DIY button stud earrings

Since having the twins, my dangly earrings have been relegated to the jewellery box (the twins do like to pull on them!) and I have mostly been wearing studs. I’ve got a few pairs of stud earrings, but it’s always nice to have more to choose from, so I thought I’d expand my collection by making some button stud earrings.

DIY button earrings

I’m not sure where I got the idea of glueing buttons to earring posts to make earrings from, but it’s not exactly ground-breaking! You literally just glue the two pieces together. This is one of the quickest crafts I think I have ever done.

I had fun picking buttons from one of the button shops in Sham Shui Po (the main craft district in Hong Kong) – I chose buttons that were quite small since I wasn’t looking to make statement earrings, just pretty studs. I purchased my silver plated ear posts from International Craft, where I buy a lot of my jewellery supplies. I forgot to buy butterfly backs when I bought the ear posts (doh!) so I’m using some clear plastic stoppers that I already had.

button stud earring tutorial

To make the earrings, I started by cutting off the shanks on the shank buttons (some of the ones I picked had them, some didn’t) using old jewellery cutters. Then, I sanded down the remains of the shanks to get the back of the button as flat as possible.

To glue the buttons to the ear posts I used E6000 glue, as I’ve heard it’s pretty good. I’m not very good at glueing things together, so I wanted to give these earrings the best chance I could of actually staying together. So I sanded the back of the button and the pad of the ear post a little to make the surface more rough, and wiped both parts with nail varnish remover (I’ve heard it removes grease). I then just glued the two together and left them for a day or so, and there you have it, button earrings!

The buttons below had shanks so you can’t actually tell that they are buttons, they just look like normal earrings. Those of you who regularly read my blog will not be surprised to see some mint green earrings here – I just love the colour so much!

glue buttons to ear posts

These dark blue buttons look a bit iridescent in some lights (you can see it a bit in the top photo), but unfortunately most of the time they just look almost black. Still, these earrings will go well with lots of different colour outfits!

remove shank from buttons to make earrings

I think the navy blue and white earrings are my favourite. It’s more interesting when you can tell they are actually buttons! I don’t think I’ll wear the bright pink earrings – they’re a bit too bright! But I thought the buttons were quite fun. I think I’ll give them to someone who will appreciate them more!

cute button earring studs

What do you think? Why not make some earrings of your own? They’re so quick and easy!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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Easy home-made baby toys

There are so many baby toys in the shops, but as any mum will realise, babies are often more interested in the packaging or random kitchen implement that you’ve left lying around! You can channel this by making some of your own baby toys from things you might have lying around your house, or if not, easy and cheap to find in the shops (if I can find it in Hong Kong, then it can’t be that hard to come by!). There are so many ideas for making baby toys online – you can scour Pinterest or google to find them. I can’t remember where most of my ideas came from, but I’ve included references where I do know.

Here are some things that I’ve made for my own children. I hope you find inspiration to find some things to entertain your own babies with! (or you could make some for other babies that you know…)

Hanging toys

These were the first things that I made, and they comprised woolly pompoms and balls of tin foil.

I made some pompoms before the twins were born and blogged about how to do so here, and I hung these from their activity centre for them to bat at (note: these come apart pretty easily so keep them out of grabbing distance – mine are now almost completely demolished!).

The tin foil balls were the ones that caught their eye the most though, they took quite a bashing! I just scrunched up a large piece of foil into a ball and wrapped some string around it to hang it with. The foil balls did fall out of the string sometimes so you might want to try other ways of attaching the string – perhaps you could glue it inside somehow?

20140206_075659

You can see the pompoms and foil in the middle of this photo, although they’re a little blurred. I forget how small the twins were once upon a time!

Discovery bottles

These are so easy to make and my twins still play with them at 15 months. All you need to do is find some plastic bottles and put interesting things inside them. Here are some of the things that I have put inside our discovery bottles:

  • Beads of different sizes and colours (note: my twins didn’t like this when they were really little because it’s actually very noisy when shaken, but they love it now!)
  • Pipe cleaners, some curled into twirls
  • Little pompoms (bought from a stationary store)
  • Coloured rice

Discovery bottles baby toys

The easiest way that I found to make the coloured rice was to squirt a small amount of hand sanitiser into an old margarine tube, mix with a fairly generous amount of food colouring, and add enough rice so that it was all covered and there was no hand sanitiser left at the bottom. You really don’t need much hand sanitiser for this at all.

I got the idea for the discovery bottles here and they have lots of ideas for other things to put in the bottles too! I can’t find the website I used before for the rice colouring, but this one does the same thing.

