DIY Projects Lifestyle Thrifting & Vintage

Upcycling Thrifted Buttons Into Stylish Napkin Rings

April 10, 2019

Easy and inexpensive to make, upcycling thrifted buttons into stylish napkin rings is just one way to give these hard-working notions a new life. Make these single button napkin rings for a chic, versatile touch to your tablescape any time of the year.

Large white button tops silver napkin ring.

Thrifty Chicks Challenge

Today I’m sharing my DIY napkin rings made from thrifted buttons and variegated twine. This is my very first project in our monthly Thrifty Chicks Challenge where each month we are given a new theme for a project. April’s theme is all about buttons, and I’ll have links at the end so you can see the projects this talented group of bloggers came up with. So inspiring to be part of this creative group, and a big thank you for welcoming me!

Thrifty Chicks April Button Project blog hop reveal. Find ideas and inspiration for upcycling vintage buttons.

Single Button Napkin Rings

I had a bunch of ideas I was considering for my project and a set of single button napkin rings was right at the top. Of course I couldn’t resist peeking through Pinterest to see what other ideas I might have missed. Whoa, there are SO many button projects, it would be hard to pick, but I was pretty set on making the napkin rings.

Large white button accents silver napkin ring with black white tassel.

Black & Blush Pink Colour Scheme

I was planning to twist variegated cotton twine around silver napkin rings I already had on hand, so went searching to see what colours I could find. I ended up being torn between light gray, soft pink, and black.

DIY napkin ring using a large pearlized button.

In the end the gray and pink felt a little too matchy-matchy with my china pattern, so I decided to go with the black. This year we’re seeing a lot of blush pink in home decor and definitely the retro combo of black and pink is back, so I think this choice is a good fit.

DIY napkin ring using a large pearlized button.

Decor colour trends do come ’round. In fact, the pink linen on the charger is actually a vintage Louise Verschueren piece, well-known Belgian lace given to me by a woman I was helping to downsize her home years ago. It’s so pretty, and the colour is very close to the pink we’re seeing today.

Thrifted Large Pearlized Buttons

I used large pearlized buttons to cover the knot where the twine ends are tied together. I went treasure hunting for the buttons and was lucky enough to find a set of 10 in the thrift store.

DIY napkin ring using a large pearlized button.

I really love the simplicity of the single large button by itself. It works with the china and still manages to stand out. I think it balances the kitschy Boho feel of the tassel and casual feel of the twine.

This was a really simple button project from beginning to end. I was reminded that the point of projects is not how involved they are, but about the outcome instead!

Fun Fact About Napkin Rings

Did you know that napkin rings originated in the early 19th century and were used to keep track of an individual’s napkin (kind of like wine charms do in today’s world), and they used the same napkin until washing day!

I’ve included a photo tutorial and a few written steps on how to make the single button napkin rings. If you don’t have time to tackle the project now, make sure you pin it for another day!

DIY Single Button Napkin Rings

DIY Steps:

  1. Cut 6 lengths of twine long enough to wrap around napkin ring and tie in a knot; leave enough extra length for the tassel (I cut mine about 10″ long each).
  2. Twist twine together holding firmly between fingers of each hand (I left my twists on the looser side).
  3. Make a loop large enough to fit around the napkin ring; tie ends together in a knot (give it a try – see step 5).
  4. Sew button to the knot (you might have to nestle the button back into the knot a little so it sits flat).
  5. Fit twine loop over napkin ring (I did a test-run before sewing the button on, just to make sure it fit).
  6. Untwist each piece of remaining twine to form tassel, trim to desired length and separate strands.

More Ideas & Button Project Inspiration

If you’re looking for more ideas and inspiration for button projects, make sure you visit the rest of the Thrifty Chicks gals. Click on the link beside their blog name below to go to their posts. So much creativity all in one day!

  1. Little Vintage Cottage – Button Easter Egg
  2. Me 🙂
  3. Lora – DIY Button Topiary
  4. Adirondack Girl at Heart – How to Display and Sell Vintage & Antique Buttons + FREE Printables
  5. Itsy Bits and Pieces – Fun DIY Button Card Projects
  6. Color Me Thrifty – Button Flowers Pillow Makeover

Thanks for stopping by!

Audrey Would Vintage Home blog

Photographs © Audrey Would! Vintage Home unless otherwise indicated.

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  • Reply Kelly April 14, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    They are so pretty Sheila! Your whole tablescape is beautiful. Great job!

    • Reply Sheila Zeller April 15, 2019 at 7:25 am

      Thank you so much Kelly! I appreciate that – and how awesome that you stopped by. Thank you!!!

  • Reply littlevintagecottage April 10, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    I love your napkin rings!

    • Reply Sheila Zeller April 12, 2019 at 10:16 am

      Thank you Tania! That’s such a compliment. I appreciate it!!

  • Reply Tuula @ Color Me Thrifty April 10, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    I love this idea Sheila, and it would be so easy to customize to match different decors. Great way to give napkins rings a little extra pizazz.

    • Reply Sheila Zeller April 10, 2019 at 6:50 pm

      Thank you Tuula! You are so right about the customizing, and I never really thought about that. Great idea!!

  • Reply Lora Bloomquist April 10, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    This is a great idea, Sheila! I’ve never thought about using some of my vintage buttons in this way. I love the whole classy scene you put together, especially against that cool backdrop. Just makes me think “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”! So excited you’ve joined us! Your style brings a whole new flavor to our group!

    • Reply Sheila Zeller April 10, 2019 at 3:24 pm

      Thank you Lora! I really enjoyed pulling this together…who knew what a simple button would inspire? I’m really excited to be a part of this group and grateful to you for the invitation. I’m looking forward to the next challenge!!

  • Reply Diana April 10, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    So elegant and sophisticated, Sheila–great project!!

    • Reply Sheila Zeller April 10, 2019 at 3:22 pm

      Thank you Diana! It was a fun challenge and I really appreciate being welcomed into the group. It’s just so great to be having fun creating!!

  • Reply Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces April 10, 2019 at 7:30 am

    These are so pretty, Sheila! And there so many ways you could go with this project! Fun!

    • Reply Sheila Zeller April 10, 2019 at 9:05 am

      Thank you so much Linda! I originally was going to add some smaller vintage buttons to the leftover twine lengths, but decided to go with tassels instead. Just a simple way to keep the napkin rings more on the fun side.

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