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|How to make a faux ivory/bone horn
I was introduced to a faux ivory technique in a Tory Hughes workshop a long time ago. I highly recommend taking a class from her if you get the chance.
I've modified the technique a bit. This technique takes advantage of the properties of translucent polymer clay, mimicking the striations seen in bone or ivory. If you do this right, people will have an extremely hard time telling this from the real thing.
- 1 part white polymer clay
1. Mix together equal amounts
of champagne & white to make the ivory color. You should now have equal amounts of ivory and translucent. (Do not mix these together.)
|2. Make an ivory and a translucent log. Wrap the translucent log in an ivory sheet. Wrap the ivory log in translucent. Reduce and lengthen until each log is doubled in length.
|3. Cut each log in half and recombine, maintaining alternating color pattern. Repeat the reduce, lengthen, cut, recombine process (about 4 to 5 times) until you can barely see the color variations.
|4. Now reduce the cane until it's about the thickness of a finger; cut a 3"-5" segment. Stroke and roll one end of segment until the end tapers to a point. Gently curve the tapered end. Note: The key to mimicking bone or ivory is to make sure not to allow the striations to twist or blend while reducing and shaping your workpiece.
5. Place pre-baked and/or raw clay pieces on the horn. You can also emboss, imprint with stamps, etc. Smooth away fingerprints, unwanted marks, etc. Place in cool oven, warm to bake and allow to slowly cool.
Baking will exaggerate the difference between the opaque and translucent clays. The striations will really stand out!
|6. Start with wet/dry sandpaper (approx. 240-300 grit), sand your piece under a stream of water. Next, use grits 400, 600 and, optionally, higher grits. If a water flow isn't your choice or not available, dip the piece and sand paper into a pan of cool water frequently. Let piece completely dry.
|7a. Using carving/gouging tools such as lino cutters or Xacto tools, cut or etch patterns into the horn. After completing all designs, smear burnt umber acrylic paint all over, making sure to get paint into all crevices. Cover the back, front and all sides. While the paint is still wet dry wipe off the excess. Let dry.
|7b. The paint will adhere alright by just applying and letting it dry. It will adhere much better, however, if you bake the item for about 10 minutes after applying the paint.
8. Very lightly sand the entire piece underwater again, using the 600 to remove the desired amount of paint. The finer the sanding, the higher the shine when polishing. I prefer stepping all the way up to 1000 grit when I want a deep rich shine.
Let piece dry completely. Then polish using a cotton or muslin polishing disc until your piece has a high shine.
polymer clay with a bench buffer
The polishing disc rotates at a very high speed. There are several things you should do to help improve your safety and prevent problems.
Polishing polymer clay using a variable speed Dremel
Have a great polymer clay day. ;-)
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|Last update to this page: 25 Aug 02. Send comments, questions or suggestions to Desiree McCrorey.