Sunday, 30 December 2012

This Week's Project: Canvas Button Art

 This Week’s Project:
Canvas Button Art
(Week Ending 23/12/12)

I had a brief period of making button jewellery and as a result have a ridiculous amount of buttons.  I thought I'd try and start a project that used as many buttons as I could.  I decided to use a canvas my mum passed onto me and make a colourful piece of button art.  I love spirals and rainbows so joined them both together.. and voila!

It was a lot harder to get this piece done in the lounge room with the girls playing - they were constantly coming over and trying to touch the canvas during the painting process and the gluing of the buttons; so I had to resort to an adjacent room.  It was stressful working from the other room because both Marika and Remi were high maintenance in different degrees..
Remi would come and just yell at the gate like a siren..
Marika would come and ask for a drink... every... 20... minutes..
Marika would go up and push Remi over.. or sit on her.. or take a toy off Remi.. and then run away.
Remi would try and climb up on baskets upturned..
Remi would go over and try and reach for buttons on the tv and get frustrated at not being able to reach them anymore..
LOL solve one frustration then up sprung another issue..*sigh*

It was interesting though... as the project progressed the girls would tag team coming to the gate but every now and then it felt like I could see a glimmer in their eyes "we need to work it out between us and give mum a break" and then walk away.. It dissipated quickly.. but gave me hope lol 

Doing the art project from the other room meant I could watch the girls while doing it.. even though there was still on-going stress... but I again decided it is important to persevere and:

1. have the girls see me doing my own thing;
2. to do my own thing, for me.

The Processes Involved:

1. Free Hand drawing of the pattern

I started this project ages ago without having any idea where it was going; I drew a spiral on the canvas and just left it in the craft room (which was used for the jewellery making ...but once Marika became mobile I stopped crafts in there and it pretty quickly became a storage room for crap that didn't belong in any other room or put there so it was out of the girls' reach).

The spiral was drawn free hand and other than "a spiral" I didn't have any other specifics in mind before drawing.. or even that I was going to put buttons on it lol

2. Painting the spiral: acrylic paints

I decided to paint the spiral with the foresight that the buttons wouldn't cover the whole face of the canvas; I wanted the colours of paint to fill in the blanks between buttons.  I also wanted the paint to guide me with which coloured buttons to use. I thought it would be easier to blend paint from one colour/shade into the next and then start matching the buttons to the paint - It was VERY handy.  It's pretty hard getting an idea of the bigger picture when you have a heap of buttons and shades.

While painting, I found the thickness of the paintbrush tip made it hard to paint the thinner spiral parts.. I then realised that if it was hard to paint then I was going to find it tricky to fit buttons in between lines... so I expanded some sections as I painted.  This will be a deciding factor in any future button canvas art I plan on doing.  I wasn't super worried about the craftsmanship of the paint job given it was going to be mostly covered.

3. Gluing on the buttons

It didn't really matter, but I decided to glue on buttons from the centre and work outwards from there.  I chose 2 really thick, hole-less buttons (apparently they are still buttons.. there's also buttons with one hole, three holes, even some with 6 holes.. crazy buttons! lol) and I glued them in the middle of the canvas; I thought it would be good to have some strong pinnacle in the centre of the spiral - it looks ok lol

I used the normal, white craft glue that we have in bulk.  I didn't use any hot glue or superglue.. I'm thinking buttons will slowly but surely flick and fall off over time - oh well :P

After I finished gluing the buttons on the front of the canvas face I thought I was finished and felt happy I completed something again \o/ But over the next 24 hours I decided it didn't feel finished without gluing buttons onto the sides (where I had also painted)... soooo I kept going.  I almost regretted starting that step, feeling it was too much..

At the end of the week we went up north to Gympie for Christmas to see Danny's parents, so one edge of the canvas wasn't buttoned up... it technically was finished in the second week of "production". :)

ALL DONE! yaaaaaay \o/

I was going to give it away to someone, wasn't sure who.. asked Danny (DH) and he wanted us to keep it; he thought it was similar to those pictures that are made up of tiny little pictures - pictures within a big picture :D ... That was so nice to hear... good enough to keep! :D


Have you done any canvas button art before?  Did you use normal white craft glue - did it hold? :)  How have you used buttons? (other than on clothes ;))


  1. Beautiful!!!
    "Marika would go up and push Remi over.. or sit on her.. or take a toy off Remi.. and then run away." is exactly how it goes down in our house too. *sigh*

  2. I love this. I found it, and your blog, through Pinterest.
    I've done the reverse move, 6 months ago, from just down the road from where you are now, to north lakes. Miss my tribe, and are still finding my way.
    Glad I found your blog x