Friday, June 28, 2013

How To Make Antler Buttons

People have created buttons from deer antlers for centuries, so what I'm about to show you is not unusual. I like to use natural (antler and rock) buttons in my knitting and jewelry. Creating antler buttons is not a complex process, but it does take time. The finished product provides a rustic touch to any creation.

Materials Needed:

Deer antler
80- and 120-grit sandpaper
Band saw or coping saw
Drill press
1/32-inch drill bit
Eye protection


  1. Put on your eye protection.
  2. Using the band saw (outside), slice a cross-section of antler. Try to make the cut as clean as possible.
  3. Sand the face of the button and round the edges, first with 80-grit sandpaper, and then with 120-grit sandpaper. Note: it is easier to sand the button face while it is part of the antler.
  4. Make a second cross-section cut to remove the button from the antler, approximately 1/8 inch.
  5. Hold the button with pliers as you drill two holes with the drill.
  6. Again, hold the button with pliers as you sand the other side of the button.
Tips & Warnings: Make your buttons outside; deer antler has an unpleasant odor while being cut and sanded. The finished button will not have a scent.


  1. You can get a nasty upper respiratory infection from breathing in the dust. It's advised to wear a mask when cutting, grinding or sanding antlers.

    1. Excellent point to add, thank you!

    2. Ive been told that if you boil the antlers for 20 min, they become very pliable and can easily be sliced with a knife but there is a small window of time to be able to do this before they harden back up. You can even bend and twist them to form a different shape when they harden. I haven't tried this but plan on it, I will post my results.

  2. Nicole- I have a high end Men's Knitwear Company that is using Antler buttons. I saw your photos from this blog post when searching on line and fell in love with them. Would you be okay with us using the photo to show the types of buttons we use? Thanks!

    1. Thank you for asking. What is your knitwear company? You are welcome to use the photo.

  3. It is called "Averton". The best place to see us is on Instagram @avertonknits. We are a bunch of industry veterans who are empassioned to produce the best Men's Knits that will be made in American and sourced almost wholly in America (unless we are using Tweed or Cashmere). Anyway, we are getting ready to launch the site and wanted to show examples of some of the things we'll be doing. Thanks for the quick response and you have a gorgeous Site/Blog! p.s- I'll have the team credit you for sure!

    1. Great, thank you! If you send me the link when it's up, I'll share it as well. Cheers.

  4. I posted a picture of antler buttons on one of my Pinterest boards and a friend of mine initially thought they were little pig noses! I think antler buttons are so cool. In fact I started carrying a line of handcrafted lamp shades on my site primarily because I loved the way they are decorated with antler buttons.

    1. That's hysterical! I'll have to go check out your lamp shades...


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