Ever struggle to find the right buttons for your project?

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Whilst I agree there are certain projects that just cry out for something unique and out of this world, in most cases a simple round button will be all it needs. After all, you’ve just spent all that time knitting your project, do you really want the button to be the bit that gets all the compliments? Of course not.

Now, if you’ve read my tutorial about How to Sew on Buttons WITHOUT Sewing then you’ll understand why I’m a fan of shank style buttons. A shank style button has a loop at the back to secure on to your project. It doesn’t have the usual two or four hole arrangement. This is a shank style button:

Shank button from the side showing the loop on the back.

If you’re making lots of baby cardigans for charity like I enjoy doing then you’ll appreciate the life changing miracle I shared in the How to Sew on Buttons WITHOUT Sewing tutorial, and you’ll want to start using this type of button. AND you’ll be interested to know where you can buy them in bulk, AND which ones are better than others.

I’ve rounded up four shank style buttons that I’ve been able to find in bulk and tested them out for you. Keep reading to see which ones I’d recommend, and which to avoid.

Round Black – Highly Recommend

This black round button *(links to eBay) is very simply in design, but this makes it suitable for almost any project. It is made of plastic, which makes it suitable for both machine and hand washing, which is particularly useful for charity knitting that needs to be washed at high temperatures. It is also made in one solid piece, so it is very durable.

It has been a staple in my button collection for a while now. I’ve made dozens of baby cardigans with these and the larger hole size makes it really easy to add on to both DK and aran weight yarns. And it is available in a range of sizes (I use 10mm) and a good 100 piece pack size.

Round Silver Rhinestone – Highly Recommend

This round silver rhinestone style button *(links to eBay) is a bit fancier than the other buttons here but still has the potential to look good on most designs. It too is made of plastic but it isn’t in one piece. The rhinestone is stuck on. However, to date I have had zero rhinestones fall off and so I do recommend it.

This was the first shank button I bought in a bulk quantity, however it’s availability online isn’t consistent and so I don’t always have it available for my knitting when I’d like to.

Round Pearl Button – Recommend

This round pearl button (links to eBay) is a new button I’ve been testing out. It was something new I’d not seen on the marketplace before and it was available in a bulk quantity. This is also made in solid plastic. Admittedly when it first arrived I was sceptical about how well it would hold fabric together. The depth of the hole on the back appeared too wide at first look. And the hole looked too small for a crochet hook and yarn. But the button was too beautiful not to try it.

My first attempt adding the buttons didn’t go very well. The hole is quite small, which wasn’t a problem for my 0.6mm crochet hook, but I was a problem using a fairly splitty yarn colour (Toy in Stylecraft Special DK), so it took me several attempts to get all of the yarn plies through. I did a second test using the same yarn but in the colour Empire which is a much sturdier colour and I had no splitty problems. (Yes different colours in the same yarn range can be different). And, the buttons did prove my initial thoughts wrong and they do hold fabric together quite well. If it wasn’t for how fiddly it was to get the buttons on, it’d be highly recommended, because it does look stunning as shown in the blue jumper at the start of this post.

Round Metal Pearl Button – Avoid

This round button looked very pretty and I was keen to try it out. However, after testing it I would not recommend it. In fact I’m not even going to give you a link to buy it.

My first concern was that the shank part of the button is made from thin metal which has had a hole punctured through it. Inside there are sharp pointy metal edges. Whilst the hole is small enough you aren’t going to cut yourself, it could over time cut through the yarn. With the button then falling off (hopefully not with a baby, toddler or pet nearby) and creating the potential for your knitting to unravel. This was noticeable when trying to add the button on and the yarn would sound like it was getting caught on the insides.

My second concern was that the plastic pearl insert rotated. It was not stuck on in any shape or form. It was held in place by a very short lip in the metal. So short in fact, that on more than one occasion it fell out. On one occasion even after I had added it to a cardigan.

The safety issues of this button far outweighs how good it looks.


These are just four buttons that I have been able to test so far. Whilst I have tried other shank style buttons but they have not been available in bulk quantities and therefore disappear quickly from marketplaces. Whether you buy the ones I recommended above, or buy other smaller quantity buttons, the reviews above will give you a good idea on what makes a shank button successful.

Best wishes, Sam xox

Categories: Knitting


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