Magnetic Button Cufflinks (with Sugru)

The response to my last post (in which I revealed a new shawl/cape/cardi-thing) has been fantastic and as a result I'm working on the pattern which will be available to purchase soon. While I was binding it off and thinking about all the different ways to wear it, I had the idea to use Sugru* to develop something I've been playing around with for a few years.  (If you don't know what Sugru is, you can read more about it in my previous post.)

The new shawl is enormous and drapes beautifully - it can look like two different types of cardigan depending on how it's positioned, and I wanted to secure the edges together to create 'armholes' so it would feel like a cardigan too. I have previously done this using button cufflinks in my Seafoam design - where there were eyelets and the cufflinks could be used without damaging the knitting. The new shawl has no eyelets along the bottom, so that wasn't an option. This is where the Sugru + Magnets kit came in. I added four wooden buttons and a few little scraps of yarn to make these...

The great thing about them is that they can be repositioned anywhere - not just along the hem, but anywhere you might use a shawl pin - and the magnets are so strong there is very little chance they will come undone unless you REALLY want them to! They work perfectly with this 'garment' and would also suit other chunky designs like Little Bear's Porridge. I know from the comments and messages that followed my last post that many of you are also interested in these, so I've written up the following tutorial.

Before we start, please be reminded that magnets should always be used with care! They may affect pace-makers and sensitive electrical equipment etc and can cause severe damage if swallowed. 

STEP 1: Gather the following materials onto a clean dry surface
  • Sugru + Magnets kit - the kit includes four incredibly strong neodymium magnets and three packs of black Sugru - only two are required for this project, so you'll have a spare
  • 4 large relatively flat buttons, with a distinct 'back' and 'front' - I used Scheepjes 30mm Olive Wood round buttons (available at Wool Warehouse* for 80p each) to compliment the yarn
  • 4 small lengths of scrap yarn to match the project, or in a neutral shade for general use
  • Scissors
  • Handwipes or cloth to clean hands between steps

STEP 2: With two buttons the right way up, and two with the wrong-side up, thread and tie a little of the yarn through the holes. Using the front and back of the buttons this way will help to pair the different sides of the magnets. Be sure to cut the ends quite short as they will add bulk to the cufflinks.

STEP 3: It's time to attach the magnets! They really are strong, so ensure to work with one at a time, and that each finished button/magnet combo is set aside while working with the next one. I made the mistake of getting two out at the same time, and with nothing to hold onto, they were incredibly hard to pull apart!

The side with the little dimple will attach to the smooth surface on the other side of another magnet 

You'll see that each face of the magnets is differentiated. One face has a little dimple, and the other doesn't - these faces will attract to one another. So the two button 'backs' should have the same side of the magnet attached, and the two button 'fronts' should have the other side of the magnet attached, leaving cufflink pairs that will attract and not repel one another.

Each button/magnet will take only half a pack of Sugru. If using wooden buttons, squidge a bit of Sugru into the wood first, then form a pyramid on the appropriate face of the magnet before squishing it into place (pictured above). Even around the sides with your fingers - it doesn't look pretty to start, but can be smoothed out quite easily.

Repeat this so that all of the magnets are attached to the buttons, with two plain faces showing and two of the faces with the little dimple showing. (I couldn't photograph them like that as they are determined to stick together!)

STEP 4: With all four magnets attached, set them aside for 24 hours. The Sugru will turn into rubber and you'll be able to hold onto the buttons to pull the magnets apart and position them on your knitwear.

If you haven't tried Sugru yet, you can sign up to the newsletter using this link, to get 10% off your first order.


*Affiliate links are included in this post. The magnet kit used was supplied by Sugru, and the buttons  were a gift from Scheepjes. All opinions are entirely my own. 

1 comment

  1. This is brilliant! Although I'll have to wait for my notorious not-food eating boy to leave home before I can have a go...


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