weekly wrap up

weekly wrap up + fabric buttons + under $100

by Grace Bonney

we’ve got all sorts of exciting content coming up next week- including the first ever weekly biz ladies column and some beautiful new sneak peeks with a focus on portland, oregon. i’ll also be bringing the under $100 column back to d*s, where every week i’ll round up great affordable products with a theme. under $100 has bounced from house & garden to domino and now i thought it was time to bring it back home. so i’m going to start taking requests for topics- what affordable design areas would you like covered? pets? outdoor design? tabletop? kitchen wear? just leave a comment below and i promise i’ll get to them all this year.

also, i have a question for you guys if you have a second- i’m looking to make fabric buttons for a wedding project and wondered if anyone’s done this? i’d like to make the kind that has a pin in the back- like a rock pin you’d put on your shirt- but made of out of fabric. has anyone made them? can you use something like a badge-a-minute machine if you have thin fabric? i love the liberty fabric buttons above at made by them at etsy, and wanted to make them slightly larger. any ideas?

that’s all for this week- i’ll see you monday! have a wonderful weekend- below is a summary of this week’s highlights.

Suggested For You


  • I’ve had a hard time making fabric buttons w/ the badge a minute.. trickiest part is cutting the circles (the standard cutters work on paper, not fabric). If you want mylar on top of the fabric, they turn out better, but if you want the fabric’s texture on display, it hasn’t worked well.

  • I made fabric covered buttons with a button covering kit and used them to create magnets. A lot cheaper than purchasing a button making machine.

    Check out (http://www.buttonbiz.com/) If you want to make pin back buttons you can use their snap-in buttons or buy the actual machine.

  • ooh, this is right up my alley!

    I have a button maker (not a badge a minit, but another version) and I make all my fabric buttons and magnets on there (see my website: http://pommesfrites.etsy.com) the thin fabric will often pull funny, but here’s a little trick: use two pieces of fabric or a piece of paper and a piece of fabric. the mylar will make them turn out great, but I prefer the texture of the fabric!

    after that, there might be little places where the fabric hangs out. I go around the edges with an x-acto knife and snip those off.

    as far as cutting goes, I haven’t had any problems with my rotary cutter that I use for paper. it was rather pricy, however. before I got the rotary cutter, I used to cut them all by hand! let’s just say i’m making a lot more now that I have that cutter.

  • I used a similar machine at a craft store where I live, and it wasn’t hard at all. You had to pre-cut the fabric according to the size you wanted the button to be, but they made it very easy, providing a template and all. I just went to the store with all my circles cut and had the buttons done in no time :-)
    Oh, and I did them without the plastic on top. Pro: you get the fabric touch. Con: they get dirtier faster, and I haven’t tried to wash them yet…

  • I would like a round up of under $100 kitchen carts aka butcher blocks. My brooklyn apt has NO counter space, and my search for an attractive, yet affordable kitchen cart has been disappointing.

  • I’ve made fabric buttons with a regular button maker. I’ve only had luck using thinner fabrics with the circular cutter, and cutting very slowly. If you don’t want to include the mylar on top – cut out a circular piece of white paper to put under the fabric. That way the shiny metal doesn’t show through.

  • Should be fine making the buttons as long as the fabric isn’t too thick. For cutting, just use scissors! Just be careful though.. I’ve had a few that the fabric ended up being a little too thick and the plastic top stuff (mylar) didn’t quite make it into the back ring. But with thinner fabric it worked awesome!

    Experiment a little to get an idea of which thicknesses will and won’t work, then go wild!!

  • I have made fabric buttons with a button maker successfully…but I do have a $200 model from this website (they offer several size options) :


    This machine has lasted me at least 8 years with no problems at all.

    Most of my fabric buttons turn out perfectly, but occasionally I have to throw one out because the mylar piece gets cut in the process. Thin fabric usually works great though. If your fabric is thinner than a slick magazine page, you will be fine. The only real time consuming part is cutting out the fabric circles, which I do with a pair of scissors and a cardstock template the same size as the mylar piece of the button.

  • Like many other’s I’d love to see an under $100 about pets; it’s tough finding good, sturdy products at lower prices!

