Everyone has their own "technique" for building clusters. Here's mine...and I just adapt this general guide to whatever type of block I'm working on.
First...I like to have texture if possible to put my cluster on. A doily, or scrap of lace is my favorite...a place for the cluster to rest. This adds more interest to a cluster...because the rough texture of a crochet doily or a piece of lace makes a great contrast to the smooth surface of the flat buttons used in the base.
Second...the bottom layer is a group of flat buttons. These are placed in whatever shape I'm wanting to mimic on the block. A long trailing line of buttons...or a circle...an oblong...a triangle. This is where I start to work the general shape of the finished cluster. All of the buttons are stitched down at least three times...more if there is room for the threads...and then on the fourth (or last) pass of the thread...I like to add tiny seed beads. These add more contrast...and interest...AND, have the added benefit of hiding those ugly little holes and thread stitching.
Third...the next layer goes above the flat buttons...and is a selection of shank buttons. They sit by the sides of the flat buttons...and the flat buttons serve to raise them up...and hold them in place. Again, they are stitched at least three times...more if possible. Each button is knotted off at the back...whether or now I travel the thread. Each button is securely attached...so, no wobbling!
Fourth...a layer of surprises. This can be beads, sequins, crystals, ribbon roses, plastic flowers, etc. Something to add a bit of whimsy or just a little glitz is great. But, just a little "surprise" is fine too.
Clusters don't have to always be buttons...they can be acrylic flowers, silk flowers, charms, etc...just remember...more texture is good...more contrast is interesting...and keeping to a general theme will unite the grouping.
Can you spot the layers in these clusters?
Doily...Flat leaves...Textured Ribbon Flowers...Beads and Charms
Snippit of lace...Acrylic Flowers...smaller flowers to fill-in...beads and crystals
Doily and lace snippits...Silk petal flowers...ribbon roses...cat charm
Lace motif...flat buttons and flat sequin leaves...shank buttons...cabochon and jewelry pieces...and a pig charm because the owner collects pigs! (Hugs, Thearica!)
Tatted doily and lace snippets...flat buttons...shank buttons...porcelain roses and jewelry pieces...charms, beads, and crystals. Added a little turtle charm for fun!
I hope that seeing my "technique" will help you if you have problems creating clusters that you like...or will just inspire you to stitch. Hugs...and hope all of the USA followers have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow!
I'll be taking a mini blog vacation...and eating too much...and hopefully taking a nap! The favorite past-times for the USA on Thanksgiving! (Oh, and football of course!)