Meet Dalton Stevens – The Button King

Dalton Stevens, from Bishopville, South Carolina, has earned the title of Button King after he spent 15 years stitching and gluing thousands of buttons on all sorts of objects.

The Button King’s story began one night in 1983, when his insomnia prevented him from falling asleep. Back then, television went off at two in the morning, so he had to find something to pass the time. Searching through his old things, he found an old denim jumpsuit and started sewing buttons on it. Two years and ten months later, Dalton was still a chronic insomniac, but his jumpsuit was covered with 16,333 buttons and weighed 16 pounds. Remarkably as that sounds, it was only the beginning of his incredible experience with buttons.

Even after completing his button tracksuit, Stevens kept attaching thousands of buttons on various stuff. He glued 3,005 buttons on his guitar and 517 buttons on his shoes. His banjo, piano and his 1983 Chevette soon followed, and before long, his unique occupation grabbed the attention of the media. He was featured on a local television show, from there on CNN, and pretty soon the entire world knew the story of the incredible Button King. He was invited on popular television shows like Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Geraldo, Regis & Kathy Lee, where he would wear a button-covered outfit and play his banjo.

In 2008, Dalton Stevens opened his Button Museum, where all his button masterpieces are set on display for everyone to see. Here you’ll see his famous Chevette, covered with 150,000 buttons, a hearse donated by a local funeral home, covered with 600,000 buttons (!!!), two button-covered coffins, a public out house covered with buttons, and many other artworks he has created over the years. The museum is located close to his house, on the outskirts of Bishopville, and the Button King, now in his 80s, doesn’t charge an admission fee.

In case you were wondering about those button-covered coffins, Dalton wants to be buried in one of them and taken to the cemetery in his unique button hearse. Yup, the Button King is planning to go out in style.





Photos by Krista Jones at Self-Taught South Carolina

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