Introduction: Button Picture

About: My husband calls me a Maker. My colleagues and students call me a great Creator from the kitchen. My family calls me Handy. My friends call me a great Innovator using upcyled materials. I call myself Lesa, I e…

I love buttons. I first fell in love with these delightful treasures when I was in college. My aunt gave me several coffee tins full of large, small, round, square, wooden, plastic buttons. They smelt like smoke as she was a smoker and many still had thread in the holes. It took me several days to wash the buttons and to remove all the thread. When I was done I made a long length mirror for my bedroom. I still have it 30 years later and get so many compliments on the art piece.

I view buttons as unique and individual like every person I meet. No one button is the same. I have jars of buttons...all spares, once holding a wool coat together or laying in a row down a nice cotton shirt.

Using spare buttons and extra beads I came up with this project. This is how I made my white Lilly picture however I hope this Instructable inspires you to create a button picture of your own. Happy creating.


White round buttons - different sizes and colours
Green round buttons- different sizes and colours
Large canvas
Tacky glue
Small black beads
Large black beads
Red beads, long and round ones
Small pearl beads
Small clear beads
Small gold beads
Green beads - different sizes and colours
Medium square paint brush
Large square paint brush
Medium angle paint brush
Extra small pointy paint brush
Black paint
Dark blue paint
Wooden sticks such a popsicle stick

Step 1: Choose a Subject

I love flowers and wanted to use this subject for this project. I wanted to choose a flower that would allow me to show texture. A had a ton of white buttons so I knew my Lilly was going to be white. Lillies have great texture on the leaves and the petals.

I collect buttons from all over, some are old some are new so this Lilly although white will still have different shades and styles of white.

Step 2: The Prep Work

1. Before you begin you will need to draw an outline of the picture onto the canvas using a pencil.
2. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, we will be paining the background later.
3. You will need to sort all the buttons into different sizes.
4. For this project I only want to use flat buttons so I sorted them . I tool all the flat buttons and I set aside the ones with the notch on one side.

Step 3: One Petal at a Time.

1. Time to begin. Start at the bottom of your picture.
2. Spread out some glue using a wooden popsicle stick
3. Start placing the buttons.
4. I like to use different sizes from extra large to small.
5. When placing the buttons try to place them together, limiting the number of gaps.
6. When one petal is done, go onto the next until all six are complete.

Step 4: Fill the Gaps

1. You will see gaps between the buttons.
2. Go back and try to fill these gaps with smaller buttons or the same coloured bead.
3. We are building texture.
4. I have used small pearls and clear beads. (I have a picture of gold and clear beads. They were in the same container, I only used the clear beads for this section of the project)

* Just a fun note, the small pearls were left over from my mom’s wedding veil. I up-cycled the veil and made a hair piece and saved the extra pearls. Now I am using some of the left over pearls in my artwork!

Step 5: Let’s Build the Stems

1. Just like the petals, start at the bottom of the steam.
2. Using the wooden popsicle stick place some tacky glue onto the canvas
3. Place your buttons.
4. Once your buttons are in place you can now add some beads to add texture.
5. I have many different green beads, long round etc.
6. I mixed them together
7. I placed some glue were I wanted texture, then added the beads

Step 6: Let’s Make the Inside Stems

1. Using my pictures as references I drew seven lines with my glue in the middle of the flower.
2. You can now start placing beads on the line of glue.
3. Six of the stems have black beads at the end. The stem in the middle is the main one,I put clear and gold beads for that one as in one photo the middle stem was a different colour than the rest. Don't worry! There are no mistakes, It’s your flower and they are all unique.

*Please note, when I took this photo I used red long beads for the ends of the petals. When I did the next step, it blended too much so I changed it and add two large black beads to the ends which make it stand out. You will be able to see it on the next photo.

Step 7: Details, Details, Details.

1. Know it is time to add some definition/details to the inside of your petals.
2. Using your photo as a reference, place glue in short lines around the middle of the flower.
3. Add the long red beads.

Step 8: Final Touches

1. Go back over your picture and fill in gaps or add beads to enhance to texture to the petals.
2. Add long green beads to the middle stems
3. Bulk up the main middle steam a little by adding more gold and clear beads.

Step 9: Let’s Paint

1. To make the Lilly stand out, I want to paint the background.
2. I did not paint the canvas to begin with because I wanted the white to show through to resemble a flower. If the back ground was dark it would look less as a flower.
3. Because my flower is white I don’t want to go with too strong of a contrast like black. So I am choosing to mix dark blue and black together.
4. I am using a paint pallet to mix, but you can use a spare clean container.
5. Once you have the colour you desire, with the small fine pointer brush, paint along the buttons very carefully.
6. Once you have done a section with the fine brush, use the two other brushes to fill in the back ground.
7. Work in small areas to the paint does not dry out.
8. Let your picture dry flat for 24 hours before hanging.

Enjoy your new Artwork!

Scraps Speed Challenge

Second Prize in the
Scraps Speed Challenge