Saturday, February 2, 2013

Oh, What Do You Do With A Lampwork Button?

Every few torch sessions I make a lampwork button or two. I don't usually make many at once, but as I was trying to put some away earlier this week I realized the little storage drawer where I kept them wouldn't close if I added any more. Since I worked in a yarn and bead store until it closed this last June, I would sell buttons there with my other lampwork, but I didn't really consider it a part of my main repertoire ... but I kept making them. I like making them! Since I've decided it's time to start putting them in my Etsy store, I thought I'd throw some ideas into the cosmos as inspiration.

Lampwork Button Collage

For jewelry designers and crafters, a great way to use a lampwork button is as a clasp. The beauty about using a lampwork button as a clasp is that it can be the focal of the piece by itself so your design can be simple and the closure of your design will be beautiful, instead of just the neglected "back."

Lampwork Button Bracelet
© AutEvDesigns
Lampwork Button Bracelet
© AutEvDesigns
Lampwork Button and Crocheted Wire Cuff
© AutEvDesigns

© njema

Here are some other designs where buttons are used as a clasp and focal piece - perfect for a lampwork button!

© Hollyhawk

© KiwiManatee

© Tammy L. Deck

© ylleanna

For knitters and crocheters one easy gift-giving project is a coffee cozy. Lampwork buttons are a great way to jazz it up!

© Micah York

© Tia Davis

© Mom Advice

by nosmallfeet Flickr
Pirates need coffee, too!
Click on image to go to linked pattern.

Another great lampwork button use is to decorate a hat.

© Pinar Vardar

by CrocheTrend Flickr

by racheliufer Flickr

by niksknits Flickr
Click on image to go to linked pattern.

But, maybe we should be asking, "What would a drunken sailor do with a lampwork button?"

Drunken Sailor: What be 'tis?
Me: A lampwork button!
Drunken Sailor: It be treasure fer sure.
Me: Um ... I think it's just a button.
Drunken Sailor: Hand over all ye lovely booty.
Me: If you'll just put that cutlass away ...

Okay, so maybe it's better if you don't talk to a pirate about lampwork buttons, but if it becomes necessary you may want to use this online pirate translator, you know, to avoid any unnecessary confusion.

So, you tell me: what would you do with a lampworked button?


  1. Hi there...I "googled" making a lampwork button and your blog came up! Small world, I'm in the Blog Soup Cafe too. What tool do you use to make your buttons?

    1. Hey April! You have such a unique last name I remember you commenting on the Bead Soup post :)

      At first I used something I cobbled together - a small block of brass into which I drilled two holes that fit two small lengths of an old mandrel, and another hole centered in the back for another old mandrel to use as a handle. It worked okay. The advantage of making your own is you can choose the hole size by which mandrel you insert (I cut the small lengths using the cut off disk on a Dremel) and you can choose the spacing.

      However, for production work, I really like the Trimlett button mandrel from Arrow Springs.

      It's easiest to get the buttons off the mandrel if you make them near the tip. Then, to remove them, you just twist them gently back and forth as you pull - pretty much like removing a bead from a regular mandrel.