Instructables

Button Stash Management

Picture of Button Stash Management

Manage your button stash for future use.  Find all of one kind in moments.

Add or remove one button from a set without releasing all the others.

It's fast and easy - with no needles, thread, tangles, or tears.

 
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Step 1: What you need

Picture of What you need

Twist ties
Scissors suitable for cutting paper
Old nail clippers (or other wire cutter)
Your stash of buttons

Step 2: Trim twist ties - this is the hardest part

Picture of Trim twist ties - this is the hardest part
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Carefully cut about half of the 'wing' off both sides of the twist tie wire. You will want some resistance when you push the tie through a button's hole, so you need some wing left on both sides of the wire.

Trim LOTS of twist ties!  They keep.  At worst you'll have a lifetime supply in your sewing kit.

Step 3: Gather and sort your buttons

Picture of Gather and sort your buttons

Look in all the odd places loose buttons go.... drawers, pencil cups, beside the dryer etc etc. Gather them together and start sorting. (This is a great place to recruit small hands to help.)

Sort any way you like.

Personally, I usually start by sorting by color or material into four big groups

1-Warm colors -reds/browns/oranges
2-Cool colors: blues/greens/grays/blacks
3-Whites/ off whites
4-Metal

Those groups I divide into into: two holes - four holes - odd shapes - shank - shell

Then I start looking for "matches"...as in:  "Will these look OK down the front of the same shirt?"

Step 4: Start 'stringing' as you find groups of matching buttons.

Picture of Start 'stringing' as you find groups of matching buttons.

This is where having LOTS of trimmed ties is handy.

As you find buttons to make a set, start threading them onto the trimmed twist ties.

Friction will keep the buttons from falling off. 

Once on, you will easily know if a similar looking button is actually bigger or smaller than the others.

Keep going until nothing but odd single buttons remain.

Step 5: Cut off the excess and curl the ends.

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Clip any unwanted excess twist tie.

Curl the ends.

You can remove and replace buttons easily on the ties, and you have all of one set at a glance. 

Store in containers by major color groups.    Any odd buttons can be tossed into the appropriate box to wait for mates.

Enjoy!