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How to Craft Yarn Dorset Buttons

Yarn Dorset Buttons are a fun crafty idea that anyone can make. No knitting required! I love that it’s both a yarn stash buster and an upcycled craft project.

These yarn Dorset Buttons look great on knitted items, as well as a way to spruce up old fashion items. A purse, jacket, sweater, pillow… the possibilities are endless.

In my example demonstrated below in both my video and photo tutorials, I am using three different yarn colors to best show off the three different steps: Ring Wrap, Spider Web, and Backstitch Weaving. Of course, feel free to use three, two, or even just one color of yarn for your buttons.

Dorset buttons decorated with yarn.

MATERIALS for Yarn Dorset Buttons

The Dorset button originated in the 18th century in Dorset, England. At that time, they were made on a disc cut from the horn of a Dorset Horn sheep, which was covered with needle-worked thread. But today, we are going to use recycled metal rings and scrap yarn. Something old is new again… and super cute!

My samples were created with split key rings and bulky weighted wool yarn. Feel free to use any sized rings and yarn for your creative project.

  • Yarn – Any stash yarn of your choice
    Sample: Worsted Weighted Wool Yarn Cascade Superwash 128
  • Rings of Any Size – Split Key Chain Ring Clips work great
  • Tapestry Needle
  • Scissors

Stork crane scissors, key rings, and a tapestry needle.

Key rings held by hands.

CRAFT TECHNIQUES for Yarn Dorset Buttons

Slip Knot 
• Blanket Stitch
• Backstitch Weaving
• Tying


WATCH VIDEO TUTORIAL to Make Yarn Dorset Buttons


3 STEP INSTRUCTIONS for Yarn Dorset Buttons

Step 1 – Ring Wrap

Begin by cutting a length of scrap yarn about 26″ and thread it through your tapestry needle.

Crane scissors cutting green colored yarn.The split key rings work perfectly for this project because they easily hold your yarn in place during this first step. If you’re using just a regular ring as your base, go ahead and hold the short yarn tail down with your finger.

Adding green yarn to a key ring.

Work the blanket stitch all around your ring. Bring your tapestry needle up through the ring and over, then thread it down and through the resulting yarn loop. Keep repeating this blanket stitch, making sure to wrap over that yarn tail to help keep it securely in place.

Hands winding yarn around a key ring with tapestry needle.
Winding green yarn around a tapestry needle.
Adding green yarn to a key ring.

Once you’ve completely covered your ring, thread your yarn through the knots a couple times to secure it, then cut it off.

A yarn button created with a key ring.

The knots from the blanket stitch will be on the outside of your ring. Using your fingers, gently guide them to be within the inside of your ring instead, so the wrapped yarn is on the outside.

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Step 2 – Spider Web

Cut a second piece of scrap yarn to about 20″ in length.

A dorset button with strands of yarn.
Adding new yarn to the dorset button ring.
Adding a slip knotted yarn to a key ring.

With it, create a Slip Knot from the center of your piece of yarn.

Place your ring within the slip knot.

Wrapping yarn around a key ring to make a dorset button.

Wrap your yarn ends around the ring to create a total of 8 equilateral radial spokes from the center, wrapping and tying your yarn off in the back.

The two strands of yarn tails can be used to hold your new button in place for the next step, as well as sew the button in place onto your selected garment.

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Step 3 – Backstitch Weaving

Cut the third piece of scrap yarn to about 20″ to length and thread it through your tapestry needle.

Work the backstitch to weave this third strand of yarn through your spider web spokes.

Starting close to the center, begin by wrapping your yarn over the spokes.

Using a tapestry needle to weave yarn around the key ring.
Weaving yarn to make a dorset button.
Using a tapestry needle to weave yarn into a dorset button.

Then, round and round, go back over the one spoke and under two. Repeat this process until your ring is full of stitching.

When you have finished weaving the yarn to your satisfaction, fasten the yarn in the back with a few stitches and knots.

Clip off the yarn tails from the third strand and you are done!

Weaving in yarn with a tapestry needle.
A small pair of scissors cutting yarn from the dorset button.
Dorset Button created with yarn.

THANK YOU FOR VISITING STUDIO KNIT

I hope you are inspired to make dorset buttons in your next craft project. If you’d like even more great knitting ideas, please make sure you join my mailing list. Subscribing to my YouTube channel Studio Knit is another easy way for us to stay connected and help support my work for free.

Happy Knitting to You!

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