You can dye plastic buttons, as long as they're white or quite light in color. Use a small glass container. Start with food coloring, mixing colors to get just the right hue. Add some vinegar and warm water (just as you would for Easter eggs) and put your buttons in. Leave the buttons in until the right shade is achieved - this will likely take several hours or longer. Let them dry and sew them on. The color may wash out slightly in the washing machine, but you can recolor if that is much of a problem. I came up with this when I couldn't find the proper color of buttons for a dress, despite checking numerous fabric stores!
You can make buttons from polymer clay. They can also be painted, if desired. These are wonderful for crocheted or knitted items and "crafty looking" clothes, purses, etc. It's easiest when you need fairly large buttons and just a few of them!
Saving Money on Buttons
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You can also go to antique shops or any thrift shops, sometimes I've seen mason jars FULL of buttons for only $1 or $2 each! I think one a long time ago at an antique store was like .50cents for a large mason jar full!!
I never throw out an extremely worn garment (or make it into rags or patches for crafts) without removing all buttons. I have even reused zippers!
My sister, who is now in her 80s, gave me some buttons she had had since she got married in 1941. There were some of the tiny little pearl buttons less tha a quarter inch in diameter. I took some of these and used them for the center of a flower on a dress for my grand daughter. I made the petals with a ribbon embroidery lazy daisy stitch and did the leaves and stems with other stitches also with ribbon. Most of the buttons I think my sister got from our mother so there's really no way to tell how old they are. Instant heirloom for the kid to wear to school.
My daughter in law gave me some trim that was in her grandmother's sewing box. I made some really cute little summer dresses for Megan and put her Great Grammy's trim on them.
You can also upgrade plastic buttons on the garment by just painting them over with nailpolish. I pearlized some buttons on a dress that way.
I always ask at yard sales if they have any buttons. Most people don't think to try and sell their old buttons, but when I ask, those who have a "button Collection"will go inside and bring it out for me to buy.
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