Steps to Restoring Antique Buttons

If you are the collector of vintage buttons, there is no doubt you have, at times, felt overwhelmed by the many different ways these antique items can be categorized and restored. My mother recently started collecting buttons and trying to understand the restoration and value process has become quite cumbersome. Restoring vintage buttons, we have learned, should not be a process that is taken lightly as the wrong restoration can result in diminished value.

When my mother began collecting vintage buttons, we decided to use a process in determining how to value and restore these prized antiques. If you are collecting any type of antique buttons, be sure to consider these steps, as well, in your categorization and restoration process.

Inventory Vintage Buttons
First, take inventory of all of your buttons and try to categorize the vintage items based upon the type of material used in creating them. If the button is created from more than one material, then categorize by both materials but file it away in the material that is most predominant.

Role of Jewelers’ Cloths
Metal buttons, in my mother’s collection, were the easiest to identify and begin cleaning. In order to maintain the integrity of the buttons, we decided to use a jeweler’s soft cloth to first polish the buttons and remove any debris from them. Once we used this item on the metal buttons, we quickly found that it works well with all types of button compositions. So, be sure you have many jewelers’ polishing cloths ready to clean your buttons with.

Hard to Clean Vintage Buttons
For tiny crevices in the vintage buttons, it is appropriate to use a soft bristle toothbrush and to gently rub into the area when debris may have built up over time. Never use a hard bristle or a brush of any other type as it may wear down the material composition of the button.

Water should never be used to clean vintage buttons. In very rare cases – as in the case of glass buttons – it can be used but should be done with a great deal of care. Water and mild soap is good for glass buttons but can cause deterioration with most types of products found in older antique buttons. When cleaning a vintage button, think about the items you would use to clean the same composition if it was found in your jewelry or in a larger piece of furniture. Always handle the buttons with care.

Cleaning vintage buttons can be a fun experience as you unlock the hidden style and detail to old buttons made many generations earlier. To ensure you retain the value of your button collection, use these tips to clean and restore the look at shine to your button collection.

Resources:
Vintage Button Resources

More From This Contributor:
Selling Collections at a Garage Sale
Martini Glassware Collections

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