It is wise to have a dust-sheet spread over the dining-room table to avoid any chance of spoiling it, and the spirit lamps should be set on small trays or plates. The guests are invited to seat themselves, presented with a supply of sealing-wax, and asked to try their hand at making a hat-pin. To the maker of the pin which, at the end of the afternoon, shall be judged the best and most artistic will be given a prize. Anyone with clever fingers and a good eye for colour will get really beautiful results.
A Simple Hat-pin
To make a hat-pin, melt the wax and dab it all over the head of a pin, and model it until it is a perfect round. Then hold the head close to the flame to restore the gloss. Be careful not to touch it again until it is cool. Pretty effects can be gained by dabbing a number of colours on the head and then running them all one into the other. If only one colour is used, such as rose or turquoise blue, it looks well to scatter spots over it in gold or silver wax. To do this, heat the point of a pin, put it in the gold or silver wax, and just touch it on the finished head. Then fuse it near the flame. In appearance the result will resemble a Venetian bead.
This is the simplest form of hat-pin; but, if cork is used, more elaborate shapes can be made. Cut the cork to the desired form with a very sharp knife. Then smash the head off a common hat-pin with a hammer, and thrust the end into the cork; the wax will hold it firm. A "very pretty pin made in this way is shown in the illustrations.
First the cork is covered with amethyst wax; then a raised edge of silver wax is put on all round. For this the wax is pulled out and rolled, and then reheated bit by bit, the pin being held near the flame while it is pressed into position.
The Blue Bird and Other Fancy Pins
The " blue bird," another charming design illustrated, also is modelled in cork. The point of a hat-pin can be used for marking the feathers.
To make the large, flat, round pins which now are fashionable, the pins would have to be prepared before the party. The head of such a pin is made of a wooden button mould. The thick end of a steel pin, after the head has been broken off, is put into the hole in the button and kept in position by seccotine. The large surface of the button affords considerable scope for decoration. It is a great improvement to stamp on it a design with some small metal object, such as the fancy top of the screw used in a small curtain-rod bracket, or a seal may be used.
A couple of contrasting shades of wax, mauve and turquoise blue, with some silver are used together in the pin of this description seen here.
How to Prepare Surfaces for Wax
If a little variety is wanted for a sealing-wax party, guests may be asked to bring their own objects for decoration, and any number of useful things may be made, such as buttons, buckles, lace-pins, brooches, necklaces, hairpins and combs, and trinket-boxes. To do an imitation tortoiseshell pin a very fine covered wire must first be twisted over its head, or the wax will chip off as soon as it is dry. A side-comb must also be prepared for taking the wax by having a piece of soft thread bound round and round the top. When making cross bars on a metal buckle, or a raised rim on a wooden box, the wax must be rolled on to a fine covered wire to make the work lasting, and then applied in the same manner as the edge on the cork pin. In putting a design like the little central boss shown on the small round box, the design is first made in the twisted wire and then covered and modelled in the wax.
While making buttons, the shank of the button should be held between a pair of pincers in the left hand, and the modelling done with the right. The round polished gilt or silver buttons are very pretty for blouses. And flat gun-metal buttons with a rim can be made into a charming set for a gentleman's waistcoat. With regard to buckles, any old worn-out one of metal will suffice, and will be completely transformed when covered with wax. A delightful brooch can be made from a little gilt safety-pin that can be purchased for sixpence. An uneven lump of blue wax on this will have the appearance of a piece of turquoise matrix.
Some charming examples of the possibilities of sealing-wax in the form of a box, buttons, lace-pins, a brooch, and a buckle
Sealing -wax enamelling is not difficult, but it re-quires some patience,and, where a design is to be put on a flat surface, great care should be taken to see that that surface is perfectly smooth before the decoration is begun.
Novel vet simple designs for hat-pins in sealing-wax. The centre design is that of the "blue bird " now so popular
As in all other handiwork, practice alone will make perfect; but a neat, quick hand, guided by the artistic eye, will quickly fashion the most effective decorations for various small objects, such as lids of trinket or stamp boxes, pin - trays, and for the touch-ing-up of any worn enamel. The beauty of this work will be found to depend greatly upon the excellence of its finish.