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Custom Ponies for Little Piggies

March 14, 2011

One of the first things I fell in love with when I found Etsy, were covered button hair accessories.  I loved that I could use a 1.5″ button and vintage scraps to make a chic pony maker for myself, or use fun whimsical bright scraps and make them for my girls.  They love pony tails and sometimes two large bows, are a bit much for this mama.  But you still want something cute to help them look pulled together.  I also loved that it was an inexpensive hair accessory I could customize for their wardrobe.  When I made my first couple of sets, I used this tutorial, and it is still my preferred method for making covered button pony makers for adults and older girls with thick hair.

For toddlers and little girls whose hair is fine and wispy a small back pony maker from the hair accessory isle is likely too big when doing pony tails or when you’re only pulling  small section of hair up and way from their face.  So I decided to test using the mini clear elastics by Goody.  They work like a charm!  They are  a bit small for adult fingers to manipulate with the button attached, but the sure look cute on pigtails!

Here’s how to make the covered button and attach an elastic of your choosing (so you can use the same button in different thicknesses of hair, or so the ponymaker has a chance of growing with your daughter).

You’ll need to start with a covered button kit.  The kit includes four, 2 piece, aluminum buttons and a two part plastic tool (the white and blue plastic pieces in the top right corner of the above picture).  I’ve used lots of different brands.  I tend to purchase them when wall notions go on sale a the local fabric shop.  Walmart carries them, as does Hobby Lobby.  Here I’m using a 7/8″ or size 36.   You’ll need sewing scissors and scrap pieces of fabric roughly 2″ square (you will need a larger square of fabric if you are using a larger button).  It’s good to start with a small all over pattern like a stripe, polka-dot, checks or tiny flower print, for your first couple.  Once you get the hang of it you can try fussy cutting a design — flower, bird, heart, etc. – from the fabric to center on your button.  On the back of the covered button kit will be a half circle button pattern.  It is specific to the size kit you purchased and will be very helpful in insuring you cut a large enough circle of fabric to cover the button.

You will also want a small square/scrap of lightweight interfacing.  This helps prevent the metal from the button showing through your fabric as it gets stretched across the button.  Layer the fabric (wrong side up), interfacing and domed button on work surface.  Make sure the button is centered in the circle of fabric and place inside the white plastic tool.  You may need to give it a firm push to insert it.  Then carefully tug on the fabric edges to insure the button is centered and no major shifting happened while inserting it in the tool.  Tugging will also help to prevent puckers and folds in the fabric when the back get’s snapped into place.

Once your satisfied you’ve gotten the fabric where you want it, tuck all the edges into the center, place the button backing (has the shank) on top and place the blue took piece on top and press firmly down until you hear the button back snap into place.  Viola, you have a fabric covered button ready to insert an elastic into!

Below are pictures showing you how to attach the elastic.  This black elastic is the small skinny kind.  The large skinny kind will also work since the band width is about the same.  If you want to use larger bands, go with the tutorial I linked too above.   You might find a tooth pick or a pair of tweezers helpful when trying to get the elastic through the eye of the shank.

The mini clear elastics are attached in the same fashion.  Because of their size, they can be a bit tricky to insert.  They also don’t tend to stay tightly secured like the black elastics do until they’ve been worn a time or two, so be careful.   

Here are the pony makers I made the toddler for Valentine’s Day.  You can see how you can take a single small motif from a fabric print and showcase it on the center of your button.  It takes a little practice, and some aren’t perfectly center, but they are still super cute in her hair.

So now you can make your own cute ponymakers OR you can convert the uber adorable ones on Etsy in fabrics you could never find or it would be ridicules to do so to make two, so your wee little one can wear them and show off her cute hair and her cute buttons and not the huge black elastic that’s twisted a thousand times around her tiny little pigtails!!

By the way, if you’re looking for a cute t-shirt to craft this week to go with green pony makers, I have two tutorials to share.  Maybe you’ve seen them?  This one uses fun green scraps of fabric cut into hearts to make shamrock appliques.  I’m in love with it’s simple cuteness.  But if the thought of using a sewing machine between now and Thursday is more than you can handle (I completely understand, and I love to sew!), than this glitter-t is right up your alley!  Enjoy!

I’m linking up to some other great collections of projects, recipes and tutorials. Have fun browsing them.
Hope Studios Tutorial TuesdayM.M.M @ C.R.A.F.T.CraftOManiac Monday *   Mad Skills TutorialsIt’s Sew Fun Tuesday

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2011 12:42 pm

    These are so adorable! How clever!

  2. March 16, 2011 11:22 am

    Good idea! I am going to have to make some of these!

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