DIY Upholstery Fabric Covered Buttons – Tips, Tricks and Hacks to make them EASY and STURDY

Using a store bought kit to make your own perfectly matching fabric covered buttons for your project sounds easy, right?  Well, it’s not, Pollyanna.  UNLESS you have these hacks, tips and tricks to make it SO much easier {and to make them last FOREVER so you never have to worry about them popping apart or the fabric coming off}.  These tips and hacks are especially helpful if you are trying to use thicker or upholstery fabric.  I’m gonna drop some wisdom on you so hard and you’ll be able to sleep better knowing for durn sure, “These buttons aren’t going anywhere.”

DIY Upholstery Fabric Covered Buttons - Tips, Tricks and Hacks to make them EASY and STURDY - Do it Yourself Step by Step Tutorial via Dreaming in DIY #upholsteredbuttons #howtomakefabriccoveredbuttons #fabriccoveredbuttons #buttoncoverkit #buttoncoverkithack #fabricbuttonstutorial #buttonhack #upholstery #easyupholstery

DIY Upholstery Fabric Covered Buttons – Tips, Tricks and Hacks to make them EASY and STURDY

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I’m overhauling my craft/sewing/guest room and just had to make a fun diamond tufted custom headboard!  I was full of false hope and excitement when I saw this craft cover button kit.  I was like “Easy Peasy – this will be the quickest part of the entire project!”  Wrong.  So wrong.

DIY Fabric Covered Buttons Tips to making them extra sturdy - Kit Contents #upholsteredbuttons #howtomakefabriccoveredbuttons #fabriccoveredbuttons #buttoncoverkit #buttoncoverkithack #fabricbuttonstutorial #buttonhack #upholstery #easyupholstery

Don’t get me wrong – it DID end up being easy and I ended up with THESE beauties that will NEVER, and I mean NEVER come apart or have the fabric come off:

DIY Upholstery Fabric Covered Buttons - Tips, Tricks and Hacks to make them EASY and STURDY - Do it Yourself Step by Step Tutorial via Dreaming in DIY #upholsteredbuttons #howtomakefabriccoveredbuttons #fabriccoveredbuttons #buttoncoverkit #buttoncoverkithack #fabricbuttonstutorial #buttonhack #upholstery #easyupholstery

But not because the directions on the packaging will in any imaginary or real universe work or help you keep your promise to not cuss today.  That was painfully annoying and didn’t hardly work AT ALL.  Especially with thick upholstery fabric.  It gave me flashbacks to the time I made ten gabillion “campaign buttons” when my brother ran for 7th Grade President.  He won, btw.  I know you were on the edge of your seat there….  Anyway – a few tweaks, and THIS button making project was smooooth sailing.  Grab these simple supplies to make this SO EASY on yourself:

  • Gorilla Glue (I like these single use tubes since the lid will glue itself shut when you put it away.  Every. Single. Time.)
  • a bottle of Mod Podge
  • a little paintbrush {Feel free to steal it out of your kids’ watercolors.  You need to teach them some life lessons anyway, so this is actually multi-tasking}
  • a Paint Stir Stick (free at your local hardware or home improvement store usually!) or a wood scrap you have hangin’ around your garage.
  • Your Hot Glue Gun or a strong, quick drying glue/adhesive maybe like some Super Glue?
  • Your trusty Hammer
  • Your liar, liar of a pants on fire Craft Cover Button Kit

Tear open the box of your cover kit and immediately hot glue or super glue your little blue pusher to a paint stick by the flat side of the pusher (you need the open part exposed so that you don’t squish/flatten/destroy your shank back of your button back piece):

DIY Fabric Covered Buttons Tutorial and Tips - Glue Pusher to Paint Stir Stick #upholsteredbuttons #howtomakefabriccoveredbuttons #fabriccoveredbuttons #buttoncoverkit #buttoncoverkithack #fabricbuttonstutorial #buttonhack #upholstery #easyupholstery

This is going to be your new best friend and will save your poor little thumbs so much anguish!

Here’s your new IMPROVED kit:

DIY Fabric Covered Button Kit HACK Tutorial and Tips to make it easier and keep the fabric on for years via Dreaming in DIY #buttonkithack #fabricbuttonshack #coveredbuttonkithack #howtouseabuttoncoveringkit


The extra blue pusher is from another kit.  I needed two to complete my headboard.    Now trace your fabric with the template provided so that the design you want to SHOW is in the center.  You are going to only trace and cut out the outer circle.  I used a “disappearing ink” pen I have for quilting – but you do you:

DIY Fabric Covered Buttons Tips to Make them Sturdy and Perfect - Trace fabric

Now paint your Mod Podge on the front and edges of your button shell:

