This past weekend, the kids and I decided to try out one of the crafts that I posted about on my recycled crafts blog party post to see if it was really doable for the Summer Camp crowd. I had all of the supplies on hand (or at least worthy enough versions of the supplies) so we got them all out and sat down to create our masterpiece.
As it turns out, this is a pretty easy craft to make (I am about to share the instructions for you to try); but, having said that, please know that I had four extra “helping” hands and a toddler who was doing his best to steal the buttons and roll in the glue every 10 seconds so our final outcome wasn’t as pristine as I had hoped. It did come out in one piece though and after so many epic failures from Pinterest, I have to mark this one in the “success” column.
Anyhow, here’s what we did! Hope you get a chance to try it yourself (I’m sure yours will turn out much better). These actually could make really cute gifts.
First, we gathered up the necessary supplies: a balloon, buttons, white glue, a paintbrush and a bowl.
Next, we blew the balloon up to a reasonable size, tied it and placed it in the bowl so that it would be balanced.
You’ll notice that I drew a line on it with a sharpie so that the kids knew where they were supposed to stop with the balloons (or start, however you want to look at it).
Then we used the paint brush to cover the part of the balloon that was above the line with glue. APPLY LIBERALLY. I cannot emphasize enough that the more glue, the better. I actually took a picture of what the balloon looked like after we added the first layer of glue, but then quickly realized that you couldn’t see it in a picture because I used a white balloon like the genius that I am. I recommend using a darker color so you can see how exactly where the glue is going.
Let that glue dry for 15-30 minutes, depending on how much glue you used. As long as it is dry to the touch, you’re good. Then add another layer of glue on top of the first layer. This creates the base of your bowl and is what ultimately will help hold everything together.
Next, we started the fun part: adding the buttons!
As you can see, the kids chose buttons of different sizes (which will still work if that’s what you have laying around the house, but it’s not as easy to keep them in a straight line for purposes of the top of the bowl) and they didn’t plan any kind of color pattern but hey, they did it themselves and that’s what counts, right? Just make sure that all of the buttons are touching for a more even look (and because it helps the glue adhere better – we had issues so learn from us).
We let these buttons dry overnight just to make sure they were on there good, but a few hours should do the trick if you have the time to glue them on and then come back. Once the buttons are tightly glued on, you use the glue to paint over the buttons. Again, the more glue, the better. We used a sponge brush and found it somewhat difficult to get the glue in the spaces between the buttons so when we do this at the Summer Camp, we will be using regular paint brushes. It is really important that the glue covers EVERYTHING including those spaces or the bowl will fall apart.
Once that glue dries, you repeat the “glue-over” process 1-2 more times, just to add those necessary extra layers of protection for the buttons. Yes, this is a drawn out process because of the drying time, but it is very simple and the gluing only takes a few minutes each time so it’s a project you can do in between other tasks because you can walk away from it if you need to.
Finally, once all of the glue is dry, we sliced a small hole where the balloon was tied. This slowly let the air out of the balloon without popping it, which allows the balloon to slowly pull itself away from the glue of the bowl without breaking the bowl. You don’t have to do a thing until the balloon is completely peeled off. You may have some jagged glue edges at the top if you weren’t careful about the glue around the base/where the buttons stop (my kids weren’t – SHOCKER) but I had no problem just slicing it off with some sharp scissors or exacto knife.
And there you have it. A bowl made out of nothing but buttons and glue. Obviously, the bowl isn’t made to be used for anything edible or heavy, but is sturdy enough to hold light things or for decorative use. We loved this fun way to use old buttons (and some new ones because we didn’t quite have enough just from my sewing kit) and I hope you are inspired to create an even better version of this “green” craft!