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Button Letter Nursery Artwork Tutorial

For those of you wanting to know how I made little Mabel’s button letter nursery artwork…here it is! Keep in mind, my photography skills aren’t amazing so apologize if the pics aren’t great.

 *There are professional photos of her nursery and the finished button letter canvases here.*

This is what you’ll be making:

Button Letter Canvas - Great for nurseries or monogram artwork

Step one:  Buy your supplies!

You will need:
*An art canvas (I used an 8′ by 10′)
*Fabric to cover the size canvas you bought
*Heavy duty stapler and staples (I got mine from Home Depot)
*Lots of buttons (I bought mine on Create for Less), I couldn’t find the variety I wanted in a store.
*Lots of brads in all different size (normally these are the kind used for scrapbooking)
*Fabri-Tac (it’s liquid adhesive that dries with the same consistency of hot glue)
*Access to a printer
*Scissors
*A few thin sewing pins
*A big needle (this will be used to help poke holes through the fabric and canvas for your brads)

Step two:  Get your canvas ready!

Button Letter Canvas - Great for nurseries or monogram artwork
Make sure you get canvas with wood on the back…you’ll need something to staple your fabric into.

*You’re going to want to cut your fabric to cover your canvas.  I was bad and didn’t measure but it was easy enough.  Once your fabric is cut out, cover the front of the canvas with it and staple it into the back of the canvas.  NOTE:  if you’re using a fabric with a pattern, make sure the pattern is straight on the front of the fabric before you staple it.

Step three:  Print your letters and cut them out!

Button Letter Canvas - Great for nurseries or monogram artwork
You can see my ‘upholstered’ canvas with the M laying on it.

*Now this may take some playing around with your computer.  You’ll have to figure out what font you want and then pick a size.  This was trial and error for me…picking a size and then printing it out to see what would fit nicely on the canvas.  NOTE:  fonts that are thicker are easier to use in my opinion.  You’ll be able to fit more buttons on the letters and that makes the letters look more interesting!

Step four:  Attach letters and trace!

Button Letter Canvas - Great for nurseries or monogram artwork
Centered and getting ready to trace.

*You’ll attach the letters to your canvas temporarily with the tiny sewing pins.  This is so that when you trace them, they won’t move and cause you a massive headache!  I DID measure when it came to this part.  I wanted to make sure that the letter was centered and not lopsided.  Next, I traced lightly around the letter with a pencil.  You might have to use a pen or one of those chalky pencils from the sewing store if you are using a patterned or darker fabric that pencil won’t show up on.  Since I was using white silk, pencil was the easiest way to go.  Don’t worry, marks will be left behind, but you’ll cover them with buttons and brads.

Step five:  Lay out and attach buttons!

Button Letter Canvas - Great for nurseries or monogram artwork
Just buttons so far!

*It’s time to lay the buttons out to see where they will fit best, you will have your traced lines to follow.  This step is time consuming, or maybe I’m just super picky.  I wanted to make sure everything fit nicely.  Then, I went back one button at a time (while they were still laying on the fabric) and Fabri-Tac’d them on!  If you go one button at a time, you won’t mess up all the work you did by laying them out first.  But as you see, there are still gaps between the buttons.

Step six:  Fill in spaces with brads!

Button Letter Canvas - Great for nurseries or monogram artwork
Adding a hole for the brad.
Button Letter Canvas - glitter brads
Needle to make the holes and a selection of the brads I used.

*You must make holes for your brads first!  Or your risk ripping your fabric and then you’ve just ruined everything you spent time on.  Buy a big enough needle for the ‘legs’ of the brads, so that they fit.  Once you push the brad through…no glue is needed, just open the ‘legs’ of the brad so that they stay in place.  Now, fill in the gaps until you feel that you’re done!

*NOTE:  the only problem I ran into was that on some letters that were wide or tall, I couldn’t push through the canvas because the wood was right behind it!   Ugh!  Luckily my husband told me I should just use his wire cutters and cut the ‘legs’ of the brad off.  Then I just used my Fabri-Tac to put the tops of the brads on!  :)  Simple solution!

Finished Product!

Button Letter Canvas - Great for nurseries or monogram artwork
Another letter so you can see a variety of what I ended up with!
Button Letter Canvas - Great for nurseries or monogram artwork
Super neat button letter artwork for the nursery!

*I ended up making several letters to do our daughter’s name (we’re due in Feb!) for above her crib.  Turned out pretty nicely if I say so myself (you can see them here too).

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    Jenna.
    December 12, 2011 at 1:15 am

    What a great unique piece of artwork for your little girls nursery. Gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Modern Momma
    December 14, 2011 at 1:30 am

    Thanks so much Jenna! :)

  • Reply
    April
    January 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Hi. This is great! What font and size did you use?

  • Reply
    Modern Momma
    January 28, 2012 at 2:47 am

    April – I had my husband print it out for me at his work…and of course he's telling me he can't remember! I'm pretty sure the font it Helvetica but as far as the font…I think it was the biggest font size that would fit on a standard piece of printer paper. Sorry I can't be exact! If you make some, I'd love to see how they turn out! Send me pics! :)

  • Reply
    Modern Momma
    January 28, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Whoops…didn't proof read before I sent – *I'm pretty sure the font was Helvetica but as far as the size…*

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    Lover, Mother, Sister, Other. . .
    July 29, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    I love this – it’s super cute.
    I made something sort of similar for my daughters bedroom (and put my own spin on it) rather than sewn on to canvas, I glued buttons on to a free standing letter. I loved how it turned out.

    check out my efforts: http://lomosio.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/button-initial/

  • Reply
    Mandy
    August 3, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    I absolutely love this idea. I am already doing a pom letter J. I would have loved this idea too. I like the whole buttons on a canvas, and I have like 6 extra canvases floating around my house. Kudos!

    http://thedupreesandbaby.blogspot.com

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    Courtney
    March 10, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    I really want to make this for my daughter Ellie who is expected to arrive in June. I checked out the website where you bought the buttons, around how many did you need?

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    Sarah
    November 17, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I love this! I’ll definitely be trying this idea out!

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    Sue Buhr
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    can you tell me what are bradpins

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