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DIY Jewelry Craft: How to Make a Colorful Ombré Necklace With Buttons

Donna enjoys using her arts background to create fun craft projects with a special focus on using repurposed or handy household materials.

Easy ombré necklace made with your collection of buttons and some simple materials

Easy ombré necklace made with your collection of buttons and some simple materials

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 in a variety in colors

buttons in a variety in colors

Materials for Ombré Necklace

Here's what you'll need:

A Bunch of Flat 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. 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. 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.

One Flat or Shank Button

You will use one flat or shank button as your closure. This button should be at least 7/8 of an inch in diameter, but no more than 1 inch.

Cording Material

You'll need 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.

Tray (Optional)

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.

a gradual change of color using just blues and neutrals for your necklace

a gradual change of color using just blues and neutrals for your necklace

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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.

tie off your button closure with a knot using the two ends of your cording

tie off your button closure with a knot using the two ends of your cording

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.

threading your buttons on your necklace

threading your buttons on your necklace

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.

making the closure for your ombré button necklace

making the closure for your ombré button necklace

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.

finished ombré button necklace

finished ombré button necklace

10. Start wearing your necklace. I hope you enjoy it!

© 2014 Donna Herron


Donna Herron (author) from USA on November 17, 2014:

Hi Kimberly! Yes, this would be a great project with children, maybe using larger buttons depending on their ages. Thanks, as always, for your comments and support! I appreciate it!

Kimberly Schimmel from Greensboro, NC on November 17, 2014:

This is another great pin--maybe a Mother's Day craft for church.

Donna Herron (author) from USA on May 29, 2014:

Thanks, Victoria Lynn! It was quite a surprise. I appreciate you stopping by and commenting!

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on May 28, 2014:

Congrats on Hub of the Day! Your photos are awesome!

Donna Herron (author) from USA on May 28, 2014:

Hi Dbro - How lucky you are to have your grandmother's vintage buttons! Some of the buttons I used were from my great aunt's collection, but they were mostly black and white. I had to buy all the others (sad face).

Hope you have fun making your necklace or whatever you decide to do with your buttons. Thanks so much for your comments and congratulations!

Dbro from Texas, USA on May 28, 2014:

What a pretty and fun project! I will definitely give this a try. I have lots of buttons about the house - a collection started by my grandmother. Thanks for this informative hub, and congratulations on Hub of the Day!

Donna Herron (author) from USA on May 28, 2014:

Hi craftdrawer - So glad this necklace has given you some ideas for a new project :) Thanks so much for commenting!!

craftdrawer on May 28, 2014:

Now I know what to do with all of the buttons I have collected over the years. What a great idea!

Donna Herron (author) from USA on May 28, 2014:

Hi Tany - Thanks so much! So glad you like it!!

Hi HappyMikeWritter (great username!!) - Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! I appreciate it!!

Hi gmwilliams - This necklace was a lot of fun and an easy, somewhat quick project to make. I'm so glad that so many people like it :) Thanks for your comments and congratulations!!

Grace Marguerite Williams from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on May 28, 2014:

This is one of the most creative hubs I have ever read. These necklaces look so fashionable and fun to made. Thanks for writing this hub and congratuations for HOTD.

HappyMikeWritter on May 28, 2014:

What an amazing article. Smart woman makes a smart things :-) Love it.

Joselyn on May 28, 2014:

Oh man i only have black and white buttons . I must start collecting. What a beautiful idea!

Donna Herron (author) from USA on May 28, 2014:

Hi randomcreative! I love buttons, too! If I were being completely honest, I might admit I came up with this necklace just to have a reason to buy even MORE BUTTONS :) Thanks so much for stopping by! I appreciate your support!

Hi Rebecca - Buttons are a great craft supply and it's so easy to just start taking them off old clothes before you throw them away, or holding onto the extra buttons that come with a lot of new clothes. But be careful - collecting buttons can be addictive! I once went into a fabric store to buy 6 buttons for a sweater and ended up spending $30 on a bunch of vintage buttons :) YIKES!

Thanks so much for commenting. Hope you have great fun with your button crafts!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on May 28, 2014:

What a cute necklace. I must start saving buttons. I have been seeing such a lot of cute ideas for using buttons, like gluing on flip flops, etc. Thanks for sharing!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 28, 2014:

How simple and fun! I love buttons. You could easily customize the color palette here, which is great. Congrats on getting HOTD!

Donna Herron (author) from USA on May 28, 2014:

Hi Heidi - Thanks so much! I appreciate your second trip back and your support (as always). Have a great day!!

Hi Erin - Thanks! I think it's a simple necklace or bracelet project that anyone can tackle, and can be easily modified to your taste or what buttons you have on hand. Thanks so much for commenting!

Donna Herron (author) from USA on May 28, 2014:

Hi RTalloni - Thanks so much for your kind comments! I really appreciate it :)

erinshelby from United States on May 28, 2014:

This is certainly an interesting idea for extra (or new) buttons. Thanks for sharing.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on May 28, 2014:

Loved this hub when you first published it! So deserving of Hub of the Day. Big congrats!

RTalloni on May 28, 2014:

Congratulations on your Hub of the Day award for this really cute necklace craft. The closure idea is especially useful. This is definitely a winner! :)

Donna Herron (author) from USA on May 28, 2014:

Hi CraftytotheCore! Thank so much - hope you have a great day!

CraftytotheCore on May 28, 2014:

That's so pretty! Congratulations on your Hub of the Day!

Donna Herron (author) from USA on May 28, 2014:

Thanks, Glimmer Twin Fan! I must say it was unexpected and quite a surprise :) Thanks again for stopping by. I so appreciate your comments and support!

Claudia Porter on May 28, 2014:

Back to say congrats on your HOTD! I love this hub and it is well deserved!

Donna Herron (author) from USA on May 15, 2014:

Hi Glimmer Twin Fan! So glad to hear from you. We missed you :) I had a lot of fun putting this necklace together and gathering all my different buttons. Looking forward to your button hubs. Thanks, as always, for your comments, share, pin, and support! I appreciate it!!

Claudia Porter on May 15, 2014:

Catching up on reading. This is awesome and I love buttons! I have been planning some button hubs, but haven't gotten around to them. This is so pretty and would go with almost anything. I'm seeing white tshirt and jeans. Shared around!

Donna Herron (author) from USA on April 28, 2014:

Hi Heidi! This necklace definitely easy. The hardest part was remembering where I had put all my buttons :)

Thanks so much for your comments and vote up! I hope you find some time for crafting and jewelry-making soon!!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on April 28, 2014:

That is so adorable and looks pretty easy to do! I will definitely need to start making some time to make some of these cool projects you have. Voted up and beautiful of course!