I have all these toilet paper tubes collected, and I was trying to think of something to do with them. I looked around my studio for stuff I maybe don’t use that often. And there it was: my Ranger Melting Pot.
I decided to make a suncatcher, and after a few test runs, I was on my way.
I used the roll as rings to mold the melted plastic. I just cut and straightened them. I had to glue down the occasional flappy bit.
Next, I wanted to color my UTEE. After several failed experiments, I, uh, looked up how I was supposed to do it. Well then.
You put some UTEE in a cup, add a drop or two of alcohol ink, and mix until the color is distributed. You can’t put alcohol ink directly in to melted UTEE because, hello, flammable!
I put everything on a silpat, which left neat cross-hatch pattern. I used a chopstick to hold my mold down while pouring.
Sorry, no pictures of me pouring. The Melting Pot is a very awkward tool, because it should be difficult to lift molten liquid. But I did get pretty colors.
I used scissors to trim any escaped UTEE, and then to trim the mold flush with the plastic.
Next, the outside of the ring got a coat of paint. I used Distress Paint, mostly because the dauber was handy for this project.
I used a hot wire knife to carefully poke holes in either end of the piece, and added jump rings.
Next, a little beadwork. This took the longest, because of course I had to choose tiny, tiny beads. A loop on the top, then just piece to piece, with about an inch in between each.
For the hanger, I stained a chopstick (I love chopsticks) and whittled down the ends so they would fit these handmade beads from my pottery days.
I cut a little groove in the chopstick where each string would go. I slid on each string, and added a dab of glue. I needn’t have bothered, because the glue didn’t stick. Didn’t matter, as the strings don’t move much.
I added some ribbon with a loop tied in the top, and behold, pretty thing!
I love the imperfect look of this, and especially the pattern from the silpat.
Amazing bat photos taken by a very patient man.
Via Art of Darkness.
In the latter half of the 19th Century, the fad amongst young ladies was to create a “charm string” or “memory string” of 1,000 buttons. There were two schools of thought: the first said that when you collected 1,000 buttons, your Prince Charming would appear. The other said that the Prince himself must string that last button, and if you collect it accidentally, you will be a spinster.
Charm strings were kept in the public rooms of the house, because the buttons were supposed to come from others–friends and family–or by trading. You couldn’t buy a charm string button.
Each button had to be unique, and shank buttons were much preferred.
Beginning the string with a large “touch button,” girls collected the most striking buttons they could find. Paperweight, colored glass, embossed metal, and myriad others.
It is rare today to find an intact charm string. As is the way with things that require the continued attention of a teenager, most were not finished. Many have been removed from their strings to be collected or sold separately.
I already have my Prince Charming, so I consider myself free of the stricture against buying buttons. Here’s the beginning of my own charm string. It is a mix of Victorian and mid-20th Century moonglow, for which I have a weakness. With only 16 buttons, already it has a lovely heft. I’ll let you know if anything interesting happens when it’s finished.
Oh, and feel free to send me pretty buttons. Shank only, please.