Step 1: Choose a button or flat jewelry disk. If the button has a shank cut the shank off close to the button. Spread glue evenly to the edges on the back of the disk and press firmly onto a piece of coordinating felt. Good glues to use are FabriTac or E-6000. Both can be beaded thru easily if glue spreads out onto the felt. Let dry overnight and then trim felt away to about ¼". (See picture 1)
Step 2: Thread a good long beading needle with about 36" of Nymo beading thread to match your beads and double it. (I am a big fan of Silamide - but for this technique Nymo works better as it is softer.) Now add your first row of beads. For most buttons a size 11 seed bead is a good choice. Come up from the back and add 5 beads to your needle. Go down thru the fabric and bring the needle back up between bead 2 and bead 3. Now pass back thru beads 3,4 and 5. (See Picture 2)
Keep adding beads in this fashion till you have a complete circle. Once you have completed the circle - run the thread all the way thru every beading making a complete circle of thread and pull tight - bring your needle back thru the felt to the back, and tie a good knot. Re-thread your needle with another yard of Nymo and double it and knot. Make a second row of beads very close to the first row exactly as you did the first row. On this row you can choose to make them the same color, but I often use a second color and do every other bead. (See picture 3 - I alternated purple bead with a pearl bead on second row).
Step 3: Start again with a fresh length of thread. Bring needle up thru the back right beside the last row of beads you put on and put 3 beads on the needle. Go down through the felt about one bead width away from where you came up with the needle. Turn the button over and put your needle up and through the last bead that you threaded on. Turn the button over and add 2 beads and follow the step above: put your needle down through the felt about one bead width away from where you came up, turn the button over and put your needle up and through the last bead. Turn the button over and add 2 more beads. Repeat this process until you have circled the button. End with 2 beads, come up through the second bead and add one and go down through the very first bead where you started. Take needle to the back and knot off securely. This will make a pretty picot edging with a distinct bead sticking out every other bead - the beads will form a pattern that looks like steps - one up, one down, one up all the way around the
Step 4: Start again with a fresh length of thread. Bring your needle and thread up through the felt thru your last bead and into a bead that is sticking out. Add 3 beads and put your needle into the next bead that is sticking out. You will only go thru the beads that are protruding. Go all the way around the circle - go down thru a bead on the lower row and thru the felt to the back and knot off. If you prefer a fuller frillier lacier look - add a second row going thru the middle (top) bead of each of the three that you added on this row. My completed button in this picture has 2 rows.
Another way to use these is to make a bracelet out of them. I bought a beaded coil bracelet at Wal-Mart and then added the beaded pansy cabochon to it by stitching it on with beading thread. This cabochon was approximately ¾" long and I used Mill Hill Delica beads to achieve a much more delicate look. This size of bead is more appropriate to smaller items.
Pictures of additional beaded cabochons and buttons I have made:
"I have been sewing since the age of 5 when my mother taught me to make clothes for my dolls. Soon after I started embroidery and started my hope-chest with lots of tea towels and pillowcases. I have since tried almost all forms of needlework and lately have been most infatuated with Crazy Quilting. I also enjoy painting, cake decorating, bird watching and singing with my Sweet Adeline chorus, The Rich-Tones."