DIY Fabric Covered Buttons Tips to make it easier and make them sturdier to last longer

DIY Fabric Covered Buttons Tutorial - Mod Podge the tops before centering on fabric

Place it centered on the “wrong” aka back – aka ugly – side of your cutout fabric circle:

DIY Fabric Covered Buttons Tutorial with Tips - Center on Fabric after Mod Podge

And push it as centered as possible into the plastic mold fabric side down:

DIY Fabric Covered Buttons Tutorial with Tips - Push Down into Rubber Mold

Fold the excess fabric all inside the button shell as flat and squished in there as possible and add a dab of your Gorilla Glue:

DIY Fabric Covered Buttons Tutorial and Tips to make it easier

Then on the INSIDE part of your shank button back apply a generous {but not insane}  amount of Gorilla Glue to make sure this thing isn’t going ANYWHERE:

DIY Fabric Covered Buttons Tutorial with Tips - Gorrilla Glue the Inside of the Back of the Button

DIY Fabric Covered Buttons Tutorial with Tips - Gorrilla Glue secure the back on the buttons

I apologize for some of the crappy/blurry pictures.  I was using my phone because I wasn’t really planning on creating an entire post about making the buttons.  Until they made me and my thumbs sad.  I figured I’d save you my “learning curve” trials and give you some MacGuyver fixes to skip the sad/cussy part.   Anywhoooo…. So then press the glue smeared shank back into the mold and center it with your finger as much as possible:

DIY Fabric Covered Buttons Tutorial with Tips - After Glue Center with fingers on mold with Button Front

Then getcher fancy new improved PUSHER that’s glued to the paint stir stick and hammer that sucker in there real good:

DIY Fabric Covered Buttons Tutorial with Tips - use Stick with Pusher and Hammer in the back in mold

Here’s how nice and neat it turns out if you are working with fabric of a NORMAL thickness:

DIY Fabric Covered Buttons Tutorial with Tips - Finished Back of Button

But if you are using thicker, upholstery fabric, it will not be as neat and securely STUCK on there so it’s SUPER IMPORTANT that you did the Gorilla Glue steps above.  You might even want to take it one more step like this and paint some Mod Podge on the back so that the fabric edges are really in there and won’t even THINK about fraying or separating out.

DIY Fabric Covered Buttons - Extra reinvforcement - paint Mod Podge adhesive on the back

I mean – once you have any completed upholstery project – the last thing you EVER want to do is to have to take the thing apart and replace the freakin buttons!  Amiright?  So now you can sit back and bask in their completed beauty.  See how the Gorilla Glue expands and bubbles out a little bit?  You know that’s gonna be SECURE, buddy.  MAKE SURE to wait 24 hours so that the Gorilla Glue is REALLY good and dry before you start ganking on them completing your project.  

20160904_131802 (2)Aren’t they fantastic and all profesh looking?

Do It Yourself Fabric Covered Buttons Tutorial and Tips to make it easier to use the kit and make them last longer #upholsteredbuttons #howtomakefabriccoveredbuttons #fabriccoveredbuttons #buttoncoverkit #buttoncoverkithack #fabricbuttonstutorial #buttonhack #upholstery #easyupholstery

I can’t wait to finish the headboard after MY 24 hour drying period is up!

Make sure to PIN THIS IMAGE where it’s handy for your next upholstery project that needs BUTTONS to match! 

DIY Upholstery Fabric Covered Buttons - Tips, Tricks and Hacks to make them EASY and STURDY - Do it Yourself Step by Step Tutorial via Dreaming in DIY #upholsteredbuttons #howtomakefabriccoveredbuttons #fabriccoveredbuttons #buttoncoverkit #buttoncoverkithack #fabricbuttonstutorial #buttonhack #upholstery #easyupholstery

Make sure to sign up for our email list so that you are notified as SOON as my headboard is done so you can check it out.  It’s gonna be fan-freakin-tastic.    In the meantime – happy creating, friends!

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  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am quite frustrated at trying to use the kit. I will try your method tomorrow. ?

  2. Great post. Wish I had seen it 3 days ago. 15 of my 29 covered buttons popped off when I was securing them to my tufted headboard. I finally did buy some gorilla glue, but failed to glue the shanks. I lost a few more because of that. Finally finished. I sure hope these critters stay put, but if not, I’ll use your method. Thanks a bazillion!

  3. Agh! I just tried using the kit with my thick velvet upholstery fabric for a couch I am restoring, and I got so frustrated that I took the kit back! Thank you for sharing this – I’ll go back and repurchase the kit, plus the gorilla glue, and try again, using your method!

  4. So glad I bumped into this, been dealing with these things for 40 years…., duh..never thought to glue them. And you are sooo funny! Thank you for posting this, getting ready to do a chair so it’ll be a snap now. Thank you again.

