How to Make a Tufting Button

Whether it’s a bench or a headboard, tufted upholstery is a classic way to add luxury to your space. Get in on the action by making your own tufted buttons. These tiny details will make your next tufting project easier and more stylish.

If you’re planning a tufting project, lessen some of the legwork by creating the buttons ahead of time. Each button should be covered in the same fabric as the overall upholstery for a consistent look. You may get lucky and find pre-upholstered buttons that match your fabric at a local fabric shop, but oftentimes you’ll need to cover them yourself. Luckily, there’s a straightforward process for creating tufted buttons.

First, you’ll need a button kit. These easy-to-use kits can be found in a variety of sizes both online and in sewing supply stores. Make sure that your kit includes a template, mold, pusher, and several buttons with backs. You’ll also need fabric scraps. The exact amount of fabric depends on how many buttons you plan to make.

Ready to get tufting? Follow these simple steps and you’ll be covering buttons like a pro in no time!

  • Start to Finish 15 Minutes
  • Difficulty         Projects Easy
  • Involves Cutting Fabric

What you need

Tools

  • Button kit template
  • Permanent marker
  • Scissors
  • Button kit mold
  • Button kit pusher

Materials

  • Fabric scraps
  • Button shell
  • Button back

How to do it

Step 1 Trace and Cut

Use the kit's template to trace a circle onto a piece of scrap fabric. If the template has an inner circle, make sure that you’re tracing around the largest part of the template. Then use the scissors to cut out the traced piece of fabric.

Step 2 Place Fabric

Place the piece of fabric on top of the kit's mold, then place your button shell on the fabric, directly above the mold. Make sure that the smooth, curved side of the shell is facing down. Make sure the button shell is perfectly aligned with the mold before moving to the next step.   

Step 3 Push and Secure

Push the shell down as far as it will go into the mold. Tuck in the fabric edges and attach the button back. Use the kit's pusher to secure the button back to the shell—this step requires a little bit of force! Once the button back is attached, remove the button from the mold.

Step 4 Repeat for Additional Buttons

Repeat this three-step process for all remaining buttons. You may find it easier to trace and cut all of the fabric pieces at once, and then jump into the button-making process. The workflow is simple enough that you can customize it to best fit your needs.

Step 5 Attach Buttons

To attach tufted buttons to a headboard, bench, or other upholstered project, first mark the location for each button. Then use an upholstery needle threaded with twine or florists wire. Push through the upholstery, attach the button, then stick the needle back through the upholstery. Secure the twine or wire, and repeat for all of the buttons.  

Step 6 Optional: Cover a Button Without a Kit

On a budget? Covered button kits can get pricey—especially if you need to tuft a large number of buttons. For a cheaper alternative, just cut a piece of fabric slightly larger than your button. Sew flat seams around the edge of the fabric, place the button in the center of the fabric, and pull the thread tight. The sewed edge will cinch tightly and you’ll be left with a covered button. This method isn’t as fool-proof or pristine as a kit, but it will work in a pinch.  

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