Giant Button - a Nice Handmade Gift for Crafters




About: I've worked for Instructables off and on since 2006 building and documenting just about everything I enjoy doing. I am now the Creative Programs founder and manager for Autodesk and just finished building o...

So maybe you, or someone you know likes to sew and craft, and has a burgeoning button collection that hasn't quite gotten off the ground yet, and is also in need of some nice original wall art to decorate their home with?  Look no further because making your very own giant button is the perfect thoughtful and creative answer!

The 18" button is hand crafted from pine boards and "sewn" with parachute cord.  Now all I have to do is find a really big sweater...

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Step 1: Materials and Tools

  • 18" pine round circle from Home Depot
  • parachute Cord
  • paint
  • picture hanging supplies
  • router w/ circle jig
  • palm sander
  • ruler
  • square
  • painting supplies
  • drill
  • large spade drill bit

Step 2: Find Center of Circle

I just wrote an entire dedicated Instructable specifically on this topic.

Check it out and use it as step 1...How to find the center of a circle.

Step 3: Route Out Center of Circle

Now that we've found it, it's time to route it out.

I used a Jasper Circle Jig to create a crisp boundary on the exterior of the area that is being routed out.  I then routed out the center by freehand.

I used an 1/4" bit with the Jasper Jig since that's what it requires, but then switched to a 1/2" bit to do the rest so it would go a bit faster.  All in all it took about 10 minutes.  Not too bad.

Step 4: Sand Smooth

The wood was left with some inconsistencies from the routing process.  These can easily be sanded out with a random orbital sander.  Pine is soft, this takes no time at all.

Step 5: Prime

I painted a coat of primer onto the table so that I'd get a really nice second coat of color.  Why did I prime before all the woodwork was done?  I don't know really, I just thought I'd stay consistent to whats shown in the pictures.

Step 6: Mark and Drill Button Holes

I marked four points approximately 4 inches from the center of the circle.  They're evenly spaced and represent the four corners of a square.

I then used a large spade bit - the bigger the better in this situation I think, and drilled out four button holes on those marks.

Step 7: Route Out Space for Thread on Back

This step is sort of optional, but I had the router handy so I decided to go all the way.  With a straight bit in the router, cut out some channels for the parachute cord to lay in on the back of the button.  This way it can hang flush against the wall should you or your recipient choose to mount it that way.

Step 8: Paint It a Nice Color

I chose to paint my button a nice sky blue.  You can paint your button any color you like.

Step 9: Mounting Hardware

I bought a simple picture hanging hardware kit from the store and screwed it to the back of the button.

Step 10: Sew It

Parachute cord seemed to be about the right weight and cost to use as thread for the button.  All in all I think I used about 20 feet of bright yellow p-cord to "sew" it on.  In reality it just loops around the back and is tied into place.

I opted for the standard cross stitch button sewing pattern, as opposed to the square box stitch just because I liked it better and I think it looks more iconic.

Putting some duct tape around the top of the string/thread helped me pass it through the button holes easier.  (I didn't think that making a giant needle was necessary too...)

Step 11: Hang It

You've just made a giant button, hang it anywhere that you like!



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    26 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Very reto idea! Love it! I think I'll skip all the wood working tho.This can be simulated by using & recycling a" pickle bucket" lid. SWEET! Thank for the idea!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    It was a by-product of the Compass Table.  Version 1 was made of pine, Version 2 was made of sanded plywood so that it would match the look and feel of the legs.  Much better in my opinion.

    I assume this is what you mean?


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     I thought so too - I am so jealous of your skill with a router. I can use about everything else but that. Oh, and great 'ible, very funny pop art. Make more giant stuff!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    The router is a great tool to get comfortable with.  It's safe and often produces the finishing element of a project that takes it from good to great.  If it's really the only tool that you've been shying away from, you should really go for it.  I'm encouraging you - "Go, go!"

    Btw, making big/excessive projects is sort of my jam on Instructables...



    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Baby Baby, that is why I subscribe to you. Anyway as far as the router goes, it's on my list of things to do before I die so I will, I will.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Sewing a stuffed pig shut for a pig roast a few years ago with a custom made steel needle and thread is as close as I can come to your request.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    PS, Ninzerbean's got me saying baby now in my comments...look below.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    (It comes from a  quote I heard that goes "Baby Baby, you're the best". It's a great line for guys to learn and practice saying with feeling.)


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Really thick mono filament would like very very nice in this application.  If you can't put your hands on some thick glass/mirror, then perhaps just some clear acrylic would look good.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I have a machine called a ringmaster that will cut a disk out of flat wood up to twelve inches in diameter, and I am thinking of making some giant buttons using that.  The library is about to close, or I would have a lot more to say.