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Buttons and Beads

Dorset Buttons

The first Dorset button was made by Abraham case of Shaftesbury between 1680 and 1685. The development of the button trade was so great that eventually thousands of men, women and children were employed in their trade.

This sample was made using curtain rings and washers. The washers were first painted with car spray paint (care should be taken to perform the spraying in a well ventilated area). Beads were added to some of the buttons and only the 'casting' step performed.

There are four stages to making a Dorset button:

  1. Casting

    Tie thread on to the ring working first 5 or 6 buttonhole stitches over the loose end. A very long thread is necessary as it cannot be joined in the middle of the ring. Stitches are worked tight and close so that the ring does not show.

  2. Slicking

    All stitches are pushed round to the inside of the ring so that the outer edge is smooth.

  3. Laying

    With the thread at the top back of the ring bring down to the bottom of the ring then up in front in the exact centre. Turn ring slightly and continue to make spokes in this way until circle is completed. Fasten spokes by making a cross in the middle, pull firm making sure the cross stays central.

  4. Rounding

    Fill in button by working back stitch over each of the spokes, keeping thread taught. Fill as much as required.

Dorset Buttons Sample

Fimo Beads and Buttons

These samples show beads made from Fimo - a coloured polymer clay than can be baked hard.

The sample on the left shows various beads and buttons made with Turquoise, terracota and neutral coloured Fimo. Some have also been rubbed over with a Markal Artist's Paintstik.

The sample on the right shows some oblong buttons made from blue Fimo, rolled over with pastry wheel and coloured with a Markal Paintstik.

Fimo Beads Sample Fimo Beads Sample

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