DIY Jewelry Craft: How to Make a Colorful Ombré Necklace with Buttons
Ombré patterns are one of the hottest trends right now in fashion. Ombré is the gradual change from one color to the next through multiple steps, creating a faded or watercolor effect. Ombré can be seen in everything from clothes, to home décor, to hair color.
One of the easiest ways to incorporate the new ombré color look into your wardrobe is with accessories. This fun button necklace is a great way to enjoy this fashion trend with a new piece of jewelry, but without spending a lot of money.
Buttons, Buttons, Buttons
You can use any flat-sided buttons for this necklace. Your buttons can be all the same size, or you can use a variety of different sized buttons. I made my necklace with about 95 (yes, 95!) buttons that were all about 5/8 of an inch. You can choose to use buttons that are all in the same color family (like blues, or blues and purples) or you can use a wider array of colors as I did. I used vintage buttons, but you could also buy new buttons especially for this necklace.
A lot of online craft sites and big box craft stores sell buttons in jars or bags in a variety of colors and sizes. Thrift stores and recycle centers are also great sources for buttons in bulk.
Materials for Ombré Necklace
- a whole bunch of flat buttons (you can use a mixture of both two-hole or four-hole buttons), any size, in a variety of colors - the number of buttons you use is really up to you! You can use just a few (maybe 20) buttons and wear it as a central design in you necklace, or you can make the whole necklace from buttons.
- one flat or shank button to use as your closure - this button should be at least 7/8 of an inch in diameter, but no more than 1 inch.
- about 50 inches of cording material - your cording can be made of leather or vinyl, crochet thread, or macramé string. Your cording needs to be thin enough to fit through the holes on your buttons, made of a material that will be comfortable hanging around your neck, and strong enough to hold all your buttons. I used some waxed macramé thread I had on hand. The waxed thread worked well because it was stiff and easy to thread my buttons on, but the wax also made it a bit sticky to work with. The stickiness wears off though, and I don't notice it when I wear my necklace.
The cording amount may seem like a lot, but the cord is folded in half and used double for this necklace, so you want at least twice the length of your finished piece. You will also need some extra length of make your closure at the end. I started with about 50 inches of cording. My finished necklace is about 20 inches long, but yours may be different.
Also good to have, but not essential, is some type of tray on which you can line up your buttons. A coin sorting tray or holder would be good for this. I used a watercolor palette that had little sections for putting paint in. You might need to look around and see what you can use for this purpose. Otherwise you can just lay out your buttons on their flat sides.
How to Make an Ombré Necklace with Buttons
1. First, sort your buttons and start lining them up in the color arrangement you want to use. I would suggest you walk away from your arrangement, then come back and look at it again to make sure you still like it before starting to string your buttons. You can create a slow gradual change of tone by using one color and a lot of shades of white and black, or you can go through many color changes by following the hues of a rainbow. The design is up to you and the colors of buttons you have.
I arranged my buttons by color, then re-sorted them, then re-sorted them again until I got a design that I really liked. You might be surprised at how much moving one color to a different section can change the look of your arrangement.
2. Once you've settled on the design of your buttons, take the button that you are going to use as your closure and thread your cording through it from the bottom, then back out the second hole. If your button has four holes, hold it so that the holes form a diamond shape. Thread your cord through two holes that are across from each other, either the top and bottom holes or the left and right holes.
(You could also use a conventional necklace closure like a toggle and loop or a lobster clasp. Again, just thread one piece of your closure on your cording, position it as indicated below, and tie it in place.)
3. Position your closure button at the halfway point of your cord so that you have two equal ends of cording coming out the bottom of your button. Tie a knot using the two ends of cord to hold your closure button in place.
4. Now start placing your buttons on your necklace, threading one end of your cording through each hole in your buttons. Start at one end of your arrangement of buttons, and work towards the other end. You may want to choose more decorative buttons for your ends, where the tops will be seen, but this is optional. Again, you can use both two-hole and four-hole buttons together. If a button has four holes, hold it so that the holes form a diamond shape and thread you cord through holes that are across from one another - either top and bottom or left and right.
The threading process goes quite quickly. I was able to string my necklace in about half of an hour while I was on the phone.
5. Continue stringing your buttons until they are all in place. If the ends of your cording start to fray, just trim them down a little to get a fresh edge.
6. Then hold up your string of buttons around your necklace, being careful that your buttons don't slide off. Using a mirror, determine the length you want your necklace to be. You can use a paper clip to mark where you want your necklace to end on the loose side of your string of buttons.
7. With the overall length of your necklace marked, slide all your buttons so they are in the center of the cording. Carefully tie a knot on each end, close against each side of your string of buttons, so that your buttons are held in the center of your necklace (see photo).
You could also fill in your necklace with smaller beads or buttons so there is no empty space along your length of cording.
8. Then take the two loose ends of cording and make a loop that is large enough to easily go around your button closure, but not too big as to be sloppy.
9. Knot your closing loop, making sure the knot is tight and doesn't slide (you can put a dot of white craft glue on your knot to make it secure). Then cut off any left over cording from your loop.
10. Start wearing your necklace. I hope you enjoy it!
Copyright © 2014 by Donna Herron. All rights reserved.
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