When my great grandmother passed away, almost 20 years ago, she left me a collection of antique and vintage buttons. Since then the collection has grown, but I could never quite figure out what to do with hundreds of slightly mismatched buttons. I kept threatening to throw them away, but they were just too pretty. So I hung onto them hoping and hoping to find a use for all these fantastic buttons. I finally figured it out.
All you really need is that old jar of buttons, a pair of scissors, a safety pin, and 2 long stands of different colored hemp cut to about 60-65 inches in length. If you don't already have a spare buttons jar, there are many great places to pick them up very inexpensively. Local craft shows, antique stores, antique malls, etc. If you live near Lansing, Michigan you should check out the Little Red School House for vintage crafting supplies, buttons, and odds and ends.
Lay the strands of hemp out side by side and fold it in half. Tie a knot in the strands of hemp so they are held together forming a loop at the end. You want the loop to fit a four hole button in your collection. This will be half of your button hole clasp. Using your index finger to gauge the width usually works pretty well for me.
Use the safety pin to secure the your hemp strands to something steady.
I wrote this in giant blue letters so you can refer back to it as needed.
1.) Fold the left strand (red) over the base strands and under the right strand (blue). Bring the right strand (blue) under the base strands and then up and over the left strand (red). Tighten the knot.
2.)Then fold the right strand (blue) over the base strands and under the left strand (red). Bring the left strand (red) under the base strands and then up and over the right strand (blue). Tighten the second knot.
(If these images are too hard to follow, Beadage has some pretty easy to follow illustrations.)
Now reverse your colors. Bring the outside over the base strands into the center.
Repeat the knots from above using your new outside color. Use a pen or pencil to space your knots so they create a loose weave. Put the pen against the last set of knots and pull your new knots tight against it. Then switch your inside/outside strands again.
After your third pair of knots, string a button onto your base strands (which will be the original outside color). And repeat the process again using a pen to space your knots and reversing colors each time. Every third pair of knots, add another button. Continue knotting and stringing until your necklace is the desired length. I left mine at about 15 inches for a choker length.
Like any good craft show, after 5 minutes of work I happen to pull out an already finished necklace, leaving this with a deceptively quick and simple appeal. You keep going while I stand here and talk about something completely unrelated . . .suddenly skip to the end. . . No really, I'm waiting for you. . .
String all four strands through a medium sized (1.5 cm should work very well if you used your index finger as a guide for the hole size) four hole button. Make sure your button fits through your loops easily enough to do it once you knot the end. Draw all four strands together and tie off the end.
The original necklace can be viewed at https://www.etsy.com/listing/124641129/antique-button-and-hemp-necklace-and