Sunday, January 29, 2012

No-Sew Tutorial: Fabric Push Pins

A cute & quick project for the non-crafter. Even if everything you have made until now has turned out wonky, glue-y and hopelessly homemade I promise these fabric push pins are absolutely fail-proof and will turn out perfect every time. They are rather addictive to make, and once you get going you may find it hard to stop. A set of 12, nicely packaged, would be a very sweet and cheerful teacher gift. But they are so inexpensive you may find yourself making them for everyone you know.

Materials & Supplies:
Sharp scissors
Glue gun
Fabric scraps.
Solids or very small prints work best, since you're covering a tiny area. Avoid stretchy or bulky fabrics like velvets, corduroy. A basic cotton or linen is easiest to work with.
Thumb tacks Everyday tacks are OK but since you'll be at the fabric store anyway, pick up a set of Quilter's Tacks or Upholstery Tacks. They are more substantial than ordinary thumb tacks and make a nicer finished product. I was able to buy these brass tacks from Fabricland for .20 a piece. A box of Quilter's Tacks (which I prefer) is $2.30 for 24.
Covered button kit. I used size 24. Make sure you buy metal buttons. Plastic won't work - you'll see why further down. The kit comes with four buttons and the little doo-dad to apply the fabric:

STEP ONE: Remove the button shank:

This is a fussy step, but don't get frustrated. I used a small pair of jewellery pliers to wiggle the shank until it came loose, but you could use any pliers or scissors. Just be careful: the edges of the metal disc can be sharp. Don't worry if the disc becomes dented in the process; you'll smooth it out in the next step.

Printed on the back of the button kit is a circle template. You will need this to cut the right amount of fabric to cover the metal button. Cut out the template, then cut out your fabric.

Lay your fabric circle, pattern side facing down, over the opening of the button maker. Place the metal dome over the fabric and push the dome inside so the fabric is flush and flat on the bottom.

Tuck the fabric inside the button maker:

Place the flat metal disc (the one you removed the shank from earlier) on top of the fabric.

Use the blue tool from the kit to press down firmly and evenly. The idea here is to trap the tucked fabric between the two metal pieces. You'll want to make sure the disc is flat and snug with no loose fabric visible. You'll be left with a taut and perfect fabric-covered button.

Press on the bottom of the button maker to pop out your button:

Fire up your glue gun and add a daub of glue to the head of the tack. Press the tack evenly to the back of the button. Done!

Once you already own the button making kit, replacement buttons are $2 for six. I'm looking at ways to package these to make them appealingly gifty. Will post any ideas later in the week.