A Shank Button Bracelet

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By Recycled Crafts Contributor, Anitra from the blog “Coffee Pot People”. 

In the past, finding a way to incorporate shank buttons in jewelry has kind of stymied and frustrated me, because there are so many really beautiful buttons just crying to be used. I begin to think I’ve found the answer. I’m also happy to say I’ve found a use for the beads from a rather unattractive necklace from a thrift store. Yes! You can recycle jewelry!

So, if you want to try this bracelet, you might start here:

A Small Shank Button Tutorial

The bracelet enlarges on that technique. So, pictures first, and then a bit of explanation on the difference between using the buttons for a bracelet and using them for earrings.

This is the finished bracelet:

And this is what I used:

Here’s a photo of the back of the bracelet:


As you can see, I didn’t fill the gap between the shank of the button and the ring bead, which added one more possibility for movement to the piece. It also wasn’t necessary to bring the wire to the back of the bead to prevent the beads’ spinning to show the wrong, or back, side–your wrist will do that.

So the process would be to make a wrapped loop on one end of a piece of wire about 2 1/2″ (6.35 cm) long, string on one side only of the circle bead, then the shank button, and then run the wire through the other hole in the bead, ending in another wrapped loop. After the first bead group, of course, you’ll want to join the wire-wrapped loops as you go, to create a chain of wire, buttons, and beads.

When you’ve joined the five buttons, measure the bracelet to your wrist, to see if you need another button-bead link. My wrist measures about 6 3/4″ (17.1 cm), so five was about right. More length will be added by the clasp assembly, in this case a silver capped bead wire-wrapped to each part of the clasp and the bracelet ends.

After you’ve created the basic bracelet, string the head pins:

  • 4 head pins strung with one oblong bead and three seed beads
  • 4 head pins strung with one oblong bead and two seed beads
  • 4 head pins strung with one oblong bead and one seed bead

Attach one of each group to the loops joining the bracelet links, using a wire-wrap or simple loop. (I prefer to wire-wrap, as it’s sturdier, and looks nice, myself.)

To make the matching earrings, I followed the process given in the A Small Shank Button Tutorial.

With these earrings, I did fill the space between the button shank and the inside edge of the circle beads, as I wanted the button to be centered on the ring.

As you can see, I also brought the wire used for the stringing and upper loop to the back, to keep them from spinning.

Finish the earrings with a dangle made from one oblong bead and a seed bead, and add the earring wires.


Just for fun, here are three more pairs, made using the same basic technique:


Notice that in the last pair, I brought the spin-stopping wire to the front, for some extra design oomph.

This was fun for me. Hope it gives you some fun, too!

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This entry was posted in Crafts, Jewelry Making on by .

About Anitra

Anitra Cameron had the good fortune to be born into a family where creativity ran rampant. Her father has authored several books and worked as a photographer and her mother hand-painted portraits. Anitra’s favorite crafts to make are: Jewelry (especially using buttons), collaged book marks, miniature cake stands, all from recycled materials. Anitra’s moto: “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without.” Live with that long enough and you’ll never want to throw anything away, so best to turn it into art! Anitra lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, where their combined family’s total seven children, and (so far) seventeen grandchildren. Recently Anitra became a great-grandmother of a darling little boy! You can find more of Anitra’s work at “Coffee Pot People”.

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