  • I’ve used the same machine as Adaiha and it was super easy to make the buttons. I did have a circular cutter, and that makes the job a whole lot easier [just keep the blade sharp] . And yeah, definitely keep the fabric thin.

    you should try some lace buttons, too!
    boy, now i’m so sad i don’t have the machine anymore…. : [

  • Roundup requests: definately Pets (including large size dog beds and crates), Lighting, Nightstands!, summer hostess gifts, Etsy art

  • i’ve had some success making fabric buttons with a circle of muslin or paper the size of the button (as renee said, to dim the shininess of the metal) underneath and a beeswax treatment instead of the mylar cover. the beeswax gives them a lovely sheen and really shows off the colors of the fabric (which has to be pretty thin). a side perk of the wax is that it smells nice! i have a 1″ buttonmaking machine purchased from dr. don’s about seven years ago — still works like a charm!

  • i would like to see bathroom items under $100, beautifully printed shower curtains, ever-so-soft towels, etc. also, pottery. i have a large indoor garden of potted plants, yet i’m having trouble finding pieces that add to the design of the space. (i usually end up having to paint the terra cotta pots. :) any ideas of cheap pottery options would be appreciated. thanks! -beck

  • Under 100 requests: pots/planters (indoor & outdoor), pendant lighting, bar & tea carts, outdoor furniture, serveware (I know you did this one, but only a general roundup).

  • ha! monday i was asking everyone i know if they had a badge-a-minit i could borrow for this very purpose. maybe it’s the ’09 wedding trend about to reach a tipping point.

  • I make fabric covered pin-back buttons using my screenprinted fabrics. I purchased the butt0n machine from americanbuttonmachines.com They have a heavy duty machine designed specifically for fabric. I’ve used everything from linen to cotton canvas, though the lighter weight fabrics work best. I don’t use the milar and I cut the circle with scissors. You could get someone who has this machine (like myself) to make them for you. My machine makes 1.5″ buttons. The feb.12th post on my blog has an image of them http://www.jennarosejournal.blogspot.com

  • Oh Grace, those pins are such a great idea! So sweet. I actually gave a Congrats card that had two of those pins on it, both saying JUST MARRIED on them in different fonts (delicate for the bride, masculine (Maybe IMPACT font) for the groom). It was sweet. I can’t for the life of me find it online though. It was from Paper-ya in Vancouver.

    I agree with Kathleen for the wall goodies for under $100! It was my first thought.
    Oh, I was also thinking, and I’m not sure if it’d work, but vintage finds under $100 would be interesting, as it could be so many different things.

  • Have you checked out vividot for the fabric buttons? It’s my friend Molly’s biz and she does the cutest stuff. She makes fabric buttons all the time, and I’m sure she could incorporate your own fabric. Her prices are super reasonable, too.


  • would also love a guide on fabric and wallpaper – where to buy, retail/to the trade, upholstery vs regular fabric…I feel like I can never remember all the great places that make such beautiful things.

  • I have a 1″ button machine and have made fabric buttons. It was a little tricky at first, but like everyone else said, using lighter weight fabrics helps a lot. I really prefer to make them without the mylar because the shiny plastic creates a sort of glare and eliminates the beautiful texture of the fabric itself. I used the circle cutter that came with the button machine and that worked fine. The only thing that I found to be tricky was that sometimes the fabric gets stretched a bit when it comes out of the machine and gets turned under the metal backing and pokes out a bit at the sides. I just carefully use an x-acto to cut the little renegade bits off without cutting any important areas and presto! Awesome fabric buttons!

  • I live across the street from Renegade Handmade here in Chicago, and they sell fabric buttons by a local artist. They come in a pack of six, usually different styles or patterns with ultimately the same color theme so you can wear them all together. They’re so cheerful and creative. I’ve never seen large ones though. I’d adore large ones!

  • I would love another wall sconce roundup but it would probably have to be above $100. The one you did in the past has mainly sold out :(.

    I am also looking for fresh wallpaper, again- would probably have to be above $100.

    As for under $100 I am always looking for tropical inspired items being as I have a beach house.

    As an aside, my sister and I love your blog, and the other day my sisters friend called her all excited about a new blog she found. Of course it was D*S and my sister was like- duh! LOL!

