Death’s Head Thread Wrapped Buttons

Good evening. I have been working on some thread wrapped buttons following the new online Basic Button Making Course from Gina B Silkworks. There is also a free introductory course covering the Death’s Head Button if you would like to give it a try.

I have just completed the first modules showing us how to make the historic Death’s Head Button. The video instructions from Gina are really easy to follow. I used a variety of threads and worked the wraps mainly over MDF button moulds.

I am going to put all my buttons into a little sample journal alongside details of the threads used and number of wraps needed to fill the buttons etc. This will then give me a good reference when creating and designing future buttons, e.g. choosing threads and calculating wraps for designing new colour combinations and patterns, designing weave or embroidery patterns to embellish the basic Deaths Head.

AW Deaths Head 1b

Here I have tried various sized MDF Button Moulds (25, 20 and 15mm) wrapping with turquoise Cotton Perle 8 thread (Coats).


AW Deaths Head 2b

Next I tried several different threads wrapped over 25mm Moulds; Cotton Perle 5 (DMC), Cotton Perle 8 (Coats), Crochet Cotton 20 (Coats) and a metallic knitting/crochet cord (Anchor Artiste Metallic). The metallic yarn was worked over a 25mm domed wooden mould (from my stash).

The tight twisted crochet yarn was quite tricky to work direct from the spool as the yarn kept twisting up on itself. I found it easier to cut a long length off the spool for working this one. I wrapped twice before each turn to produce the ‘stepped’ effect.

The domed mould was also quite tricky to work. My mould does not have a central hole so it is not possible to use a stick to help prevent slippage. It was not designed for button making but for model makers (plain domed top and flat back). Gina does stock nice domed moulds which would make it easier. To help anchor the threads and stop them slipping I used a needle and sewing thread to hold threads down on the back as I worked.


AW Deaths Head 3b

Next I tried some colour variations using 25 or 20mm Moulds. The top set was worked with blue Perle 5 and a shiny rayon variegated tape. The middle set was made with 2 colours of variegated Perle 5 (blue/purple mix and green mix). The bottom set was worked with another variegated Perle 5. The smaller buttons were worked in a finer Perle 8 in turquoise and lilac.


AW Deaths Head 3c

I then had a bit more play, trying out different colour combinations. The top set was worked on a 25mm mould in pink and navy Perle 12 (Algodon). I used 2 wraps per round to create a stepped effect.

The middle set was worked on my domed wooden moulds using 3 colours of Perle 5. When I was wrapping the centre I made a wider band of 5 wraps rather than continuing the Deaths Head wrap which was tricky to work on my domed moulds.

The smaller buttons (15mm Moulds) were worked with green and white Coton A Broder 25 (DMC).


AW Deaths Head 4b

Next I had a play with different shaped moulds, square and oval. I referred to Gina’s Buttons: A Passementerie  Workshop Manual for additional info on how to work these.

The first set was worked on 25mm Square Moulds using Perle 12 in pink and navy. I wrapped 3 ends per round to create a stepped effect. I think that some weaving would work nicely over these.

I used the metallic knitting cord on the next set. The square moulds are really easy to work.

The small square buttons were worked on 15mm Square Moulds. Again I used the fine Perle 12 and 3 wraps per round.

Finally I tried wrapping on Oval Moulds (30 X 20mm). OMG! These were really fiddly so quite a bit of swearing involved here – tee hee. I found that a thicker Perle 5 was easier to work than finer threads. I wove threads under at the back as I worked to try and stop them from slipping. I also cheated with a little clear drying fabric glue (High Tack Fabric Glue) to finish and hold the threads around the edges on the back. I think that I need a little practice with these.


Extra tools that I found invaluable were the new Circle Gauge Set (for marking out accurate divisions on the mould) and the Button Makers Third Hand and Tool Tin (great for holding buttons while threading the needle to finish).

Well I have really enjoyed making these. Off to do the next module and work some of Gina’s Peace wrapped buttons next xxx.

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