Wax Art was supposed to have reached the height of perfection many years ago, but since the invention of the various machines for cutting and molding designs into form from wax, the rapidity with which the work is executed, and the endless variety of artistic productions in wax art, it is evident perfection has not yet been reached, and we are led to believe it susceptible of attaining a still higher degree of excellence. The reason of its being taught so little during the past few years is owing principally to the fact of its simplicity since the use of molds and cutters, so artistically arranged that the form of any desired leaf or flower may be chiseled out at will, from the varieties of colored wax before you.
Nothing in fancy work excels the art of making Wax Flowers for interest, amusement and fascination. Only a few tools are required. A good eye for colors and a little taste in arranging them. There are two distinct methods. First, -
By Molding Them. All tubular flowers must be made by molds, viz: Calla lily, lily of the valley, iris, morning glory, scarlet cypress vine, stephanotas, and all other flowers tubular or labiated. A good set of wooden molds, carved carefully, is the best, but any lady can prepare her own molds in the following manner. Get your flower fresh as possible, and stand it in water to give it perfect strength. Fix a little pasteboard box, or any small cup shaped box; prepare these yourself with strips of pasteboard, some larger or smaller, just according to the size of leaf or flower you intend to mold from; mix the finest dentists' plaster paris, (practice alone can perfect one in the proper consistency), and pour it into the flower, having enough mixed to fill it and cover every little part of the flower, let it remain until hard, tear off the flower, and you have a perfect mold, every little vein and impression perfectly taken. With a sharp knife trim off all ragged edges and superabundant plaster, leaving your mold small as possible, and lighter to handle. These leaf molds are much better for all uses, even for sheeted wax flowers, than those metal molds that cut the wax, and never give the fibrous look needed for a natural looking leaf. The lily of the valley needs a wooden mold, the flower is so delicate a plaster mold cannot be made.
Preparation of the Wax for Molded Flowers. These recipes are of the times of our great grandmothers, who kept a few bees in their gardens, making honey from the fields of sweet clover, the apple and other fruit blossoms in the spring of the year, and buckwheat patches in the summer. The wax was brown, and they bleached it by melting it, clarifying it by selecting the whitest, running it off in thin sheets, and laying it in the hot sun to bleach. All bleacheries do this on a larger or smaller scale.
After bleaching the wax white as muslin, you can make your parlor mantel ornaments of it.
Keep a set of tin cups for your different tints of wax, your white cup being the largest.
To Mold a Calla Lily. Have ready a basin of hot soap suds, strong as possible of soap, and hot, so that your lily will be smooth, not lumpy or bubbly. Melt your wax by setting the tin cup in boiling water, as glue is melted. To every pound of white wax add a tube of Winsor & Newton's flake white paint, dissolved and thoroughly mixed with one tablespoonful balsam fir, or Venetian turpentine, and half table spoonful of dissolved gum mastic, the whitest possible. This is a good recipe for sheeting wax for your own use, and will be given below in preparations for sheeted wax flowers.
Your liquid being thoroughly mixed in two cups, your white and yellow chrome cup, the yellow prepared exactly like the white, only yellow chrome paint substituted for the white tube paint; your molds all prepared by standing soaked in the hot soap suds, you commence with the yellow cup, dipping your spadix mold, or the center of the lily, in the yellow cup, making as many spadix as you wish to make lilies. After finishing dipping spadix, you take your white cup and large mold, dipping once and letting it cool a moment, and then immersing the second time, to give a double thickness to the heavy portions of the flower.
A hundred lilies can be molded in an hour.
The stems of wire can be prepared next. Fasten the spadix to the stem, and slip the stem through the hole at the bottom of the molded flower, then with a brush dipped in the hot green cup solder the whole together, spadix, stem and flower.
All molded flowers are made exactly alike. All tools dipped first in hot suds for every flower, after in the hot wax. It is well, as a rule, to make all white flowers first - afterward, the colored flowers.
All variegated flowers are painted with, a brush, using Winsor & Newton's moist water colors. All yellow flowers, like Thun-bergia, spadix of lilies, etc., by dipping in the yellow cup. A scarlet cup for scarlet flowers, blue for blue flowers, rose colored for roses, Naples yellow for sofrano and tea rose tints.
All roses and double flowers are made of separate petals molded and joined together afterward.
All large leaves should be molded, and all small leaves, all dipped in the green cup.
Your green cup is made of all your refuse colors melted together, and the tube green tint added. Never use any darker tubes than No. 1 chrome green. Your olive and other tints are made by the refuse tints thrown in from the drippings of red, yellow, purple, and odd tints.
Directions for Sheeting Wax. To every pound of bleached wax, after dissolving thoroughly in an outer crucible of hot water, add 1 oz. balsam of fir, or Venetian turpentine, in which dissolve a little resin, white or mastic. If white wax is desired, one and one-half tube Winsor & Newton's flake white paint should be added - yellow, orange or rose, and just what other tints are required. All sheeted wax by machine is first molded into square blocks or bricks, and the machine slices off the sheets. But these machines are expensive, and no lady cares to have one who only makes wax flowers for pleasure.