Sunday, January 3, 2016

Easy DIY Button and Bead Elephant Nursery Wall Art

I hope you all are having memorable, happy holidays with family and friends! With that said, obviously I was just a little too busy this holiday season to get any blogging done. With work, festivities and the hustle and bustle this time of year brings I'm lucky if I even get to sit and let it soak in for five minutes. 

Don't worry though I was doing plenty of crafting, creating and renovating in between the ol' job, festivities and sleeping. Today I'm going to show you one of the projects I managed to slip in between the chaos.

As you all know I just love making my own wall art to decorate my house. So naturally I would want to create some for my family and friends too! When one of my super sweet coworkers announced the she was expecting her first baby (it's a boy!) I knew immediately what I wanted to give to her: a button elephant.
Sounds exotic doesn't it? On one of my Pinterest adventures I spied one of these adorable framed button elephants and ever since then I wanted to try to make one. Here's one of my favorite elephant pins by busted button that I was inspired by.

I started crafting this elephant with the intention of just making it and giving it as a present, no tutorial. But when I was finished I couldn't help but post an instagram pic of my finished product and one of my wonderful followers asked if I had a DIY post about it. I swear I always do this to myself. The projects I don't document are the ones that people really want to see!

Lucky for me I did snap a couple cell phone pics of the process. So while the pictures aren't the greatest, I'll do my best to write a tutorial anyone can follow on making a button elephant.

I asked my friend for paint samples from her baby's room so that I could match my wall art to the space. She was doing a grey-blue and grey scheme in the room. Just perfect for a grey elephant. I gathered products I already had and purchased the rest of my supplies off of eBay. I am not a button hoarder (as of yet ;) so I bought a small lot of grey buttons of varying sizes and I also picked up some grey toned beads (to fill in the gaps) for $3 all together. Here's the break down of supplies I used:

Button and Bead Elephant Supplies

  • Buttons of varying size, of the color of your choosing
  • Beads to fill in the gaps, of the color of your choosing
  • Canvas (I used 8x10)
  • Empty frame to put around the canvas
  • Hot glue gun
  • Small tools to help place beads (tweezers, guitar pick, container etc.)
  • Time
I used an 8x10 canvas and rifled through my frame stash for a frame that would slip right onto the canvas since it worked out so well for my kitchen spoon art I figured I'd give it a go for this project. I found one that I had purchased at Salvo complete with price tag that said $1.79. I mixed some paint up and color matched the blue to the baby's room and painted the previously brown wood frame to a sweet baby blue.

By then I had received my buttons in the mail (if you don't want to purchase buttons on eBay they have packets of buttons at Walmart and craft stores in all the colors of the rainbow). I laid them out on the counter just to see how easy it would be to make an elephant shape out of buttons. It was not difficult at all. Here's a cell phone shot of my first attempt.

I then laid them all out on my canvas. I used Cory's opinion on how the elephant was turning out because I thought I might be biased and I wanted the finished product to leave no doubt in anyone's mind that it was indeed an elephant. At first I wanted to use a black button for the eyeball. Cory put the kabash on that idea. He said he couldn't tell what it was. So I painted one of the buttons white and placed a black button on top for the pupil.

Here's a cell phone pic of my "dry fit" complete with some beads that Cory put squirting out of the elephants trunk.

After I had all the buttons right where I wanted them I simply picked them up one by one and put a dab of hot glue on the back and placed them right back where they were. After all the buttons were glued I got out my beads.

I put a small amount of beads into a Tupperware container to shake out onto my glue. I didn't want any bare spots so I simply piped some glue into the spaces between the buttons and shook beads out onto the top of the glue. Then I tapped the canvas over the Tupperware container to catch any loose beads. I used tweezers, a guitar pick and my fingers to form the glue and beads into the shape of the trunk, legs and back.

I made the tail completely out of beads. I put down a layer of glue and then shook on some beads. I did have to use the tweezers to place the darker beads so the tail would show up.

Here's some pics of the finished project. I love how my button and bead elephant turned out and it cost about $5 to make! It was a very simple project, although very tedious so make sure you have a couple hours set aside to do it.

I like the variety of the buttons and how some are beat up and scratched, like they have a story to tell.

I also made her a little wood sign out of a fence picket to hang above her little boy's door. I'm a little obsessed with hand lettering right now so I'll find almost any excuse to write a cute quote on anything I can get my hands on! This was a free project since I used fence pickets and some eyelets that we already had.

I hope she likes my home-made wall art! While I'm at it I'll give you guys a peek at some of the Christmas presents Cory and I made this year! We decided that since we were a little low on funds this year we would put our talents to good use.

I stained and stenciled a crate for my Grandma and her husband.

Cory and I collaborated and made a cat bed for Cory's 93 year old Grandma out of a crate. This was my favorite Christmas project. I removed a couple pieces of wood, then painted and glazed the crate. Then Cory cut two pieces off one of the boards at an angle, glued them on and used the leftover pieces to make ears for a Cheshire cat he painted on the back. I added feet to the bottom, Cory added finials to the top. I then hand lettered Baby on the front to complete this one of a kind cat bed.

Cory also made a coat hanger for his Mom and Step Dad out of wood from an old deck.

So you see I've been very busy, just not with blogging... I do have tons of posts lined up though ;). Since the hectic holiday season is now over I'm going to get going on all of those! Up next is a bathroom post that I can't wait to show you all!

Until the next time,



  1. You are very talented---your lettering is wonderful! Great ideas!

  2. Thanks so much! I can't get enough of hand lettering, it's quite addicting! ;)


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