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DIY: Button-Backed Chair

My grandmother, who's always had a great waste-not-want-not philosophy, has jars upon jars of buttons. When I was a little girl I used to spend hours going through all of the cool, decade-spanning buttons she'd collected, trying to think of a good use for them. And now, thanks to iVillage, I've found an awesome use for them. (Grandma? Are you reading? Need a project?)

I'm liking the funky vibe that the DIY element adds to this prim and proper chair. This project is from the book Simple Sewing with a French Twist: An Illustrated Guide to Sewing Clothes and Home Accessories with Style, by Celine Dupuy. As long as you can sew a button on a shirt, you can complete this project.

What You'll Need

  • Medallion chair
  • 1 rectangle thick cotton fabric, 16 by 15 inches (40 by 38 cm)
  • 1 rectangle thick iron-on interfacing, 16 by 15 inches (40 by 38 cm)
  • 3 sheets paper, 11 by 17 inches
  • Scotch tape
  • Lots of buttons
  • Pencil
  • Dressmaking scissors
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Fine sewing needle
  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Spray textile adhesive
  • 3 spools thread

For step-by-step instructions and a link to a slideshow,

First of all, if you're having any trouble following these directions, I suggest skipping directly to the slideshow on iVillage. But if you're crafting-savvy, just read on.

How to Make It

  1. Join the sheets of paper together with Scotch tape. Position against the oval of the chair back and draw the outline to make a pattern. Cut out the oval of the pattern, draw the outline onto the iron-on interfacing, and cut out.
  2. Press the oval of iron-on interfacing onto the thick cotton fabric using a hot iron. Let cool and then cut out the fabric, leaving a seam allowance of 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) around the iron-on oval (top illustration). Cut V-shaped notches around the edge of the fabric, press, fold down, and stick the notches to the iron-on interfacing with textile adhesive.
  3. Cover the front of the oval with different-sized buttons, overlapping them slightly and stitching by hand with double pearlized thread . Then, stick the oval to the chair back with spray adhesive
  4. Take a well-deserved sitdown on your lovely new chair!
Join The Conversation
4peachMoney 4peachMoney 8 years
OMG! I'm seeing an entire room with button accents--chairs, lamp shades, throw pillows, blank journals. I also love that the buttons are silver and gold--simple sophistication--and you could easily change the style just by the type and color of buttons you use, for example, kids' decor would be varying sizes and bright colors; I could do varying shades of green to go with my garden style. Cool idea!
JuliaL JuliaL 8 years
I'm sure you could save your self a little time and hot glue the buttons on.
beingtazim beingtazim 10 years
thanks for the instructions! i really like the look of this - what a great use for all the buttons i have lying around!
raptinrainbows raptinrainbows 10 years
love it, but it would take me forever to complete. still, it might be worth a shot . . . .
askmetostay askmetostay 10 years
this is so pretty!!!!
veronicaraye veronicaraye 10 years
that would take a while...
libs1dlab libs1dlab 10 years
I love the colors, but something about the texture creeps me out. I know it may sound silly, but it reminds me of fish scales.
leahlarocco leahlarocco 10 years
This looks rreally cool! I wonder if you could just do this with a glue gun. Seems like it would be easier that way.
citizenkane citizenkane 10 years
I'm with gruaig_rua. Its cute, but I would never have time to do that. I'd buy it, though!
sgdish sgdish 10 years
I'm thinking lots of other projects for those old buttons...
sochic sochic 10 years
That chair looks great, good idea!
tkoblondee tkoblondee 10 years
That is awesome!! I love it.
gruaig_rua gruaig_rua 10 years
Althought that chair looks great, I wouldn't have the patience for a project like this. And I can't sew!
chancleta chancleta 10 years
i love this my husband has huge bins of buttons! i may have to do this!
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