I keep scraps of fabric in a bag for Alice to cut, stitch or tape together, draw on with markers, whatever. My trash is her treasure when it comes to art supplies, and even I can find value in some scraps when I’m making a project that only needs a small amount of fabric. Enter covered buttons–they’re the perfect easy afternoon project, require few materials, and have so many creative applications. Replace the buttons on your cardigan! Use them as drawer pulls! Napkin rings! And today, pen toppers. When I was in school I loved having a fancy decoration on my nice pens. A bouquet of special fabric button-topped markers or pens would be a fantastic stocking stuffer or gift to a crafty coworker. Lemme show you how to do it.
1. Fabric-covered button kit, size 24 (I get all of mine from ButtonBiz.com, the best best best)
2. Scraps of fabric in your favorite patterns and colors (lightweight fabrics like cotton lawn or chiffon work best)
3. Thin black elastic cord
5. Pencil or pen.
Step 1. Using the instructions included in your button-making kit, cover your button with your favorite fabric. Secure the back of your button with the shank button back–that’s the one with the loop.
Step 2. Thread the elastic cord through the shank of the button and knot the ends, using the pencil as a size guide.
Step 3. Top your favorite pens and pencils with your own signature writing accessory!
Pretty easy. Pretty pretty.
“Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it.”
-Jasper Johns on Creativity
What do you make? Maybe it’s not a physical thing, but what do you manifest? What do you create? I’m a firm believer that everybody needs a creative toolkit. If you don’t know where to begin, find an empty box–bonus if it’s one with compartments–and begin collecting items that you personally like to use to create things. Mine always contains felt and embroidery thread, scalloped shears and sewing needles, and buttons. It used to have paper, glue, glitter, and seam binding. It could just be a whole bunch of nice pens or colored pencils. It could be as sparse as necessary for you. Get it out once in a while and see what comes of it. Whatever you make, on whatever scale, with however much effort, remember that working creatively makes you smarter. It’s mental exercise. What do you make?