Monday, March 12, 2012

Laura Carson: Making a Vintage Button Brooch

In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through creating your own heirloom brooch using metal filigree, buttons, other metal bits and bobs, old lace and a vintage photo. If you love playing with embellishments, then you will love this project. These brooches are so easy to make. You don’t need to know anything about making jewelry as the brooch is assembled using glue.
What You’ll Need
One or more pieces of metal filigree
A Pin Back
E6000 Glue
It is really important that you use E6000 glue if you want your brooch to hold together. You can find this glue at Wal-Mart, hardware stores and at many online stores.
Ranger Glossy Accents (dimensional glue)
A Vintage Image
Small Picture Frame
Other metal bits and bobs
Start by selecting one or more pieces of filigree. The filigree is the base of the brooch.
Glue your pieces of filigree together using the E-6000 glue. The glue can be stringing, so I would suggest you use a toothpick to apply the glue. Also, make sure you are in a well-ventilated area. Next, set the filigree base aside and allow it to dry for a few hours. For the glue to completely harden, it will need to dry overnight. After a couple of hours, you should be able to work with the piece if you are careful.

Now it’s time to dig in to your stash of embellishments and choose the items you want to use for your brooch. There are so many possibilities. For the brooch in this tutorial I used, an oval frame, buttons, straight pins, vintage lace, small pieces of filigree, metal flowers, brads, chains, metal leaves, fabric leaves, and a clock face. You could also use a key, keyhole, pin nib, paper flowers, fabric, ribbon, feathers, charms, etc.
I chose an oval frame for my vintage picture. Because the back of the frame is open, I backed my photo with heavy cardstock before gluing it into the frame. This keeps the picture from bowing when I add Glossy Accents. I used Glossy Accents to glue the picture inside the frame.
Next, I used Glossy Accents to create the appearance of domed glass over the picture. First a few tips using Glossy Accents. Never shake the bottle as it will introduce bubbles into the glue. Store your bottle upside down so that any air in the bottle floats to the bottom of the bottle. When you are dispensing the glue keep the tip of the glue bottle in the glue, don’t lift it up or you will introduce bubbles into the glue.
In the image below you can see I’ve started applying the glue with the tip of the bottle immersed in the glue.
I continue to squeeze out more glue while simultaneously using the tip of the bottle to spread the glue.
Use enough glue to completely cover the picture and to create a dome over the picture. The glue will naturally create a dome as you add more.
If there are bubbles in the glue, use a straight pin to pop or remove them. Set aside your cameo to dry. It will take several hours to dry depending on the dampness of your climate. When the glue is completely dry, it will be transparent and look like glass.
As the glue dries, it shrinks. If you want a larger dome apply a second coat of Glossy Accents.
Now you can begin designing your brooch. Before I begin gluing the pieces together, I like to layout the design. Once I’m satisfied with the design, I take a picture. As I take the design apart to glue it back together, I can refer to the picture. For my brooch, I decided I wanted to dangle some items from the bottom of the brooch. The filigree base has lots of holes to facilitate hanging bead, chains and charms.
I started by gluing a clock face to a small piece of filigree. The holes in the filigree gave me a place to hang the clock.
Next, I added small jump rings to the chains and added the filigree clock and a crystal to the jump rings and chains.
Lastly, I used the jump rings to attach the chains to the filigree.
Now that the base and hanging elements are assembled, I start layering on the buttons and other embellishments using the E6000 glue. Let each layer dry an hour or so before adding the next layer of embellishments.
I started by adding some buttons and a piece of vintage lace. If the button has a shank, remove it before gluing the button to your brooch. Dangling on the right side is a charm I added but then later decided to remove it as it was too much.
Next, I added a straight pin, a metal rose, and a few more buttons. I also glued a brad on top of a button after removing the brad’s prongs.
For the next layer, I added a tiny metal rose, a cream flower button and another stickpin. I used faux pearls to cover up some of the button holes. Remember to let each layer dry before adding more items.
For the last layer, I added brown fabric leaves, metal leaves, the framed photo, and beadwork.
Once you are finished embellishing your brooch, let it dry overnight.
The last step is adding a pin back using the E6000 glue.
You’re finished!
You can wear your brooch, pin it to a vintage pillow or purse, frame it or use it as an embellishment for another project. I decided to pin mine on a lace purse.
I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial! To see more of my tutorials visit my blog Artfully Musing. Laura


  1. So beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing~
    I love what you have made :D

  2. Wow, what a stunning piece, it's gorgeous. A great tutorial too. xx

  3. Wow! Absolutely Gorgeous!
    Michelle *Ü*

  4. STUNNING! Absolutely gorgeous.. I would never have known where to start with something like this thank for showing us.xx

  5. wow this is fabulous and so is the wonderful tutorial. Thank you for sharing, x

  6. this is awesome!!! thanks for sharing it with us :) lainey x

  7. That is a neat trick with the glue dome...can't wait to try it. Awesome tutorial...gorgeous.

  8. Bravo! Thank you so much for all the great step by step photos. Your brooch is gorgeous! New fan, Connie

  9. Wow this a gorgeous brooch I sm so going to have a go at making this. Thanks for sharing and a wonderful tutorial. Sandra X

  10. This is fabulous. Thanks for the tutorial!

  11. Your button brooch is absolutely beautiful! So much d email and amazing buttons, metal pieces and vintage goodness in this! I love your design! Thanks for the tutorial!!! Love it all! Hugs, Candy

  12. Hi Laura,Your Brooch is lovely...Gee your "Button Brooch" Tutorial sounds a lot like the swap I hosted in the MAMA group...ha!

    Have a lovely day...

  13. Again my dear Laura, it is beautiful and you are so sweet to share so much with us. xox


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