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!
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
- 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
9. Bend the free end around the base of the wrapped wire loop…
… 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 :)
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!