Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fabric-Covered Button Hair Ties {a tutorial}


Have you ever explored the world of fabric-covered button hair ties on Etsy?  I’ve spent lots of time admiring them and even bought several kinds for my daughters.  But I wondered, how could I make them myself?

Actually, it’s quite easy!  All you need to purchase is a button covering kit from Joann’s or your local sewing store and some hair elastics.


Picking the kit is the most intimidating part of the entire process, which one do you choose?  There are so many options!  I suggest going with either a 3/4” or 3/8” button covering kit for your first go-around.  They retail around $4 for the most basic kit that includes 3-5 buttons depending on the size you pick.  More elaborate kits come with shank backs and blank backs.  Just remember, you will need a kit that has shank backs, so check to make sure the kit says “shank backs” or has a picture of them and that it is NOT a refill kit.


So you’ve got your kit, your scissors, a marker, and scraps.  You’ll also need hair elastics.  I prefer the larger circumference thin elastics.  You can also use the thicker elastics, but that involves removing the wire from the shank back, which I’ve never had much success with.  The smaller or larger circumference thin elastics are easy to use.


The most recent kit I bought did not include a plastic template for cutting the fabric.  Instead, the pattern was on the cardboard back of the case.  Cut out this template.


The plastic template on the left is included in some button kits.  I recommend this over just the paper template.  I’ll show you why.


I tried to line up the semicircle over the center of the red turtle I want centered on the button.  After tracing, I flipped the template over and traced the other half of the circle.

And here’s what my circle looked like.  Not too bad, but the turtle isn’t exactly centered.


If you can find the kit with the plastic template, you can dead-center the turtle in the middle of the template easily.  Trace around the outer circle.


Here’s the difference.  The top circle was made with the paper template, the bottom circle was made with the plastic template.


Now the fun part, find the two parts to your button—the front and the back.


You can see here the front of the button fits snugly in the mold.


Insert your fabric right side down and press in the smooth side of the button top.  Fold in the excess fabric.  No gluing is needed.


Then press your back into the mold so the shank is on the outside.  Grab your pusher…


…and press hard.  It might help to do this on a flat surface so you can put some weight into it.


And voila! A fabric covered button will emerge when you push it back out of the mold.


Now the easy part!  Pick an elastic and thread it through the shank.


Pull one of the loops through the opposite loop.  It doesn’t matter which side you pick.  Pull tight.


And now you have a custom fabric-covered button hair tie!  You can make a pair if you wish.


Have fun looking through your fabric to see what other small prints you can use to make more.


Then make as many as you can for your daughter, granddaughter, next-door-neighbor’s daughter, person at work’s daughter, cousins, birthday party favors, etc.

When you decide you want to make even more, take a look on Etsy.  You can buy large volume refill kits for a fraction of the cost at a conventional store.


If you have any questions about the tutorial, just leave a comment or send me an email.


  1. Very cute... I got some coverable buttons in a bag of vintage sewing goodies from the thrift store. I might have to get to work on some hair bows. Great easter basket project.

  2. Great timing on this post! I was just thinking about doing something like this with the button kits I have. Love the little turtles :) Bet the girls love them too!

  3. I love the cute buttons that you made for them. I'll bet the girls are thrilled with them too.

  4. Super cute! I love the prints you used. I will have to buy a button kit, and make some for my nieces! Easy little gifts to send to make them love their auntie ;)

  5. Sweet! I don't have a daughter, but I could make some grown-up ones for myself, right? :) Thanks for the tutorial! You make it look so easy.

  6. Cute idea! I bet your girls love these.

  7. These are lovely, I feel a trip coming on to my local sewing shop. Thanks for the tutorial.

  8. How fun to pick out different fabrics for such a cute, custom hair tie!! Thanks Jamie:)


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