Monday, February 15, 2010

A Quick Fix for Missing Vintage Rhinestone Buttons


I never shy away from buying a vintage piece that is cheaply priced but needs a little work, case in point: my Mend and Make Do Dress. One of the shirts I brought home from the last estate sale was missing most of the rhinestones in the buttons, but it had major potential for $2. I have mentioned on here before that I have replaced my rhinestones in vintage buttons with new ones and felt it was time to do a little tutorial. This is such a quick and easy fix....plus it's really inexpensive as well. What you will need is a blouse or dress (really anything with rhinestone buttons that have stones missing), some good quality glue, and some rhinestones.

1. The glue of my choice is Aleene's Clear Tacky Glue. It dries quick and forms a strong bond. I used it on the last garment I fixed and it held up through the washer and dryer. I have yet to test the glue out on the dry cleaners, but when I do, I'll let you know. Read the back, it will normally say if it's okay for washables. This glue doesn't say, but I have tested and it worked out well for me.

2. The stones I used were knock off Swarovski Crystal by the Joann house brand, Ultimate Crystals. They were on sale for half off, so I stocked up. I think they will still be on sale for a few more days. These stones are the closest I have found to matching the original ones, although the new ones are flat backed and not cone backed like original rhinestones. The flat back stones work wonderfully and give off the same effect as the cone backed stones. In fact, I haven't been able to find cone backed stones anywhere. I also think it would be hard to get a good fit with cone backed stones. The flat back ones sit right at the top of the well and I haven't had any issues with them popping out.
Here are the steps:

1. The first thing I do is gently pop out all the other stones. I guess this could be optional, but I find that if many stones are missing, the probability that the rest of the original stones will make their way out at some point is eventual and I also want a uniform look. I save the original stones in case I will ever need to just replace one or two on a blouse or dress. That way I can avoid popping out more than necessary. You will also need to make sure that the little well were you will place your new stone is pretty much glue free. Most of the time it is, as the glue comes out with the stones, but I always check. If there is a little residue, I just take a larger sharp needle and carefully pop or scrape it out.

2. Next comes the gluing. Before I glue anything, I check for fit. The size in between the smallest and largest rhinestones that most stores sell fits most sized buttons. My package didn't give the millimeters, but I always get the in-between size and that works for me. I lay out my stones and after I know they fit, then I begin to glue. I only put a tiny dot in the well, where the cone back of the original stone would have sat; I don't want the glue to ooze out. If there is some overflow, I keep a wet paper towel handy and wipe off the excess if need.

3. Repeat the gluing part for the rest of your buttons. I should note that I have found it is easiest to do the gluing with the garment closed and buttoned up. This gives the button something to rest on and makes for a sturdy, even surface -- especially since most of these buttons have a shank back.
Here is the finished product. The supplies cost me about $6, which is sooooo much cheaper than having to replace the buttons. The price of buttons astounds me, which is why I just had to find a way to do an easy and inexpensive fix to rhinestone buttons. Plus, I really wanted to avoid having to sew on new buttons! I think the look of rhinestone buttons is so pretty and sure to dress up any garment. I am so loving the new look of this shirt that I just might wear it tomorrow!! :)

I hope this helps!! If you have any questions, feel free to comment or send me an email.

Emily