A decorative canvas can do a lot to brighten a room and add a pop of colour to your walls. If you don’t feel confident making your own painted canvas (although I do have a tutorial for an easy abstract canvas), making a button canvas is an easy way to achieve this.
This is also an inexpensive project to make. Be honest – you have a stash of buttons in your craft supplies, right? You just knew they’d come in handy sometime… and you were right! Buttons are a surprisingly versatile craft material. If you don’t have any buttons, they’re pretty inexpensive to buy, especially online. Ebay is a great place for this.
Canvases are also available to buy widely and very reasonably priced too. There’s no need to buy an expensive canvas for this project as the surface isn’t going to be used for intricate paint work.
Canvases tend to be white, and whether you leave your canvas white or paint it to give your design a coloured background is completely up to you. One solid colour may be best if you’re going to use multicoloured buttons. Otherwise, you could paint a patterned background. Think about where you intend to hang the canvas and what might work best.
Whether you paint the background of your canvas or not, you’ll want to make sure that the glue you use will dry clear. I made the mistake in an earlier button canvas of using a clear glue that actually dried with a slight yellow tint.
I didn’t realise this when I started the project, since the glue itself was clear, but it didn’t look good when it dried. Rookie mistake, maybe, but make sure you check your glue before getting started!
One final thing I want to say is that this project is probably best for a small to medium-sized canvas. If you do decide to make a large canvas, you will need a lot of buttons, a lot of glue, a lot of time, and a lot of patience!
Saying that, I’ve seen some stunning large-scale button canvas designs available on Etsy, for example, so if you have the time and the inclination, go for it and see what you can create.
Hot Air Balloon Button Canvas Step-by-Step
- A canvas
- Acrylic paint and a brush (optional)
- A small piece of jute fabric
- Jute twine
- Assorted buttons
- Clear-drying craft glue
Paint your canvas background, if you’ve decided to do this. I painted my canvas blue. (Well, it’s a hot air balloon after all!)
I mixed up a pale blue and painted that all over the canvas, including the sides. Then I picked up a tiny bit of pure white on the brush and gently streaked it through the wet paint to break up the solid colour.
Leave your canvas to dry completely.
Cut two equal lengths of jute twine to be the ropes connecting the basket and balloon. Make them long enough that the ends can be hidden by the buttons and jute fabric.
Glue the twine to the canvas at a slight angle, with the ends are closer at the bottom than the top.
Cut a small square of jute fabric to be the basket. Glue this to the canvas, making sure to cover the ends of the twine.
Lay out buttons in a circle on the canvas. This will be the outline of the balloon. I find it easier to do this rather than draw a design on with a pencil. It can be difficult to remove pencil marks and you don’t want any visible through your finished design.
Move the buttons about until you’re happy with the size and shape of the balloon outline.
Carefully glue your buttons into place on the canvas. It’s worth taking the time to do this and making sure you put the button back exactly where you picked it up from – otherwise you may end up with a wonky design.
Regularly sit back and check that the design still looks as you intended. Leave the glue to dry before filling in the circle with more buttons.
Now all you have to do is fill in the middle of the balloon with more buttons. Depending on how you feel about seeing the background of the canvas between the buttons, you can either do a single layer or a double layer. I did two layers of buttons as the buttons I used were pretty small.
When you’ve finished glueing buttons to the balloon, leave the glue to dry. Then your canvas is ready to go up on the wall!