Button Tree Project

This project is not only cute, but is awesome practice for sewing buttons!!!  After completing this project you will be a button-sewing pro! 🙂

There are also a lot of different options:

  • you can do the button tree as is with or without the smilie face OR
  • you could draw and outline the tree in embroidery thread, color in the tree with colored pencils on the fabric (I did this on my Snoopy bookmark in the Tracing with Thread post), and then sew on button “apples” OR
  • instead of a tree, maybe it could be a person’s hair OR
  • whatever you can imagine!

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  • lots of buttons!
  • embroidery hoop
  • fabric of your choice (just needs to be big enough to fit in the embroidery hoop)
  • embroidery thread and needle
  • Pilot Frixion pen, fabric marker, tailor’s chalk, or pencil


1.  First, let’s start off by drawing the trunk of our tree on the fabric – you can draw the smilie face now if you want to or wait until you have all the buttons on and do the face last.  Then put the fabric in your embroidery hoop.

Now is a good time to review the backstitch, because that is the stitch we will be doing for the tree trunk. Below is a video tutorial on the backstitch and some pictures as well.  

**Note: if you are doing this project as part of the Teaching Hand Sewing to Littles, don’t forget your thread knotting modifications!

2. Backstitch the tree trunk – first come up on your line, and go down on the line, making a little stitch.  Then come up a little space away, and go back down, going “back” to meet your last stitch. Continue on until you have completed one side of the trunk.

Tie a knot on the back side so that your stitches don’t come out. To do this, on the back, bring the needle under your last stitch, pull through but not all the way so that you have a little loop.  Bring your needle through the little loop and pull the knot closed. Do this one more time to make a second knot, and then clip your thread.

Now complete the other side of the trunk the same way!

3. Now it’s time to sew on some buttons!  Here’s a short video to review how to sew a four holed button (two holed buttons are even easier, just up one side, down the other, up and down, a few times), and some pictures as well.

Decide where you would like to start you first button and bring your knotted thread and needle up through the fabric at that point and through one of the button holes.

Go down in the diagonal hole…

Then up through a hole you haven’t gone through yet…

Then down through the last hole!

Continue on with the next button the same way! (You don’t need to knot your thread between each button, just keep going! Once you start to run low on thread, then you can knot your thread on the back (same way you did with the backstitch!). DON’T SKIP KNOTTING THE THREAD WITH TWO KNOTS ON THE BACK once you get to the end of your thread – or else all your buttons will fall off!!!

Continue until you have put all the buttons on that you want to. Gotta mention it one more time – DON’T FORGET TO KNOT YOUR THREAD on the back!! 🙂

4.  If you want a smilie face and haven’t already drawn one, you can do that now.  Then use thread to make little stitches for the eyes and the mouth, and knot your thread on the back when you are done with the face.

And voila!!! You now have a super cute button tree (or other button creation!) that you can hang on your wall, or even make it into something else, like a little pillow!

Happy sewing!!!

   – Jamie

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