Shell Button Choker

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Just in time for summer, a lovely and unique repurposing of a vintage button.

Step 1: Shell Button Choker

  • I came across some LARGE vintage abalone shell buttons recently, too beautiful to relegate to the trash, but a bit too large to use on any clothing. A cousin saw them, and raved how they'd be perfect to bring out the blue in her eyes.

Materials List:

1 - Large shell button (I'm talking the size of a silver dollar or better.)

1 - Velvet choker (I chose a soft blue.)

Thread (Button cord is best, very strong. I only had black, but it got covered later.)

Strong needle for button cord

Jewelers Glue (Aleene's is good.)

5 - Small glass flower beads (I chose pink, to offset the blue shell.)

5 - Tiny glass beads (Green, to complement the pink and blue.)

Silver toggle and chain

Tools (Pliers, cutters, thread snips.)

Toggle setup: My choker had a standard, ugly toggle. I removed it, and added a silver heart-shaped toggle, along with a dragonfly charm, my signature on all my jewelry. I find it is far easier to do this step first, before any other work.

Step 1

Determine the orientation of your button - most abalone has a pattern that just LOOKS better if rotated a certain way.

Step 2

Center the button on the choker. This is an important step, especially if you're using a velvet choker - it can be a touch difficult to steam the holes closed if you sew it on and need to move it.

Step 3

Attach securely with thread, dab ends with a bit of glue after knotting. Let dry for thirty minutes. (Trust me on this one, you cannot get the glue off of velvet. Ack!)

Step 4

Once the glue is dried, flip 'er back over. I wanted my beads to look natural, so I played around with the positioning for a bit. I found an arrangement that didn't appear too awfully static, so I used a head pin to dot glue on the button, letting it get tacky. At the same time, I used needle-nosed pliers to allow access to the back of the flower beads, and dotted them, one at a time, with glue. I then gently set the beads on the button, pressed firmly with my fingertip, and let dry. When all the flower beads were set, I used my head pin to go around the edges of the flower beads, and ensure they were well glued. I then dotted the green glass beads with glue, pressed firmly, and followed up with extra glue as with the flower beads. LET DRY OVERNIGHT.

Step 6

Enjoy!!! As my buttons are large, somewhat thick, and the choker thin, it is essential that this is worn TIGHT, lest it sags and causes the choker to flip over.

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    6 Discussions

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    eruger

    Tip 4 months ago

    There is one safety thing to remember when working with abalone: if you drill or dremel it, the dust is fairly poisonous, and can make you quite ill. While you don't seem to do any cutting or drilling here, it's a natural way for someone to personalize a piece like this. The recommended methods are gloves, long sleeves, goggles, tight mask, and especially keeping it wet while you are cutting it, so that the dust doesn't get airborne.

    1 reply
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    dpulleyeruger

    Reply 4 months ago

    Thanx for the safety reminder, I haven't drilled any abalone yet, but everything I read about it pointed toward the same conclusion. I'm not sure I'll do any drilling or cutting of it, due to risks involved. However, one never knows!

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    dpulley

    4 months ago

    Thanx.