Today we will talk about the celluloid button. This necklace is part of an ensemble “Deco Drama” that I just finished. The base of the necklace is a vintage French ombre ribbon, ruched, with a silk cord stitched for the tie. As you can see celluloid was definitely the theme here, using many of my favorite types of celluloid button.
Celluloid was invented in the 1870’s and was one of the most versatile and the first of the man-made plastics. This lightweight material is thinner than Bakelite, though some of the same techniques could be used such as molding, stamping and machine tooling; but unlike Bakelite buttons they could also be created by pulling, hollow blowing, and extruding. The coloring of the celluloid button was often more diverse than that of the autumn and vibrant coloring of the Bakelite buttons. The versatility of celluloid made it extremely popular with manufacturer’s, however the serious drawback to this material was that it is flammable! For further reading may I suggest a book I use frequently: Button Button Identification & Price Guide by Peggy Ann Osborne.
Here are a series of bracelets that feature vintage celluloid, Bakelite and glass buttons. I made these over the summer using simple sewing techniques and materials so that the buttons would shine as the stars that they are!
- The first bracelet base is vintage picot edged grosgrain ribbon. The buttons that I used are celluloid “glow bubbles”, tight-tops and a few brown Bakelite.
- The second bracelet base is vintage cotton grosgrain ribbon. The heart shaped buttons are Bakelite and the cream colored buttons are celluloid.
- The third bracelet base is taffeta ribbon with a strip of grosgrain ribbon stitched down the center. The incredible green buttons are vintage celluloid “glow bubbles” and the black buttons are carved celluloid.
This last bracelet is made using grosgrain ribbon and an old measuring tape. These were woven together and backed with interfacing. I then stitched vintage glass, celluloid and Bakelite buttons for decoration. I stitched snaps down for the closure.
This brooch was made to be worn with “Melon Balls“ jewelry ensemble and Hat, which is made using a variety of vintage and new buttons and beads in colors of melon and black.
The pin boasts a lovely display of “buffed celluloid” buttons. I just adore the black and tan combination. It took many years to collect the right sizes and colors for this brooch. The ribbon worked flowers are made from a vintage ribbed cotton ribbon and the leaves are from a taffeta ribbon.
The ribbon buttons and flowers are attached to florist wire wrapped in sating ribbon, and sit in a vintage jacquard ribbon vase. A pin back is stitched to the back of the vase.