  5. Now THAT was what they used to call “truth in advertising”… and so so funny!
    Over they years I have done everything from wedding and prom dresses to rv upholstery and chair refitting — and NOTHING I have ever read on the internet has ever been so up front and refreshingly honest. It actually inspires me to do some other new project, just knowing that I am not the only one who has trouble with these supposedly “easy-peasy” tasks! Great job!

    1. Thank you so much, Dotti! I’m sure you’ve got tons of great tips you’ve “McGyvered” up over time with all of those fun projects. It’s my favorite thing about the internet – people sharing their work around fixes! 🙂

  6. Wow! I’ve had the same trouble with those craft store button kits. And the pro covered button machine is sooooooo expensive. Luckily I have a friend that has one. Can’t wait to see your headboard!! There is a store on Etsy where you can get good upholstery supplies for your projects called UpholsteryMania. They have really good batting!!

  7. I was struggling to cover 22 buttons with a heavy velvet. I found out there is a pricey machine that upholsterers use that cuts fabric and makes sturdy buttons in seconds. I called an upholsterer that I had used a few years ago and he volunteered to make them for me. It took him about 5 mins… no charge! He even loaned me a special cutting tool that you attach to a power drill to hollow out the foam for better tufting. Even if I had to pay for the buttons it would have been soooo worth it!

    1. That’s great info, Marianne! If I ever take on another big upholstery project with THICK fabric, I might look into it. It’s just that I truly love figuring out how to make all the things myself! 🙂

    2. I’m making the buttons for my upholster cause he won’t do it so you were very lucky.

  8. Great post! It really bugs me that there are two options for upholstery buttons: 1) cheaper-than-cheap Dritz or 2) $150 professional button maker. THERE MUST BE A MIDDLE GROUND!

  9. I can’t for the life of me figure out how many buttons I’m getting in this kit and what size they are?

  10. HI!

    I’m facing the battle of buttons! I’m using leather vinyl looking fabric and I’m really thinking it might be to think but argh I wanted a leather headboard!
    Any who I’ll try gluing the fabric to the button like you said and maybe adding a touch of supper glue just to keep the fabric in place while I get the button back down.
    Its really been frustrating because I’ve been trying to build my own bed and nothing seems to be going right for this project. The buttons were supposed to be the easy part. Ha, easy yeah right. The package lies!!!

    Thank you for posting this I hope it helps because I have like 96 of the suckers to do and I’m beginning to seriously doubt this project.

    1. That’s exactly where I was. Don’t give up! These tips work wonders and you’ll be so glad you pressed on… in spite of the liar liar pants on fire button kit. 🙂

  11. Love this post. Informative and entertaining! I spent the evening struggling with one button and thick upholstery fabric. Glad to know it wasn’t just me! I need to cover 48 buttons, on a couch I reupholstered and thought by the time I finished the buttons the couch would be outdated. I will trying this tomorrow.
    Thank you for posting!

  12. Did you ever wonder why the company who makes the button kits doesn’t make extra large ones just for this purpose? They have small and large, just add another size…duh! Great tip, one which I’ll use, but SO MUCH MESSY WORK. sheesh!
    First time on ur site, have joined up

  13. I’m soooo glad I found this post! Making two tufted cushions for a built in seat in our basement, and screamed at the navy velvet fabric I’m using more than once! I tried the pusher on a stick with a hammer and poof! Perfect buttons. Thank you!!

  14. Dear Gawd. Where was this post last week when I made 50, yes FIFTY, buttons for my tufted upholstery project, only to have them start popping. Now I have to do them all freakin’ over, wasting button twist, Dritz button kits, and yes, my TIME. Usually, after a few fails, I usually come up with something like this, but not this time. Alas. Thank you!

  15. I know this post is 2 years old, but holy cow your idea for an ‘enhanced pusher’ saved the day!! I’m making a velvet headboard for my kiddo, and wanted it to have some matching buttons. The dritz kit worked with persuasion!

  16. Oh Mm Gee!!!!! Thank You So much! I wasted WAY to much time trying to get these…lots of cuss words…things to work. I even went back to the store trying to find ones for heavy fabric still no luck. I wish I would have asked for help so way earlier

  17. Hi there! I enjoyed your button diy and 90s beast of a furniture piece maker over diy!! Did you complete the headboard?? I’d love to see it and definitely would love a diy for how to diy a tufted headboard!! Thanks!

    1. Hey, Alli! I did complete it and it turned out so cute. Love that you saw that 90s beast makeover! I didn’t take pics of the process for making the headboard because I was still angry with the buttons. They are still hanging in there and look perfect to this day! What are you working on?

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