christine marie davis

Smashing Button Jewelry

Buttons Before Smashing

Just Smash It!

I began smashing buttons one spring day in 2010 when I was angry and frustrated. Sitting on my workbench was a worthless bag of vintage metal buttons. I had been trying unsucessfully to sell them on Etsy, no one wanted to buy them. So I decided to just smash the whole bag, I had nothing to lose.

I found it very satisfying to smash and flatten these hollow objects. I can't explain why, you have to try it for yourself.

A side benefit is that it helps work out frustrations.

Christine Smashing  Buttons

Buttons After Smashing

Bleached Buttons

I was quite happy with the results of my initial button smashing. After I smashed them, I added some texture to the surface but they were still too shiny for my tastes. Since I didn't have any liver of sulfur, which is used to darken metal, I dumped them in a bowl of bleach and went home for the night.

The next day, I came back to a frothy, rusty mess! What had I done! But I rinsed and scrubbed them with steel wool and found I now had some nice treasures that looked like old Roman coins.

A few months later I started stacking them up and riveting the stacks together to make little charms. I did the whole batch that way until I had a nice collection.

Smashed Button Pendants

Bob Ebendorf

Get Smashed!

I took these to a workshop at Anderson Ranch to show to my teacher Bob Ebendorf. He and the other students really liked my smashed button idea and encouraged me to make more.

So I went home made those charms into my first smashed button necklace. I started making more things but I was running out of buttons. The little bags of 50 or 100 I was buying weren't lasting long. I needed more, lots more.

Smashed Button Necklace

Lots of Buttons

Question: What is "a Lot of Buttons?"

My big coup came when I found Button seller who said she had "more" of some buttons I liked. She said it was "a lot." But how much is a lot? a 100, a 1,000, or more?

Answer: 39 POUNDS

So I asked her to go weigh them and she wrote back and said she had 39 POUNDS of buttons. Whoa! We did our math and figured at 265 buttons per pound she had about 10,000 buttons.

I bought the whole lot

I was thrilled to score all these at onece. But I felt a little crazy. Would I ever be able to use them all? I was either committed to this project bigtime or going to be committed!

I have been smashing buttons ever since and now I'm making rings, bracelets, brooches and earrings. I'm hooked.....see slide show

Smashed Buttons

I have to thank Bob Ebendorf whose guidance and workshops have been invaluable and whose enthusiam is contagious. And to Sabra Sowell-Lovejoy who taught me how to smash and bash metal without reservation. Her method involves no fuss, no fancy tools, and no refined techniques, just have at it with whatever old hammer you have around.

© Christine Marie Davis 2010- 2011
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