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Rejuvenating Old Buttons

I recently acquired a few hundred old buttons. Most of the buttons were in perfect condition, but several were discolored. I tried to clean the stained buttons by soaking them in bleach overnight, but that only whitened some of them.

Next, I tried painting the yellowed buttons with nail polish. The nail polish hid the discoloration nicely and created some very interesting results. I painted three “test” buttons with two coats of nail polish. Then, I sewed them to a scrap of fabric and washed them with a load of towels. The washing machine did not harm the polished finish at all, but after the buttons came out of the dryer, they stuck slightly to the fabric. I recommend that you air-dry garments sewn with this type of button. Now I have lots of new-looking buttons, and I can be creative with the wide variety of nail polish colors available today.

—Kristine Kadlec, Los Angeles, California

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