  • There are button making kits you can purchase at a fabric store – all different sizes and very economical. They are easy to use and the kit will give you a pattern for the size circle you need to cut out for that particular button form. I iron a lightweight fusible interfacing to the back of the fabric to help prevent show through of the metal. Do this before you cut out the circles. This is assuming you’re wanting these buttons as actual buttons on a dress! If you’re talking about a badge type button – I don’t know except the tip about using an interfacing to prevent show through should work here as well.

  • I’ve made fabric buttons but not fabrics pins and I used a glue gun to attach the fabric.
    I think your should do an under $100 about bedding. Everyone says thrift stores but some people (me) aren’t living somewhere thrift stores are. Beautiful bedding is hard to find inexpensively.

  • I love the button idea! They remind me of the flair application on facebook and I wish they would come to real life. I love the button idea that people use on their place cards or favors at their weddings. Super cute idea.

  • I love tabletop ideas under $100, lighting is always a good one- good quality lighting is hard to find at that price point but I have no doubt you will find it, if it’s out there! And affordable wall art is something that I always enjoy seeing. And it usually means supporting emerging artists :-) which is nice. THANKS- can’t wait to see more under $100 columns!

  • I’ve made fabric buttons with my tecre button maker and they come out perfectly almost every time. I don’t do the mylar over the top though because I like the look of the fabric texture without the mylar.

  • I’ve made fabric badges with a Badge-It that have worked well, I just used it like I would with paper, only I didn’t use the plastic cover so that I still had the fabric texture.

    They’re good but beware of fraying! x

  • If you use one of those machines, you are kind of tied to the standard, smaller size, unless you get a different one and I believe, those are more expensive.. you also have to cut your fabric circles with scissors.. it’s tricky, if the fabric gets thicker .. even just medium weight can cause issues..
    I found, depending on how many you need, that those kits you can get at fabric stores to simply press it in with a hammer or your hands, work best, even for thick fabrics. Never had any problems with that.. but it’s a pain :)..

  • I made fabric covered buttons using a button covering kit. They are great for all types of crafts, I used mine to make magnets. Although I’m not sure how you would create a pinback button from them.

    Or you could use the snap in buttons which don’t require a machine. http://www.buttonbiz.com

  • my sister makes a lot of buttons (badges) from fabric. she has a heavy duty machine, and a specific machine for cutting out the fabric circles. they are about 1″, like the ones in the etsy listing. if that is not too small for you, i am fairly sure she would consider making some for you.

  • We have so many cd’s and have never been able to find a stylish, modern way to store them! Cd racks under a $100 please!

    also, luxe throw blankets for the couch…

  • Grace – your guides are excellent! I would love an under $100 guide to tea kettles. I’m having trouble finding one for my retro – inspired kitchen.

  • Under $100: How about ideas for outdoor planting containers for spring? I had so much fun flower gardening last year but I have limited ground. I do have a big porch and would love to do more container gardening without spending a lot on the containers. I do want them to be cute though; 5 gallon buckets are not going to cut it and big nice ceramic ones are spendy. Plus I want A LOT of flowers! Ideas?

    • samantha

      if you read the full post you’ll see i asked for people’s requests for under $100 column topics, as well as tips on how i could make fabirc buttons for my wedding.

  • i would love to see an under-$100 column on plant stands! i have tons of houseplants but no good place to put them…

  • I also make fabric covered buttons. Mine are all 1″ and I can either do pin backs, sew on buttons, or anything else you find in my web store. As for fraying I’ve found you can just about eliminate that problem by using packing tape on the back of the fabric. This makes it easier to cut the circles too!

  • Hello Grace,

    I had 1.25″ pinbacks made for me from my fabric scraps by Christine Renee as well. She has listings for custom requests. You cut the fabric and she presses them. I love them! A great option until I can justify buying my own press. :)

  • I’d love see blinds and window coverings for under $100, particularly Roman blinds. And if they were available internationally, even better! (just being demanding now!)

  • I make mine by using spray adhesive. I spray the fabric then stick it to paper, I have a rotary cutter which does light fabrics well (as others have said), with heavier fabric I can use the cutter to mark the paper on the reverse side and that makes cutting with scissors A LOT easier! Sticking the fabrics stops it from stretching and warping too.

  • Have you tried using American Buttons Machine for the the wedding buttons? I have used it in the past and it has turned out really well, because it is fast, easy and efficient!

    Here is the link:
    Looking for a fun and easy way to advertise or be creative? Look no further then the American Button Machine.

    Here is the link:


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