sticky fingers, sparkly stars

When some of the shop owners where I sell asked for holiday ornaments for their stores, my first reaction was "I don't have time for this." I'd been doing so much sewing and the thought of making one more item wasn't very appealing. But, I hate to disappoint, so I asked myself what else I could do that would fit in with the Primrose Design look. Here's what I came up with—and what I've been working on for the past week. There's a lot of down time with these while they dry in between the steps, so you can easily jump back and forth from other pursuits. I've been doing bookkeeping and I'm quite sure you don't want to hear about that!

star ornament
An almost finished ornament—I'll probably add a few more pearls

Here's are the supplies you'll need to make these:


• flat unfinished wood stars*
• a drill for making the hanging holes
• white acrylic paint (FolkArt 901 Wicker White)
• glue (Aleene's Glass and Bead)
• buttons (white, pearl, rhinestone) in a variety of shapes and sizes
• seed pearls, or pearl beads
• decoupage medium (Plaid Mod Podge)
• sewing needle
• thread for hanging (I used metallic silver)

in production
Put some paper down on your workspace—this could get messy!

1. Drill a hole in one point of each star. A power drill really helps because they have a tendency to break or crack. Don't get too close to the edge.
2. Paint each star with acrylic paint—a couple of coats, and don't forget the edges.
3. Now for the buttons. Start at the point with the drilled hole and place a button over it so the holes align. This is where the hanging thread will be added later. You can either apply glue to the wood and then press the button on or apply it to the button itself (that's where the sticky fingers come in). You'll get the hang of arranging them after a while. You'll want a good mix of sizes, shapes, and shades of white, and to cover the surface without leaving too many open spaces or overlapping the outer edges too much. Use smaller buttons on the points and larger one toward the center.

vintage buttons
Vintage buttons!

4. After you have a base layer of buttons, go back and add a few more to cover any open spaces. Flat buttons can rest on top and buttons with shanks are perfect for filling smaller oblong openings. The seed pearls are to fill any really small holes, especially near the edges. You're going for a layered, crusted look—think royal treasure storeroom or pirate's treasure chest—the more the better. I wanted an all-white look for mine but you could add silver or gold beads, trinkets, or charms. It's a small "canvas" so anything smallish will work well.

star ornament
It's hard to be neat with this glue but it's shiny so adds to the sparkle.

5. Once you're happy with the results, let the whole thing dry.
6. Paint the back side with the decoupage medium for a shiny, glossy finish. This works as a glue, too, so you can add a little logo or message that you've printed on paper to the back. If you do this you'll need a few extra coats (with drying time in between).
7. Take a needle and make sure the hanging hole is clear (it gets gummed up with glue and paint and Mod Podge). Then string your hanging thread through the hole and knot it. And you're done.

star ornaments

Six of the finished ornaments are off to Hello Bluebird today but I've got plenty of buttons left so I'm going to keep going. They're really pretty and I'm sure I'll find a use for them :)

* You can find these in craft stores like Michaels and A.C. Moore. My local stores only had one size and I wanted something slightly larger, so I bought the 4" size at Woodworks, Ltd. They have a wide variety of shapes including primitive stars (less-sharp points) and hearts.


Loralynn said...

These are lovely! Thank you so much for sharing how to make them!

AlyGatr said...

Wow, those came out so nicely! I already did ornaments this year, but I think maybe next year I'll try some of these :)

Four O'Clock Quilt Company said...

I did something similar with a stuffed heart. I sewed the buttons on it though. I'll show my ornament one of these days when I get the decorations out!

janet said...

Yes, this idea would translate well to a sewn item - just sew your buttons to the base (cloth rather than wood) instead of gluing them. I'd love to see your heart ornament Four O'Clock!

West Michigan Quilter said...

These are lovely. I have a whole jar of old buttons my mother saved for me. Now I know what I'll do with them. Thanks.

TexasDeb said...

What a brilliant idea. I have a mix of old buttons saved and always make some sort of ornament every year to add to the mix already on our tree. This could be IT for 2009, although not sure if I'll sew or glue.

Thanks for sharing!

Margaret said...

These starts are beautiful. I'm opening a diner in a week so I don't have time to try these this year but maybe next..

Melody said...

Janet, Those stars are beautiful! Simple and so elegant. If they were in colors they's look coutry..homespun. In white..classic.

Gep said...

Your vintage button stars are so pretty!!