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Sew a button necklace with wire

Use twisted wire to sew five antique shell buttons into a necklace

These five mismatched mother-of-pearl buttons grouped together with oxidized silver create an antique look. Try this design with any combination of four- or two-hole buttons and wire — for instance, ceramic and colored craft wire, Lucite and copper, or Czech glass and gold — to achieve a funky, casual, or sophisticated necklace. Oxidized wire adds to the antique look!

Sew a button full necklace

SUPPLIES

necklace 18 in. (46 cm)

  • 1 5⁄16-in. (3.3 cm) two-hole button
  • 4 1 3⁄16-in. (3 cm) four-hole buttons
  • 22 1⁄4 in. (56.5 cm) 18-gauge twisted wire
  • 19 1⁄2 in. (49.5 cm) 22-gauge twisted wire
  • 1 1⁄2 in. (3.8 cm) 22-gauge round wire
  • 6 1⁄2 in. (16.5 cm) chain
  • anvil
  • chasing hammer
  • chainnose pliers
  • roundnose pliers
  • wire cutters

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Sew a button necklace with wire Photo A
PHOTO A
Sew a button necklace with wire Photo B
PHOTO B
WIRE COMPONENTS

1. Cut a 4 1⁄2-in. (11.4 cm) piece of 18-gauge twisted wire, and use roundnose pliers and your fingers to form a loose spiral about 7⁄8 in. (2.2 cm) in diameter, curving the tail close to the outer edge of the spiral. Place the loose spiral on an anvil, and hammer it a few times, flattening the raised surface (PHOTO A). Repeat three times to make a total of four loose spirals.

2. To make an end component, cut a 41⁄4-in. (10.8 cm) piece of 18-gauge twisted wire, and use roundnose pliers and your fingers to form a tight spiral about 9⁄16 in. (1.4 cm) in diameter, leaving a 1⁄2-in. (1.3 cm) tail. Using roundnose pliers, turn the tail up, and make a small perpendicular hook (PHOTO B). Hammer the spiral part of the end component. 

3. To make a hook component, cut a 11⁄2-in. (3.8 cm) piece of 22-gauge round wire. Using roundnose pliers, turn up one end, and squeeze it to the wire to make a small hook (PHOTO C). Bend the wire to make a larger hook, curving it in toward the small hook, and back out again. Make a medium-sized hook at the other end (PHOTO D). Hammer the hook component.

Sew a button necklace with wire Photo C
PHOTO C
Sew a button necklace with wire Photo D
PHOTO D
Sew a button necklace with wire Photo E
PHOTO E
Sew a button necklace with wire Photo F
PHOTO F
BUTTONS

1. Cut a 4 1⁄4-in. (10.8 cm) piece of 22-gauge twisted wire. Bend the wire about 1 1⁄4 in. (3.2 cm) from one end, and string two diagonal holes of a four-hole button on both ends of the wire with the top of the button facing the bend in the wire (PHOTO E).

2. Using the long end of the wire, go through an adjacent hole (PHOTO F). Cross the working end of the wire over the previous wire, and go through the remaining hole.

3. Position the tail and the working wire on each side of the button. Using roundnose pliers, turn up the end of the tail to make a simple loop (PHOTO G). Trim the working wire if needed, and repeat with the other wire end to make a second simple loop.

4. Repeat steps 1–3 three times to make a total of four four-hole button units.

5. Cut a 2 1⁄2-in. (6.4 cm) piece of 22-gauge twisted wire. Bend the wire in half, and string both holes of a two-hole button on both ends of the wire with the top of the button facing the bend in the wire. Position the ends of the wire on each side of the button, and turn a simple loop on each end.

Sew a button necklace with wire Photo G
PHOTO G
Sew a button necklace with wire Photo H
PHOTO H
Sew a button necklace with wire Photo I
PHOTO I
Sew a button necklace with wire Photo J
PHOTO J
Sew a button necklace with wire Photo K
PHOTO K
ASSEMBLY

1. To connect a button component to a loose spiral, gently pull the tail of a loose spiral away from the spiral, and string the plain loop of a button component (PHOTO H). Slide the spiral around to position the spiral tail at the bottom, and string a plain loop of another button component. Position the button components opposite each other, and press the tail close to the spiral (PHOTO I). 

2. Connect the remaining button components and spirals, placing the two-hole button in the center of the necklace.

3. Cut a 6 1⁄2-in. (16.5 cm) piece of chain in half. Open the remaining simple loop (Basics) on an end button component, and attach an end link of the chain. Close the loop (PHOTO J). Repeat on the other side.

4. Open the hook on the end spiral component, and attach an end link of a chain. Close the loop (PHOTO K). Repeat with the hook component on the other side. 

EDITOR'S NOTES 

  • Twisted wire might mar the planishing surface of your hammer. To avoid ruining a smooth hammer, use a hammer that you don’t mind roughing up a bit, use a rawhide or rubber mallet, skip the second half of step 1, or use round instead of twisted wire to make the spirals.
  • I used wire that was already oxidized. To speed up the oxidation process, you can submerge the components in liver of sulfur, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Then polish the surface of the wire to bring out the shine on the raised parts.
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