Slim and Lightweight Woven Button Necklaces

Most recently I’ve been making my button necklaces using various cords and weaving or stitching techniques. The first time I ever saw someone wearing a necklace made with buttons (which inspired me to make one for my friend’s birthday, then for myself, and then – well, the rest of this story is here, so I won’t repeat it right now) it was actually quite unlike the first button necklaces I made. It was made with small buttons, all the same size, woven together with cord. But when I sat down to make button necklaces, my first button necklace design used wire, and all kinds of different sized buttons, like this pink button necklace here:

Pink Button Necklace

Pink Button Necklace

I haven’t stopped making necklaces in this style (you can see some of my current colour schemes in my necklace section here) but I have been experimenting with different ways to join buttons together to make jewellery – I’ve made button charm necklaces and bracelets using lots of buttons attached to chains (which are more jangly); long-length button necklaces which are reversible, so that as they move and flip over the necklace still looks good; tapered necklaces made with thick cord knotted strongly so that the buttons don’t turn over; and also some slim, lightweight button necklaces a bit like the one I first saw someone wearing.

Autumn Colours Slim Button Necklace

Autumn Colours Slim Button Necklace

The buttons in these necklaces are tiny and light, so they don’t need such a thick cord to keep them in place and stop them turning over. They are woven to stay in a straight line, using a strong but fairly thin nylon cord. They are made to rest gently on or just below the collarbone, and they’re especially good for people of more of a petite build. I’ve sometimes had requests in my bespoke button jewellery service for necklaces that are made with smaller buttons, because smaller people in chunky jewellery report sometimes feeling as though the necklace is wearing them, rather than the reverse. So now I’ve included these slimmer necklaces in my “regular” section. So far I only have a few colour schemes ready-made, but if you’d like a necklace like these in any other colours, I can make them with different coloured buttons as a bespoke order. These ones use silver-plated findings, but if sterling silver is more your things, that’s fine too – it just costs a little extra.

Earth and Stone Slim Button Necklace

Earth and Stone Slim Button Necklace

New Handmade Bunting Triangle Necklaces

My new triangular necklaces are like little strings of wooden bunting flags in miniature. I had the idea for these when I was half asleep, just waking up, in that few seconds in between dreaming and awake. When I actually did wake up, I initially thought the “bunting necklaces” idea was another of those weird mad subconscious things that make no sense but seem like a really sensible idea at the time (like when a friend of mine leapt out of bed one morning, rolled up her duvet and was about to cut all her hair off when she realised she’d just had a dream that she had lend the duvet and her hair to her housemate who was apparently going to use them both to play in a concert).

But then I had a cup of tea and thought about it a bit more and decided that actually bunting necklaces would be quite a good idea. They’re little geometric tiles, and each one is different (a bit like bunting). I’ve made five different designs – one with old maps of England, one with an old music theory book, one with Japanese washi paper, and two different ones using my handpainted tile designs — one in green and one in purple.

Bunting Necklace - Music Book

Bunting necklace – music book

Bunting necklace - washi

Bunting necklace – Japanese Washi Paper

You can view the whole collection on my necklaces page here.

Bohemian Upcycled Necklaces

Here are my latest three Bohemian style necklaces – all completely unique and one-of-a-kind items, made with re-used or leftover buttons, beads, chains and assorted bits and pieces.

Bohemian Necklace - Beachcomber‘Beachcomber’ upcycled long necklace, £45, Unexpected Boutique

Upcycled Bohemian Necklace - Dragon's Hoard‘Dragon’s Hoard’ upcycled long Bohemian necklace, £45, Unexpected Boutique

Riverbed Upcycled Necklace‘Riverbed’ upcycled long Bohemian necklace, £45, Unexpected Boutique

All are hand-assembled, and although I hope to make some more jewellery in this style in the future, each one is very much a one-off. They were created partly out of thrift – using up bits and pieces that were leftover from other jewellery projects, experiments that didn’t produce the right results, and in some cases bits and bobs that I’ve had since my teens and childhood – things that were nothing particularly special or useful but shouldn’t be thrown away. Because: if something can be repurposed, used or appreciated by anyone other than the current owner, of course it shouldn’t be thrown away. Far too much is thrown away, and while these necklaces are hardly even a thousandth of a drop in the ocean when it comes to changing that, I hope they at least symbolise the idea that what might seem like rubbish doesn’t always have to be, and might add to a growing consciousness of re-use and re-purposing being better – at least sometimes – than making something brand new in a factory.

Custom Button Jewellery

I’ve added a new feature to my button jewellery site – my wire button necklaces, bracelets and jewellery sets are now available with customisable colours which you can pick out from my colour palette.

Button Jewellery Colour Palette

First you can select your type of jewellery – you can get just a necklace, just a bracelet, or various different jewellery sets (I’ll be adding a few more variations soon). Then you can pick up to five different colours from drop-down menus, and even select your wire colour if you want to – or you can leave this up to me.

