Add your own unique touch by brightening a plain looking purse with buttons.

Step 1: The Purse

My criteria for the choice of purse were as follows;
  • plain black  - the colours should be from the buttons, white may work as well,
  • simple style - too many dangling bits, exterior buckles and exterior pockets make it difficult to attach the buttons and also take away the focus from the buttons,
  • smooth material - this makes it easier to glue the buttons to, fuzzy or course materials would be harder, and
  • cost effective - the less expensive the better.
After a few hours of searching on eBay, I picked up a Dyeables handbag style 1807 dyed black for $7 plus $12 shipping to Australia. The handbag is a very basic style with lots of large flat surfaces; the clasp is hidden out of the way as well.

Step 2: The Buttons

I sourced all my buttons from the females in my family, mum, auntie, grandmother. My initial plan was to produce a purely random arrangement on the purse, hence I collected all sizes and shapes of buttons, and the more unique the better I thought. I stayed away from dark colours and opted for brighter colours as it would contrast the black. All types of buttons are usable, flat, sew-though and even shank buttons.

The next step will show how to prepare the shank buttons.

Step 3: The Preparation

The button preparation

As we want to glue the buttons to the purse, any odd button types (shank buttons especially) need to be prepared first.

The example below shows the process for a shank button as follows;
  • with a pair of side cutters/Dremel cut the shank, and then
  • with medium grade sandpaper sand the back of the button flat.
I recommend sanding all the backs of the buttons (even the flat buttons) as it makes it course and easier for the glue to hold.

After sanding give all the buttons a wash to remove any of the plastic’s dust.

Step 4: The Design

As I mentioned, I was initially planning on placing the buttons randomly with as many unique buttons as possible. I realised this wouldn't look as nice as I hoped.

I started to arrange the buttons into colour piles and realised it looked nicer when the buttons were arranged this way. Also, I realised that placing the buttons in a geometric pattern was a better approach to a random distribution. Hence, it was decided to make a colour gradient on each side of the purse.

I used a sheet of paper first to see how it would look, and to determine the spacing between buttons. I eventually opted for a 10mm grid, as this would allow for the buttons to just not be touching.

Step 5: The Implementation

To make sure all the buttons were aligned on the purse; in pencil I drew a light 10mm square grid. To glue the buttons I chose 2-part epoxy due to its strength (advertised as holding up to 140kg). Glue the buttons going from row to row.

I decided to grind away some of the buttons that were protruding on the opening front flap.

Step 6: Final photos

Wow, beautiful, I love the colours.<br />
That looks awesome!<br />

About This Instructable


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