The beginner will no doubt content herself to produce only such work in one shade; with more experience a variety of shades may be attempted. Those having more practice will not be satisfied with these alone, but after the bouquet or garland is finished in different shades, will by means of carefully spattering the separate leaves, seek to bring out a fine shading and thereby produce a more perfect work; in this case, the entire design, with the exception of the part of the leaf to be shaded, must be covered with paper, after it is perfectly dry, so that the color is not distributed further than the part desired. Through this later and more difficult work the whole is brought out with a plastic effect from the surface, while on the other hand the separate layers of the leaves removed would appear flat and monotonous in their extensions.
Lastly, the pen is taken, and what the foregoing process does not supply, is put in by hand, to complete the work. Take the same color, only thicker, and draw in the veins, and if necessary the entire outlines, to bring out the work more boldly. This being finished, the cleaning of the utensils should not be overlooked. The dried leaves place carefully in the herbarium, the brush and sieve wash thoroughly in water, the finished article allow to dry in a room (not too warm), and after a day or two the varnishing and polishing may take place, in order to give it, aside from durability and practical purpose, a more brilliant finish and higher value to that which has been accomplished with such care.
Varnishing and Polishing. Procure a bottle of "wood varnish," prepared expressly for the purpose. This should be applied to smaller articles, as its peculiar properties make the polishing unnecessary. This varnish is applied by means of a soft flat brush, in a room entirely free from dust, and of warm temperature; the brush strokes should be made from the center of the article towards its edges, and according to its shape. Repeat from six to eight times. Flat articles more readily take the polish than round ones. Before putting on the separate coats, the previous one should be thoroughly dry. After the last coat is dry, apply a little powdered pumice stone, by means of a moist pad, and make the uneven places in the varnish smooth by rubbing. When a perfectly smooth surface is obtained, (this manipulation is omitted in varnishing articles that are turned, because unnecessary), then apply the varnish once more in the same manner, for the last time, and the article will thereby obtain a glossy wood polish. This is left in a temperate room, free from dust, for two days, when it will be thoroughly dry and hardened, and ready to be turned over for the object it is intended. As before mentioned, we advise this method only for articles of small compass. Tables, etc., we advise to have finished by a regular furniture polisher, for the smooth finish cannot be accomplished by an amateur. It is easily conceived that by this process really wonderful effects may be produced, when the artist has taste, and devotes care and time to the work.
Sprinkle Work on China. It may not be generally known that the same effects as produced on wood can also be produced on china ware, the manipulation being slightly different. Instead of water-colors, the ceramic or enamel colors are used, (Dresden or LaCroix). They come in tubes, in a moist state, and are diluted with spirits of turpentine, with a few drops of oil of anise or cloves. Those doing both wood and china sprinkle work will do well to secure an extra brush and sieve, which are to be had separate from the outfit boxes, and use these for the mineral colors only. The leaves and grasses are fastened by means of dissolved gum arabic, being careful to scrape off any particles of the gum that may adhere to the china after the leaves have been removed, before sprinkling over the blank spaces. When the leaves are placed upon the article singly, and the desired shade is produced, lay it in a warm place, over a register if possible, and the leaves will come off as the gum separates from the ware, when the sprinkling may be resumed, and the proper shading given to heighten the effect.
Veins are drawn in with a crowquill pen, but the color must be properly mixed to prevent it spreading. Really beautiful decorations can be made by using ferns and maiden hair to ornament tiles, flower pots, etc. If the leaves, such as the maple, and others that grow bright with the first frosts of autumn, are to have their natural tints, the piece is taken to be "fired," which fastens the background, so that their colors can be washed in without fear of injury to the groundwork. The most useful colors for monochrome work in the Lacroix colors, are the following: Brown, No. 4 or 17, sepia, brown-green No. 6, dark green No. 7, Victoria blue, and violet of iron. If the Dresden colors (Mailer & Hennig's) are used, which are preferable on account of their rich and soft appearance, the following are recommended : Dark brown No. 30, chocolate-brown No. 36, sepia No. 28, olive green No. 11, shading green No. 10, and dark blue No. 13. When the work is finished, take it to the china decorator and have it "fired."
It is not necessary to use the best French china for sprinkle work, as it is almost entirely covered with color.
Ladies who do not paint on china,but desire something different from the ordinary stamped work, that is all that can be had in decorated ware for common use, will find this an easy and delightful way of ornamenting the white ware with some favorite flower or fern, and so have something original, and that can be readily duplicated, should any piece be broken, one of the objections to the stamped sets being the difficulty and expense in replacing odd pieces.
To those affected by the odor of turpentine, we would recommend the use of Hancock & Son's Worcester moist and water-colors for china.
Faience. Ivory white and other soft wares will answer, and the result will always be a pleasing one if a little care is taken in the execution of this branch of decoration.