Whether you’ve made a sweater, a phone cosy, or jewellery, sometimes you want to add a button to your yarn project and run into a problem… For a perfect match, it’s nice to use the project’s yarn to attach the button – whether that’s to minimise ends to weave in, or just give a polished look. But, while it’s fairly easy to find a button with holes big enough to fit the yarn through, it’s very rare to find a button that has a hole large enough for both the yarn (doubled) and the eye of a yarn needle!
Below, I’ve shown an example (from a Crochet Braid Bracelet, pictured above). The hole on this shank-backed button is just large enough for my yarn to fit through, but the yarn is too floppy to push through the hole. When I try, it either bunches up and refuses to go through, or separates into plies.
The simplest trick is to wet the end of the yarn to keep the plies together while you thread the end through the buttonhole – the same technique as licking your sewing thread before you thread a hand-sewing needle. But sometimes that just isn’t enough, and with a long buttonhole like this one and/or a close fit, the yarn is still too floppy to make it right through the buttonhole.
There’s just no way to get that yarn through that buttonhole… Or is there?
Yes there is! Here’s the magic, you need to stiffen the end of the yarn before you thread it through the button, so it’ll act like its own needle and pass easily through any buttonhole that’s large enough to fit a single strand of the yarn.
The easiest way to do that is with basic white craft glue, and here’s how to do it:
- Squeeze a small drop of white glue onto the end of the yarn.
- Using your thumb and fingertips, press and roll the end of the yarn to distribute the glue through the fibres of the yarn. For threading normal buttons, you only need to dampen about 1/2″ (1 or 2 cm) of the yarn with glue.
- Twist the wet plies together by rolling between your fingertips in the direction of the twist of the yarn, to hold the plies neatly together.
- Press the tip of the yarn gently between your fingertips to form a nice rounded point (see above photo).
- Leave the glued yarn to dry for a few minutes (while you wash/rub the glue off your fingers) – although, if you’re impatient, it doesn’t need to be perfectly dry to work!
- Thread your yarn through your buttons as desired.
- Snip off the hardened end of the yarn with scissors.
Easy! It works the same way as the plastic-coated ends of your shoelaces: compressing the yarn into a tight, stiff point that can pass easily through the hole. This method also works on embroidery floss, crochet cotton, or any other type of thread you want to pass through a small hole.
Bonus tip: You can also use this technique for stringing beads onto yarn or thread where the bead hole is too small to fit a doubled strand of the yarn – perfect for bead crochet, or even stringing children’s necklaces!
I hope you find this helpful next time you’re trying to feed yarn through a buttonhole (or bead) – it’s a handy little trick.