it can be a 2 holer or if you're feeling extravagent, a four holer!
  • Using the bradawl, press down on the bradawl vertically and use a twisty motion with pressure to create the holes.
  • To make sure your buttons are long lasting you will need to give them a coat of clear varnish
I use Plastikote Polyurethane Spray varnish, because its cheap, works fine and isnt too shiny and you dont have to faff about with a brush!


  1. what a brilliant idea & looks fab too! will have to share that on my new Tutorial Tuesday!

  2. Very cute!

    I am so in love with this idea!

  3. Brilliant!!! What a gorgeous button! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


  4. Thanks for your kind comments and for sharing!

  5. I thrift shop and usually end up with some of these old spools of thread. I use the thread and hate to throw these away but now I will use them on purses and such. Thanks!

  6. Amazing, love them will have to try them.

  7. This is SUCH a great idea! Thanks.