Glitter bottle

These are everywhere online, they are sometimes called calm bottles or time out bottles. I ended up looking at a few different websites before I made mine so I can’t give a reference, but they’re really easy to make. A little side note: many people make them with mason jars or other glass jars but obviously that wouldn’t work for babies, so I just used a plastic bottle with relatively smooth sides so you can see the glitter easily.

To make mine, I filled the bottle most of the way up with fairly hot tap water. (Note: I tried using hot boiled water from the kettle but it melted the bottle! Do not try this!) Then I squeezed in two small tubes of glitter glue and poured in some additional loose glitter. I also added some CLEAR glue (again, I know by trial and error that white glue does not miraculously go clear in warm water and you end up with a foggy mess!) which slows the movement of the glitter in the bottle – the more glue you add, the slower the glitter settles. And finally, I added some food colouring.

The reason the water needs to be hot(ish) is to break up the glitter glue. I found that it clumped a bit to start with but after a couple of hours there were no more clumps even though my water wasn’t that hot to start with. If you’re not using glitter glue, you can just use clear glue and loose glitter, and you then don’t need to use hot water, it can be cold.

Here is my green glitter beauty!

Green glitter bottle

And here it is when the glitter has settled…

Glitter settled glitter bottle

I made mine in a fairly large 750ml bottle, which makes it quite heavy for the twins to lift and carry (although they still do) – I’d recommend using a smaller bottle, less than 500ml if possible, if you’re giving this to babies to play with.

Buttons

These were a big hit! I just bought large buttons (as big as I could find) in different colours from a button shop in Sham Shui Po (THE place to buy all things haberdashery in Hong Kong). The twins loved to play with them, bang them together and against anything else, drop them so they made a spinning noise on the floor (like a coin does), or watch while I spun them. It was fun trying to make as many spin at the same time as possible! Sadly, these had to go away when the twins got bigger because their mouths grew enough that they could fit the whole button in their mouths and would walk around like that! I hope they’ll come out again soon when they stop putting everything in their mouths.

Big buttons as toys

I got the idea for the buttons from one of the Babycentre emails, which features activities to do with your babies every week.

Ribbons

This was a bit of free thinking on my part, but partly based on some props used at a music class I go to with the twins. I had some hair bands lying around and bought some cheap brightly coloured ribbon (again, in Sham Shui Po) and just tied long lengths of ribbon to the hair bands. I tied simple knots in the ends of the ribbons to help stop fraying, but I’ve since bought a lighter which I now use to seal the ends of ribbons. I assumed that I would put the hair bands on their wrists, but they just like waving them around in their hands instead!

Ribbon pom poms

I also tied long lengths of doubled-up ribbons into a plait. I just did it for a fun thing to do, but Isobel quite likes playing with it.

Ribbon plait

Something else that I’ve seen at the same music class is that they sellotaped long lengths of ribbon to the end of a chopstick to make a streamer. I fancy doing this myself!

I’m sure there are many other toys you can make with ribbons, just let your imagination go wild!

Water play tray

I got this idea from this website. They used plastic milk bottle tops but I didn’t have any (for some reason the milk here comes in tetrapaks instead) so I used large jam jar lids instead. Also, I used a large oven tray on the floor rather than the high chair tray. My twins didn’t really get the idea of bashing the lids around the water so they float, but they did enjoy taking them out and trying to eat them. And also splashing the water all over the floor. This activity is best to do on a hard floor rather than carpet! As I said, my twins didn’t really get what was going on, but it did entertain them for 10-20 minutes so that gets a thumbs up in my book :)

Some other things that I’ve wanted to make but haven’t got round to yet…

Baby treasure baskets – basically find a basket or container and put things in that your baby will find interesting. Lots of ideas of what to put in on this website

Sensory bag for baby – looks like fun!

Rainbow spaghetti – colourful sensory play

Post the blocks – my twins are at an age now (15 months) where they just love to put things in things and take them out so I think they would love this. It probably isn’t very suitable for babies under 1 year as they won’t have the co-ordination, but you will know what your baby is and isn’t willing to try

Block painting – I’ve not tried much in the way of ‘art’ yet with my twins but this is something I’d love to try soon! I saw somewhere the idea of using plain yoghurt with food colouring in instead of paint if your baby likes to put everything in their mouths, which I think is a great idea!

Update: I have pinned many more things you can make or do with babies on my Activities for Babies Pinterest board – take a look if you’re looking for more inspiration!

Let me know if you have any other great ideas for easy to make baby toys. I’m sure the ideas must be endless!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

How to make a wire button heart

Even though it is the beginning of February, I decided that I would make this wire button heart a while ago. So it’s not really a Valentines project, although it would make a sweet gift for your loved one!

