We completed this wall about three months ago. During construction of the new studio/classroom, Patrick got the idea to cover the entry in buttons, and we set out to find what we guestimated we’d need, a couple thousand. We still don’t know how many we ended up using because we replenished about four times, then hit up everyone we knew for their extras, but we figure there are closer to 6,000 buttons on this baby.
As we conceived it, I was insistent on maintaining a neutral palette. Patrick snuck in a green or red or blue one here and there when I wasn’t looking, but as you can see, they don’t scream. We knew if we painted the wall behind them a darker color, they’d pop more, so step one required a coat of brown paint. I decided to paint the other wall brown, too, but I might re-paint it white . . . still deciding if it looks too choppy.
We acquired most of our buttons from Etsy—a number of different vendors—so we mixed them together in an antique dough bowl I have and started the process of applying them—one by one—with Liquid Nails. An hour in for each of us, we realized this was NOT going to be a one-day project, so we picked an audio book and hunkered down, actually find the process kind of meditative. Within a couple hours we knew the 900 I had purchased initially weren’t going to do it, so—before running out—I ordered more, 2000 more, thinking we’d have plenty (remember: I am not too mathematically inclined). A week later, Patrick ordered another 2,000. I felt like a farmer with seeds, saving a few hundred each time, to blend with the new, so the wall wouldn’t look striped. We also worked randomly, gluing buttons wherever the spirit moved us to.
It’s funny how most people instinctively reach out to touch the wall the first time that they see it. Because the Liquid Nails did the job and keeps them locked in place, we watch people reach for the wall and encourage them to keep going.