Dry sawdust, when mixed with cooked flour paste, is an inexpensive modeling material. It is unlike clay modeling, since the sawdust does not stick together and is not pliable. It must be pressed lightly into shape. Avoid details. When dried and painted, the articles made are interesting in texture and form.

Form the beads

Figure 23. Form the beads over a nail or a toothpick.

To one cupful of cooked flour paste, add one table-spoonful of prepared mucilage or glue. Mix in as much of the fine sawdust as the paste will take up.

Figure 23: Young children can make beads by pressing balls of the sawdust mixture over nails or toothpicks. The beads will crumble if they are not pressed together firmly. Little animals, candlesticks, and Christmas tree ornaments can be made. Buttons and costume jewelry make nice gifts at Christmastime. The little rabbit in Figure 24 shows how to model a simple form with few details. Marionettes of this material are durable and quickly made.

The modeled forms should be allowed to dry slowly. After they are completely dried, the roughness should be sanded off with fine sandpaper. Transparent water colors, show-card paints, or enamels may be used to decorate the articles. They may be shellacked or varnished to make them waterproof.

Printed Designs

The patterns of nature are lovely. Cross-sections of fruits, vegetables, and plants reveal intricate designs of rare beauty. Simple printed designs may be made on cloth or paper by dipping a cross-section into ink or paint and pressing it upon the surface of the material.

The design in Plate LI I was made by a six-year-old child. She used a cut okra pod. When the pod is cut at an angle, a different-shaped design is made. The okra pods should be used before they have dried.

A rabbit modeled of sawdust

Figure 24. A rabbit modeled of sawdust.

In Figure 25, a section of a corncob was used. Apples also have an interesting flower form.

Potatoes are often cut and designs carved on the surface as with a linoleum block. Sweet potatoes are better than white potatoes for this purpose because they are not as moist and do not shrink as much. The details of a potato stamp are shown in Figure 26.

A design printed from a cut

PLATE LII. A design printed from a cut okra pod.

Figure 27 illustrates an ink pad made of a folded cloth, saturated with writing ink or show-card paint for printing on paper. Gift wrapping papers, book covers, stationery, menu folders, and party place cards can be decorated in this manner.

Ordinary house paint, enamels, printers ink, oil paint, or textile paint should be used on cloth. To make an ink stamp pad as shown, place the paint between a fold of cloth and press the ink a little at a time through the top layer of the material. After the ink is dry, make the color fast by steaming it with a hot iron. (It is not necessary for enamel to be steamed.) Spread a newspaper on the ironing board. Place the design face down upon the paper. Lay a cloth dampened with water or white vinegar over the back of the material. With a hot iron, steam the design for one minute. Remove the cloth and iron the material until it is dry. Luncheon cloths, handkerchiefs, curtains, and head scarfs can be decorated in this way.

A design printed from a section of corncob

Figure 25. A design printed from a section of corncob.

A stamp made of a potato

Figure 26. A stamp made of a potato.