Handmade wire button heart

I found this project on the Hobbycraft website here. I found it to be a bit more complicated than the tutorial suggests, so I’ve added some detail below. It took me well over 2 hours to make the heart, which included restarting at one point so it wasn’t the quick make that I thought it would be. I’ve tried to put what I learned into this tutorial so that you can do it a little more easily. I hope you find this useful!

For this project you will need:

  • Approximately 2m of wire. I used 0.6mm (22 gauge) silver plated craft wire. Check that two pieces of your wire fits into each hole of your buttons with plenty of space to spare.
  • 18 buttons (you can use more or less as you wish). The buttons I used were approximately 15mm diameter.
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers
  • Vice (if you have one – I don’t, but it would have been useful!)
  • Ribbon (I used 3/8″ wide grosgrain ribbon)

1. Lay out your buttons in a heart shape to see how big the heart will be and to pick the pattern of your buttons. Mine measured about 15cm across. I had 3 types of buttons so I just alternated them to get a nice pattern.

Lay out buttons in a heart shape

2. Cut two pieces of wire with your wire cutters, each approximately 1m long (you can adjust this, depending on how big your heart layout is compared to mine).

3. At one end, wind both wires together into a loop about 3cm from the ends of the wires and roughly wrap the free ends around the base of the loop. This is the loop that you will hang your ribbon on. Cut off the free ends with your wire cutters.

Double wire loop

4. Thread the wires through one hole of your first button from back to front (this should be the top centre one). Now thread the wires back through the second hole. This is the hardest part! Start by pulling the wires until you have large loops above the button:

Threading the button - wire loops

Before you start pulling any tighter you need to do two things: (1) make sure that the two wires aren’t tangled (I moved the wires around in the hole until they were running parallel), and (2) make sure the button is pushed back to the bottom of the wire wrapping/twist and put your finger on the wire going into the back of the button to stop it moving. I frequently found that the button had moved once I had pulled my wires tight. These are both very difficult to correct once you have pulled the wires tight.

Now pull one of the wires until it is tight across the button. Use pliers to grip the wire if it helps. Pull very slowly and gently and if you notice the wire kinking or twisting, immediately stop pulling and pull some wire back through the hole to smooth out your loop before slowly pulling tight again. Once you have one wire tight, repeat with the second one.

Threaded ribbons on wire

The first heart I made broke so I had to start again. This was because I was tugging and bending at a wire that had got all kinked up, and I was much too rough with it and the wire broke! This is why you must be very gentle and make sure that there are no kinks or twists in the wire when you are pulling it through. After that I made very good use of my nylon jawed pliers (my favourite jewellery tool!) to smooth out the wire at every opportunity, which definitely helped the second time I made the button heart.

5. Twist the wires together so that you have a twisted length of about 1-1.5cm (for me this was about 5-6 twists). The Hobbycraft tutorial does not say to twist the wires between the buttons but I chose to do it to make the heart stiffer, as the wire I was using is quite soft so I thought my heart would lose its shape really easily.

I found it easiest to twist the wire if the button was gently clamped whilst making the twists. I do not have a vice so I used a pair of pliers as shown in the picture. I held the pliers closed between my thighs so that I had both hands free for the twisting (I’ve not shared a photo of that – it looked very odd!). The hardest bit was to stop the long wires tangling while twisting. I had to stop twisting and untangle them every couple of twists.

Clamping and twisting wire

6. Thread the next button on and repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have used up all the buttons. This will take some time! Your work should look something like this:

Long string of buttons on wire

7. Now check that the buttons are all secure and not loose. If any of them are loose and rattle, just hold that button and the one next to it and make a full twist so that the twisted wire between the two buttons becomes tighter and holds the button in place.

8. Bend your string of buttons into a rough heart shape. I started by holding the button that will be at the bottom centre and bending the wire up either side. Then curve the sides in at the top until the two ends meet.

Rough heart shape

9. Bend the free end around the base of the wrapped wire loop…Connecting the two ends together

… and then wrap the wire around the other wire wrap (keeping it hidden behind the button). Trim the ends with your wire cutters.

10. Bend your heart into a more well-defined heart shape, thread a ribbon through the loop and hang somewhere in your home! Mine is hanging on the chest of drawers in our bedroom :)

Hanging wire button heart

Let me know if you make a wire button heart. I’d love to hear how you got on!

Update: mini wire button hearts are now available to buy in the Little Koo Etsy shop! Click here to check them out!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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