Custom button jewellery set

If you want to discuss the colours in more detail, want more than five colours or a different bracelet or necklace length, I can do that too – just send me an email and I can make further customisations too.

Unique Bright Button Necklaces

Here are some of my recent bright button necklace designs. Each is unique, made with vintage buttons and multistrand wire. Some of these have already sold, but there are a few left, which are for sale on my button necklaces page.

Jigsaw Puzzle Necklaces and Earrings

These jigsaw puzzle necklaces are made with Japanese washi paper over jigsaw pieces, to form unusual necklaces:

Jigsaw Puzzle NecklaceJigsaw puzzle necklace: £28, Unexpected Boutique

There are also some matching earrings:

Jigsaw EarringsdWashi Jigsaw Earrings, £10, Unexpected Boutique

Japanese washi paper is a beautifully decorated paper which is often used for origami, but here it has been repurposed to create ornate and eye-catching jewellery. The combination of washi paper and jigsaw pieces is a surprising juxtaposition, and on top of that, the edges are decorated with ink “stitching” to make them look a bit like sewed-on patches. So it is a jigsaw, some origami, or the start of a patchwork quilt?

Two Upcycled Charm Necklaces

…aaaand we’re back. I’ve finished moving house. Not finished unpacking, but all the things have been extracted from the old place and put into the new one.

Because I apparently have unusual priorities, rather than deal with the large pile of assorted items that has gathered in the corner of my new jewellery-making studio (sample: coathangers that I don’t want, an old Swan kettle, some sofa cushions which my mother inexplicably bestowed on me, massive roll of bubblewrap, a collection of Fairport Convention memorabilia, giftwrap, an inexplicable map of Birmingham) I have put some pictures of my latest necklaces onto the internet.

Talking of piles of miscellaneous objects, this is what these necklaces are made from. After I had declared my shops closed after the last Christmas rush, as a little reward for myself, I got out some boxes of old broken jewellery that I’d been hoarding for a few years, spread all the bits out on the floor, and picked out the best bits to turn into new upcycled charm necklaces.

Most of the time, as I’m making a living from jewellery-making, I have to make sure I can make multiples of each piece that I design – otherwise the time I spend photographing, processing and uploading each item becomes too much and can’t make things fast enough. I do make a few one-of-a-kind items, and I’d like to do more of this, but at the moment with the way my shops are set up I don’t get the opportunity very often.

So after frantically making lots of my stock designs over and over for people’s Christmas shopping, I wanted to make something completely different and unique, without worrying about whether I could reproduce anything similar ever again – it was a little no-strings-attached creative break for me.

Here are the two necklaces I made:

Bronze Upcycled Charm Necklace
Bronze Bohemian Charm Necklace, £45, Unexpected Boutique

Silver Upcycled Bohemian Charm Necklace

Silver Bohemian Charm Necklace, £45, Unexpected Boutique

Quirky Jewellery

If you’re tired of wearing the same old conventional jewellery – gemstones, pearls or silver, for example – and want to compliment your outfit with statement jewellery, something a bit more quirky or unusual – the place to go is the Unexpected Boutique. My unusual jewellery shop specialises in necklaces, bracelets and earrings made from materials that aren’t usually associated with jewellery – for a quirkier look, exchange your pearl necklace for a button necklace, your gemstone bracelet for a dice bracelet, and your gold earrings for safety pin earrings.

Button Necklace

Brown and orange button necklace, £20, Unexpected Boutique

Dice Bracelet

Black and white elastic dice bracelet, £12.50, Unexpected Boutique

Safety Pin Earrings - Gold

Gold and green safety pin earrings, £10, Unexpected Boutique

Moving House…

Everything’s been a bit quiet on here for a while – for good reason, as I’m moving house at the moment. Currently half of my stuff is in York, and half in my new home in County Durham – but all my jewellery-making things and stock are together in the new place, so orders are going out as normal. (I now live even closer to the Post Office, and in the countryside too, which means there are shorter Post Office queues – makes my life a lot easier…) In between all the furniture-wrangling and sorting, it’s quite a nice little break to put some jewellery in an envelope or make a necklace, actually!

Anyway, in case you were wondering what’s become of the May newsletter and the May prize draw for some stud earrings, please bear with me – the winner will be announced very soon!

White Button Stud Earrings

Inge in Germany wrote to me and asked if I could make some white stud button earrings to match the black ones I already make. The 9mm black button studs are one of my most popular pieces of jewellery, but for some reason I had never got round to making white ones before now. Anyway, I got hold of some matching white buttons, and this was the result:

Stud Button Earrings

I guess that probably looks like four buttons just resting on some foam in a gift box, but actually they look like this:

White Button Stud Earrings

And you can now buy them here!