Button Tree Ornament

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I am going to start this post with a few words about Martha Stewart.  I have a love hate relationship with her. I love her stuff, I hate to make it.  It started a few years back when I tried to make a paper ornament. I spent a fortune on metallic origami paper and spent way to long meticulously cutting out the sheets of paper. The end result looked like a first grader had made it (no offense to first graders) and I was out more money than I wanted to spend. It was the first of many projects that all seemed to meet the same fate. One thing I have learned with absolute certainty is that her projects are rarely cheap to make. It is something to considered when you set out to make them. If a metallic paper ornament is going to run you ten dollars to make you really have to decide why you want to make it. If your goal is to save money….Keep on moving. If it doesn’t involve pipe cleaners it is probably going to cost you more than a couple of dollars to make. If however you want to give someone something you have lovingly made with your own hands, then she is your go to girl. This project is the result of another one of my failed attempts at making a Martha Stewart Ornament. Or, at the very least, my inattention to detail…

I wanted to make the Button Wreath Ornament.

The instructions say that you need 72 buttons for each ornament. Now I know that buttons aren’t the same as beads, but they are both round and have holes, so that is close enough for me. I’ve looked at buttons at JoAnn’s before. A card of four to six buttons can run a couple of dollars. This ornament needed 72. I don’t work on Martha Stewart’s budget so I had to come up with another option. I took a peek at Michaels and I found a big, huge bag of buttons for $5. Even better..I had a coupon. That made the wreath ornament an actual possibility. I proudly bought my bag o’ buttons and headed home to make my ornament.

Upon examining my open bag of buttons I noticed that the range in size of the buttons was quite a bit. I definitely had 72 green buttons, but it was going to be a seriously out of balance little wreath. I don’t like to return things I’ve opened (not sure that I could if I tried anyway), so that meant I was already a couple of dollars in the hole for this ornament and I still didn’t have the actual supplies to make it. I really don’t like to waste money, so that meant I had to find *something* else to do with my bag of buttons.

I decided to make a tree.

I scrounged around in my bottomless bag of unused craft supplies and found some brown buttons. I then cut about a 16 inch piece of green cord that I thought would fit through the button holes. (that is an important note)

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Paint the town (er cord) red

Initially I just tried to force the cord through the button hole. It didn’t take me long to figure out that it wasn’t going to work. It kept bending and fraying. If I doubled it back through a needle it would be to thick to pass through the hole. So, I painted both ends of my cord with a little bit of nail polish and let it dry. The nail polish prevented the cord from fraying. It also stiffened the cord which allowed it to push through the button hole more easily. I love easy!

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Its starting to look a lot like Christmas....

I threaded one brown button on to the cord and slid it down to the center of the cord. I took the cord and threaded it through a second hole on the button, diagonal from the hole I first used. That gave my thread a big u shape, with both red ends sticking up. I threaded two more brown buttons on the top of each other so that they sat flush on top of each other. Then I threaded on my biggest green button.  I chose 15 green buttons of different sizes. I stacked them on top of each other with the largest ones on the bottom, gradually decreasing in size until I got to the smallest button on top.

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Tie that sucker off

Once you have stacked your buttons and your ornament resembles a tree, tie the two cords together in to a knot.  For the star at the top of the ornament I used a relatively inexpensive star bead from JoAnns. I say relatively inexpensive because like most bags of beads at JoAnn’s it cost me a couple of dollars and I only needed the one. However, the price per bead was pretty cheap as there were a lot of beads in the bag. The problem with these beads are that the holes are enormous. I tried to put the star on before I knotted it but it just didn’t go together tightly. Ultimately I decided to just tie off the cord at the top of the button, then I slid on the star. The knot is pretty much hidden in the bottom of the star. Now, if you aren’t careful the star will slide right off. However, that isn’t going to happen while the ornament is hanging on the tree. Even if it does, it will slide back on as easily as it came off.  So I slid the star  on, tied another knot about three inches above the knot and trimmed the cord.

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Oh Christmas Tree...


A button Christmas Tree Ornament.

To be fair, I did go back to JoAnns in search of buttons to make the original Martha Stewart Button Wreath Ornament. I found a bag of mixed buttons for about $3. I bought two bags just in case I didn’t have enough of the right sized buttons to make the ornament.  I decided to scrimp on the Satin Ribbon and Seam Binding. Instead I purchased some inexpensive Christmas Ribbon. I also decided just to make a wire loop to hang it with.

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The Thrifty Version....

I don’t like mine nearly as much as I like Martha’s, but I also fully admit I was cheap with supplies. I bet I could find really pretty green, muted sage buttons if I purchased them by the card. I also think that better quality ribbon would have made a noticeable difference.

I think I am more partial to my Christmas Tree Ornament.

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