Thursday, March 7, 2013

Button Bowl

Is March one of the busiest months for anyone else? I don't know why but October and March are always super busy. I'm dying to get crafting/sewing/creating/painting/anything, but I have to finish up my spring cleaning first. Today it's taking all of me to do what I'm supposed to do and not run outside in the sunshine and warmth. I even had to turn on the A/C this morning in the car. Oh I love the coming of spring. I love the return of warmth, the fact that I actually have a desire to clean, and my increased creativity. I can feel myself coming out of hibernation and it's wonderful. I have so much to do over the next few months and now I actually feel motivation. Hallelujah. 

My time on Pinterest had reduced over the past month or two because I just didn't feel like I could do anything. I wasn't motivated. I didn't feel creative. The past week I think I've made up for that "lost time" and I've found all sorts of new projects, recipes and ideas. One of which I pinned was this bowl:
I don't know that it's quite my style for out in the living room, but it would definitely be cute in our hobby room (which is pretty much our room equivalent of a junk drawer). Designer Iñigo Cañedo says this about his design, called Knoop: "Knoop is made from plastic buttons carefully glued together over a hemispheric mold to form a bowl. The translucency of the plastic causes beautiful light projections over the surface the bowl is, extending the personality of the bowl to its surroundings. Because of the nature of the materials needed to make the bowl (buttons mainly), a meticulous hand process is needed to construct one of them."

It's funny that I found this and pinned it, and then shortly after we had a submission from Amy showing us the results of a button bowl she tried to make. Here's the pin she found and followed:

The Original Pin
"My boyfriend came over to help me.  We blew up a balloon and began to glue buttons to it, following the directions exactly.  We had to use a hair dryer on the cool setting because the buttons wanted to slide all over the place, but we made it work.  About halfway in, we were taking a break and standing not far from the table where we were working when the balloon randomly popped and buttons flew everywhere.  That part was no one's fault, but still...hilarious.  So we started over.  The process literally took days.  Each coat of mod podge took over 24 hours to dry.  After the last coat, we let it dry for about three days, just to be safe.  After popping the balloon, it immediately began to flop to one side.  And the glue and mod podge was ugly. Today, it looks like this:"

The Pinstrosity:

Definitely not the look they were going for. Ultimate Frisbee anyone? 

Having never made one of these before. I'm thinkin' (any of my old history/civics classmates out there also say this while mentally tapping your forehead?) that this is definitely one that I should try out. I've been looking at a few different instructions around and pulling my previous crafting experiences and I've got some tips for you. Hahaha...taking tips from someone who has never done this, sounds like a Pinstrosity waiting to happen, right? Oh well. 
  • The balloon. You need a good one that will not pop at the first change in air current caused by your spouse blinking 4 rooms away. I would use one of those punching ball balloons in fact because they are much more sturdy (because they have to withstand 8-year-olds). If you really really want to be sure you have a sturdy enough object to use, I'd even buy one of those balls out of the big ball bin and use that. 
    • Don't want to have to pop a ball? Maybe try wrapping the ball in a smooth and snug layer of plastic wrap. After everything is dry and done you can just cut the wrap off the ball. That's the thought process anyway. 
  • The glue. Some of the tutorials suggested regular school glue. Some say tacky glue. One even said hot glue, but I don't see that working so well...especially on a balloon. So forgo the hot glue unless you're a hot glue master (which I am not). This site suggests that you use a tacky glue pen...which sounds like a fantastic idea to me. I like tacky glue, it really is pretty decent stuff, and it doesn't run as bad as school glue. The tackier glue you can find, the better. You don't want your buttons running all over the place. 
  • The "clear dry" glue misconception. When glue says that it dries clear, it doesn't mean it will dry invisible. If you are coating your balloon in glue and the putting the buttons on, there will be visible glue even after it dries. Some glues dry more clear than others, but it will still be visible. If you are going the route of coating the balloon and the placing the buttons, try to make your glue coat as even as possible so you get a good surface. I would also definitely give a good coat or two (or three) of the Hard Coat Mod Podge (not just normal Mod Podge...hard coat).
    • If you look at another of Iñigo Cañedo's Knoop bowl images, he actually doesn't have glue in the open spaces between the buttons. Here, let me show you:
    • He painstakingly glued the edges of the buttons together. Now, we don't know what kind of glue/adhesive he used, but I imagine it wasn't school glue or tacky glue. This is one that might work with hot glue, but you definitely couldn't use a balloon as your mold. It looks like he didn't actually glue the buttons to the mold even. You need some pretty strong glue for that. Maybe some good jewelry glue or even 2 part epoxy glue. Elmers just isn't quite going to cut it here. 
  • Patience. This project isn't one that you can sit and do in 20 minutes. Let the glue have time to dry without messing with it. You'll be happier with your end result. 

So to summarize, you need a good mold and good glue and LOTS of patience. I know, those are the DIYers least favorite words...non cheapo supplies and more time than you want to give. But...some projects are just worth it. Anyone else have success with these button bowls and want to share your additional tips?


  1. I totally don't think it's worth the time/effort to make sure no glue is showing, but I think putting glitter in the glue and having it show would be awesome.

  2. After looking at the close-up of a successful project, I wonder if there was any kind of tacky glue used at all. It looks like it is only super glue that holds each button together, and a spherical object was just its resting place/mold. I don't think you're going to be able to achieve this look with tacky glue. Also, if you go the tacky glue route, once you pop whatever spherical device you use as a mold,what will the inside look like? I don't think it will look clean.

  3. I made one last year; it was one of the first pinterest crafts I ever tried. I found it time consuming b/c I had to wait for each row to dry and I also had to keep pressure on them so they wouldn't slide. My bowl is only a few rows and it came out OK. I used mod podge I think, then I sprayed clear sealant on it after it was dry. Also, you have to let the air out of the balloon really slowly and help it come unstuck from the buttons, just like with the fabric bowl.

    Here is the link to my blog post on it:

  4. I wonder if E6000 would work. Or maybe contact cement? Although superglue would be easier I guess. I've had that bowl pinned forever and I really do want to try it one day!

  5. I wonder if you used straight pins to secure the buttons to a styrofoam ball, then glued each button to the next one using superglue, or another thin consistency glue. I may have to try this to see if it works.

    1. That sounds really promising, and would also give you a nice platform to test out designs.

  6. The original looks like it's plastic glue, carefully applied to the sides, like HIPS Styrene Plastic Glue or WELD-ON 1802. Both work best when the 2 objects being glued together are made from the same materials, like plastic buttons.

  7. THIS IS A DISASTER! I've done this with different glue and molds and I've had other professionals try... its a waste of time, money, etc. It's ridiculous.

  8. I actually just finished this pin and it turned out AWESOME! I got a pack of glue from Hobby Lobby for $4.00 and found buttons for $1.00. I always have like five different artsy crafts going so i put glued the buttons on my cheep balloons and let it dry then finished then next part of the bowl. After i let it dry I Mod Podged it with two layers, waiting till the first layer dried before i put the next one on. Once dried i gently separated the balloon from the buttons and cut the balloon with my knife after so it slowly let out air while i kept Turing the bowl to separate the buttons and balloon. I love it it turned out awesome and if I knew how to put a picture on I would!

  9. the best way to do this would be with a bowl and not a balloon tha you have covered in petroleum jelly to keep the buttons from sticking. and then bonding the buttons together and making a very sturdy bowl with a clear two part resin.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.