Make a button and string card trick - simple sewing tutorial

I've wanted to sew a puzzle for a while now and finally I've done it!
This simple button and string trick is easy to make and is a fun puzzle to challenge your friends to solve!  
It would make a great novelty gift too - perfect for a stocking filler at Christmas!

The idea is you have to take the buttons and string off the card, without untying the string from the buttons.
So from this..

To this..

Here's how to make your very own string and button trick!

First cut 2 rectangles of fabric and 1 of stiff interfacing 
(I use buckram) 15 x 8 cm (6 x 3.25"). I used denim and a coordinating fabric, but you could just cut 2 rectangles of the same fabric - any will do.
You will also need string (or cord/embroidery thread) and 2 large buttons.

Pin the three rectangles together with the fabrics right sides facing and the interfacing on the outside.

Leave a gap in one side when you pin and stitch. You will need this to turn the fabric right sides out.

Stitch around the edges where you have pinned, then trim close to the seam and the corners.

Turn the rectangle right sides out and press flat, making sure to push all the edges and corners right out.

Top stitch around all four edges to close the gap and neaten your rectangle.

Now you will need a coin that is smaller than your buttons.
My buttons were 2.5cm (1") in diameter, so I used an Australian $2 coin.

Using a pencil or chalk, draw around the coin in the centre near the bottom by a shorter edge of your rectangle.

Now place a pin in the fabric just above the circle you have drawn. Measure up 8 cm (3.25") from that and place another pin there.

Now using a very tight zig zag or the applique setting on your machine, stitch all the way around the circle, and then two very long 'buttonholes' going up the rectangle on either side of the circle.
For these buttonholes, just stitch a long tight zig zag line, a wider zig zag at the end, then another tight zig zag line just alongside your first.
You should end up with this.

Use a seam ripper to open up the long button holes, 

and then scissors to carefully cut the centre out of the circle.

Now your card is finished! Time to add the string and buttons.

Cut a piece of string around 40 cm (15.5") long. 
Thread it through both buttonholes and then through the circle like this.

Then thread the ends of the string through the buttons and tie securely. Trim off the ends.

That's it! Your button and string trick is complete! Now see if you can remove the buttons and string without untying the buttons!

For the solution - a printable PDF that you could include with this in a sealed envelope if you gave it as a gift - 
is available by clicking here

Or the free downloadable PDF of this tutorial includes the solution sheet too! You can find that by clicking here.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

For more sewing tutorials for making all kinds of things, for all levels of sewing abilities, why not visit 


  1. Thanks so much Mich! Fun to make and great to challenge people with!!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.