"He was supposed to be turning a beetle into a button, but all he managed to do was give his beetle a lot of exercise as it scuttled over the desk top avoiding his wand."

Beetle Buttons[3] (incantation unknown) was a transforming spell that transfigured a beetle into a coat button[1].


On 3 September, 1992, the second year students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry practised this spell, although very few were successful[1]. Harry Potter was unable to perform the spell because it kept running away from his wand, whereas Ronald Weasley could not cast it because his broken wand continuously engulfed him in foul-smelling grey smoke that obscured his vision and caused him to accidentally crush his beetle[1]. He consequently had to ask Professor McGonagall for a replacement, a fact that she was not too happy about[1]. Indeed, it seemed that only Hermione Granger knew how to cast it, and displayed her handful of perfect coat buttons at lunchtime, much to her classmates' chagrin[1].

Behind the scenes

  • As right before the spell is introduced it is mentioned that Harry forgot everything he had learned the previous year, it is possible that this is taught in first year rather than second.
  • There exists a spell to reverse this transformation.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 6 (Gilderoy Lockhart)
  2. As Harry could't cast it because his beetle kept running away from his wand; this indicates that the wand must be close to if not outright touching the beetle for the spell to work.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter Trading Card Game

Transfiguration (class)
Professors: Albus Dumbledore · Minerva McGonagall
Textbooks: A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration · Intermediate Transfiguration · A Guide to Advanced Transfiguration
Known practitioners: Emeric Switch · Circe · Falco Aesalon · Mirabella Plunkett · Thaddeus Thurkell ·
Transfiguration spells studied at Hogwarts: Chair to cat · Match to needle · Snail to Teapot · Teacup to Rat · Switching Spell · Transforming Spell · Avifors Spell · Mice to Snuffboxes · Beetle Buttons · Rabbit Slippers · Vera Verto · Teapot to tortoise · Draconifors Spell · Lapifors Spell · Vanishing Spell · Owl to opera glasses · Guinea fowl to guinea pig · Hedgehog to pincushion · Small Child to Rat · Meddling Man to Monkey · Crinus Muto
Branches of Transfiguration: Transformation · Vanishment · Conjuration · Untransfiguration