Back in December I did a crazy blog series called "Holidays Handmade."
For a week I posted at least three tutorial posts every single day. There were some amazing guest bloggers and lots of fantastic projects. But it was a lot to digest. So I thought that this week we might do "Christmas in July" and highlight some of those awesome crafty projects in case you're already planning what to make for the holidays this year.
This guest post on making a button tree is from Diane Payne. She has an awesome tutorial on how to turn hundreds of buttons into some adorable Christmas home decor!
Hello everyone! I’m Diane Payne and I’m so excited to be here sharing a tutorial using buttons, lots of buttons!
I must admit, I love buttons and I always have. In fact, there was a time when I didn’t complete a layout that didn’t include them. However, things change and I found I wasn’t using them as much anymore and was actually thinking about getting rid of some. One day while surfing the internet I discovered a design made using buttons which sent me running for my neglected stash. I started with a fall tree and even before finishing I knew I wanted to make a Christmas tree next. Today, I’m going to share with you my process for creating a button Christmas tree, complete with ornaments, tree skirt and presents.
To make my Christmas tree I used a variety of things I already had in my stash, with the exception of the frame, which I purchased. Here is what I used:
- Pom Pom trim
- Acrylic paint
- Metallic spray mist
- Paint brushes
- Spray bottle
- Fabric glue and Modge Podge
- Chipboard or cardboard
- Assorted beads
- Freezer paper/wax paper (to protect your work surface)
I am a big advocate of using what you have on hand so feel free to make substitutions, based on the supplies in your stash.
PAINTING THE CANVAS BACKGROUND
I purchased a frame with an opening large enough to accommodate the size I envisioned for my tree. After measuring the opening in the frame, I cut a piece of canvas one and one-half inches larger than the opening of the frame on all sides. Next, I ironed the canvas to remove any wrinkles.
Now we’re ready to start painting the background for the canvas. Before you begin, protect you work area with freezer paper, or something similar, since the canvas will become saturated with paint and may seep through to the back of the canvas onto your work surface.
For my background color I chose pale yellow to emulate a glowing backdrop for my Christmas tree. I used Claudine Hellmuth paint, but any acrylic paint that you have will work.
- Place a small amount of your selected paint on a piece of wax paper and mix in a little water.
- Using a spray bottle, spray water on a small section of the canvas and begin painting over the wet section.
- As you paint, spray the painted canvas section with additional water to help spread it evenly across the canvas.
- Continue in this manner until you have covered the entire background.
When finished, set the canvas aside to dry. If it is a sunny day, set it outside to speed up the drying process. I have also set painted canvas on top of my dryer while drying a load of laundry. The heat from the top of the dryer will help speed the drying time. DO NOT put the canvas in your dryer, as the paint will stain the inside and transfer to your clothing.
ADD A LITTLE SPARKLE
Once the canvas was dry I added a little shimmer to the background by spraying the canvas with metallic mist. You can’t see it in the pictures but the mist gave the yellow canvas a beautiful shimmer, perfect for my holiday scene!
ATTACH THE CANVAS TO A HARD BACKING
After the mist dries, adhere the canvas to a hard surface, such as a piece of cardboard or chipboard. Your frame may already have a cardboard backing, if not, cut one the size of your opening. Place the backing and canvas inside the frame opening to ensure it fits before you adhere them together.
- Place the canvas on your work surface, painted side down
- Spread a thin layer of glue over the backing (I used Modge Podge)
- Center the backing, glue side down, on the unpainted side of the canvas
- Run your hand over the backing to firmly adhere them together
- Turn it over and run your hand over the canvas, smoothing it out and ensuring you don’t have any air bubbles
Please note: it is very important that you glue the canvas to the hard backing. If you don’t the canvas will buckle.
- Cut from each corner of the canvas in at a diagonal to the corner of the hard backing.
- Move in approximately one inch in from each corner and cut in towards the corner of the backing, until you intersect with the first cut.
- Fold the canvas over the back, and using glue and/or tape secure the excess canvas to the hard backing (I used both).
- Place your canvas into the frame and secure using the hardware provided with your frame.
It is easy to make a tree skirt and it adds a lot of character to the project.
- Trace an oval onto a piece of felt and then cut it ou.
- Using fabric glue, attach the pom pom trim along the edge of the felt.
- Adhere the tree skirt to the canvas background with the fabric glue.
Next, I grabbed my bag of buttons and set all the green ones aside. I like to use a mix of sizes and shades for more interest and dimension. I also selected a handful of brown buttons for the trunk of the tree.
BUILDING THE TREE
Now we are ready to build the tree. I like to do this on the canvas.
- Starting with the trunk of the tree place the brown buttons on top of the tree skirt
- Working from the trunk and moving up, add the green buttons for the tree
- Use the smaller buttons at the tips of the branches and larger buttons in the center of the tree for a more balanced look
- Don’t be afraid to overlap and layer some buttons for added interest
When you are happy with the design you can start gluing each button onto the canvas. Before I started, I cut off a few of the pom poms that were directly under the trunk buttons so the buttons would lie flat.
- When gluing, start with the trunk and worked from the bottom to the top
- Move buttons out of the way, as necessary, to ensure all pieces are glued to the canvas
Tip: You can pick up inexpensive tools at the craft store that can assist you in picking up beads, buttons, etc., like the pink tool shown in the picture, or a pair of tweezers. It is not necessary but can make the job a little easier with really small buttons.
After all the buttons are glued down, randomly glue beads in a variety of sizes and colors on the tree for ornaments.
- Paint chipboard in a variety of colors with acrylic paint
- After the paint dries, apply a glossy medium on top to make the packages shiny, if desired
- Embellish the presents with twine, trim and buttons
This completes the Christmas tree. Set it aside and let the glue dry. Now, step back and take a moment to admire your beautiful framed art! Once it is dry, display in a prominent location in your home for all to enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. I think this would also work great for many other designs, such as, a snowman, flowers, hearts and stars, to name a few. If you try this or any other design with your buttons I would love to see it, please visit me at my blog, Color Me Happy, for a little show and tell!
I reside in Texas with my husband and our two teenage children. When I’m not working I enjoy spending time with my family. If I need a little “me” time I escape to my scrapbook room. I love a variety of crafts from traditional scrapbooks, altered items, journals, card making and handmade home décor.
It gives me great joy to inspire others and to be inspired by the talents of crafters from around the world. I hope you’ll come visit me at Color Me Happy for more ideas and projects. You can also visit me on Etsy at dmariememories.
I adore this project! I just have to collect enough buttons to make my own! And I saw that in February Jen Jockisch did a beautiful button monogram. I love that idea too! You can see a listing of all of the Holidays Handmade posts here.
Some other decor-related posts to check out from Holidays Handmade are:
P.S. If you'd like to find me at CHA next week...
- I'll be running make&takes in The Crafter's Workshop booth.
- I'll be walking the floor, doing some buying for Flock Shop.
- On Monday I'll be speaking on two panels: this one and this one.
Come and say hi! I'd love to meet you/reconnect! :)