Friday, February 26, 2010

Things that "R GOOD 2 KNOW": Celluloid Buttons

Celluloid was invented in the 1870’s and was one of the first and most versatile of the man-made plastics. Even though celluloid is a thinner material than Bakelite some of the same techniques could be used to create items such as molding, stamping and machine tooling. Both celluloid and Bakelite plastics were used to make buttons, jewelry and other household items such as cutlery, telephones, bathroom essentials and more.

Today we will talk about the celluloid button, as you can see in the necklace “Deco Drama”, I really love celluloid buttons! The base of the necklace is a vintage French ombre ribbon, ruched, with a silk cord stitched for the tie. As you can see celluloid was definitely the theme here, using many of my favorite types of celluloid button: molded, tight-tops, French Ivory, glow bubbles, buffed and pierced.

Celluloid was a thinner plastic, and detailed shapes could also be created by pulling, hollow blowing, and extruding. The coloring of the celluloid button was often more diverse than that of the autumn and vibrant coloring of the Bakelite buttons.

This bracelet is made using vintage glass,celluloid and Bakelite buttons; these are stitched to a base of grosgrain ribbons and an old measuring tape.

Here are a series of bracelets that feature vintage celluloid, Bakelite and glass buttons. I made these using simple sewing techniques and materials so that the buttons would shine as the stars that they are!
  • The first bracelet base is vintage picot edged grosgrain ribbon. The buttons that I used are celluloid “glow bubbles”, tight-tops and a few brown Bakelite.
  • The second bracelet base is vintage cotton grosgrain ribbon. The heart shaped buttons are Bakelite and the cream colored buttons are celluloid.
  • The third bracelet base is taffeta ribbon with a strip of grosgrain ribbon stitched down the center. The incredible green buttons are vintage celluloid “glow bubbles” and the black buttons are carved celluloid.
The versatility of celluloid made it extremely popular with button and clothing manufacturer’s, however the serious drawback to this material was that it is flammable! For further reading may I suggest a book I use frequently: Button Button Identification & Price Guide by Peggy Ann Osborne.

These buttons should not be stored in a closed glass or metal container because the fumes from the components that create the plastic will smell. Celluloid has a tendency to become brittle, so do not put these buttons in the dryer. If you need to clean celluloid try rubbing with a soft cloth or an old toothbrush to remove debris and to polish the surface. Celluloid buttons can have a variety of shanks such as self and metal; you will find many other plastics have celluloid shanks glued to the button because it was a less expensive material.

Thank you for letting me share somethings that "R GOOD 2 KNOW" with you. Christen

Monday, February 15, 2010

And The Winner IS.......

And the winner is: Bluebird and Elizabeth, @ Yeah to you!

I want to share my profound thanks to Lisa the whimsicalbohemian, for organizing this wonderful event. I enjoyed flying around the airwaves visiting people in far away countries, in my country and even in my own state.

Thank you to each and everyone who flew their magic carpet to my doorstep, and each and everyone who left wonderful, encouraging and creative comments!

Take care each of you, even though the ride is over, I will still stop by and say hi through the year, and look forward to seeing you next year.

Much love, Christen

PS: I do have a few of these pincushions left in my Etsy store, if you want to take a stop over and see them!