General info
Lessons & recipes for sev. techniques
.....logs & canes
.....layered sheets (orig. tech.)
Stamping, Molding, Onlay + Creating lines, texture, or images (stamps, carving, molds, sculpting,etc.)
Antiquing ...& finishing
....other ways to stain-finish
Inlays ... chips, wire, etc.
Misc. & other effects
Bone, horn, teeth, etc.
More websites with examples of all types of ivory & bone


General info

When faux ivory is well done, I don't think an amateur could tell the difference from real ivory... when it's not so well done, it still looks really good!

Techniques SUMMARY:
Simulated ivory can be made with polymer clay by simply using a plain ivory-colored clay alone ....but it can look even more realistic and more organic if created with striations in the final result because ivory is actually composed of little tubes or half-tubes which are usually seen from the side when shaped
...the resulting "ivory" is then textured, stamped, carved, molded or etched... or it is shaped or "sculpted" may also have "chips" of real or faux turquoise of other stones, or wire, etc., embedded into it's surface
...after baking, the dimensional ivory is usually "antiqued" in the low areas to some degree... then the higher areas are sanded and buffed to create a surface with a high sheen (not nec. though)

translucent clays and colored clays are used for making ivory:
...any brand of clay can be used (for the translucent and for the opaque cream color.....(or any cream color can be mixed if it doesn't come the exact shade you want right out of the package)
..but, translucent clays of different brands do have a bit of tint in them, which shows up more after baking
.......for example, Sculpey III's translucent is kind of pinkish after baking, which makes a different-looking "ivory" ... see example below in Layered ( might work to add a bit of yellow or yellow-green to the Sculpey III translucent to counter that though?)
.......most people prefer a yellowish or a clearer translucent though, such as FimoClassic or Premo, or Kato

People often ask me which recipe (& colors) they should use to make faux ivory/bone. It takes a lot of effort to convince them that ivory comes in a wide range of colors, from stark white to dark brown, so there is no need for a specific recipe .
.........and as long as the finished item presents some level of striation, people usually think they're seeing some kind of natural calcium material, be it a tooth, tusk or limb. Desiree (though a solid cream color can also be used... if it's also antiqued, it will usually fool the eye too)

The rubbery feel of Kato clay does not enhance the look either (for me, Sculpey has the right final "hard" feel, but in raw form is too soft for me to work with). Jacki
....I just do not like the sheen on the Kato clay for faux natural things such as ivory and bone. Jacki
I agree that Kato Polyclay's finish isn't as natural looking for faux items, although sanding it and then using 0000 steel wool helps a lot. Dotty

Lines and shapes:
...can be cut into the baked ivory with pins, cutters, carving tools
...or raw ivory can be impressed with stamps, molds or other tools (see below in Creating Lines, Texture, Images., + Sarajane's link at top of page).

I felt that Emi's ivory slab boxes (shown on Carol Duvall) used up too much of the precious ivory slab she made to make my ivory go farther, I just cut thin slices from the ivory stack then lay them onto a base sheet of ecru or transparent clay... then I make my boxes from that. Heather

( MORE EXAMPLES of ALL TYPES of IVORY and BONE are below in More Websites )

LESSONS and RECIPES for ivory

Ivory can be simulated in several ways (these are listed from simplest to more complex):
...single-color of "ivory" or cream-colored clay ...often there will be some translucent mixed into the opaque ivory-colored clay as well to give a bit of naturalness and depth
...several colors of clay creating striations (of alternating translucent and opaque parts):
.........using twisted ropes, or clay gun extrusions, or bullseye canes, etc.
.........(the traditional way) using layers of sheets in a stack
.....for striations, the resulting stacks or canes are usually cut lengthwise into thick slabs which are placed tightly side by side


Simulated ivory can be made by simply using a plain ivory-colored clay (the shaped, carved or stamped, etc) and antiqued

Sarajane's barrettes (these are also simulations of "carved".ivory which have been stamped or/textured)
( Group #6 ) and
Jenny Dowde's many examples

(see more below and in Websites)

logs and canes

twisted ropes... (I make ivory using the same method that I also use for striped cloth and wood.)
--twist together and compress rods of ivory colored clay (a one-to-one blend of Ecru and White work well) and translucent.
--Run through the pasta machine so the stripes are perpendicular to the rollers to produce a striped sheet of ivory. (The more compressed and twisted the original rod, the more finely grained the ivory.) I believe Donna Kato uses the same technique. Katherine Dewey

Make a cane composed of many thin clay gun extrusions of translucent and off white (an occasional darker off white is ok)
--reduce the cane by greater than 50%.
--cut it into quarters and lay them side by side again ... press together
--now wrap this (cane with?) into a thin layer of translucent-white mixture, and then wrap with a layer of plain translucent (these represent the enamel layers).

(see Faux Turquoise&Wood > Wood, for other hints on making striated effects with ropes-extrusions, etc... just use ivory-type colors instead of wood colors)

Desiree's lesson on creating ivory with 2 bullseye canes (wrapped logs), laid out checkerboard fashion for the final cane, which she then shapes into an ivory horn pendant (based on Tory Hughes class)
......first bullseye cane is champagne+white clay mix wrapped around a translucent log
......second bullseye cane is the reverse... translucent clay wrapped around champagne+white log
(...Desiree also covers antiquing and carving (and inlay?) and buffing in this lesson)
(...teapotdkny uses this method for her flat ivory pendants, but rolls out a length of the final cane rather than shaping it into a 3-D item)

to use this type of ivory cane
..... for a flat piece of ivory....roll out or press the ivory cane as thin as you want it (...or can also layer a thin large "slice" of it onto a base sheet of translucent to use up less of the cane)
.. for a 3-D item (like Desiree's horn ...reduce the cane to a slightly smaller diameter than you need ...cut off a section about 2/3's the length you are wanting ...shape carefully (for horn, reduce one end into a long tooth shape).
(see more on horns and bone just above)

The root area of ivory (where it was cut off) --and some kinds of bone-- can also be simulated by using the end (or cross-section) of any of these final canes or stacks (rather than using their outer sides)

layered (stacks) --the original .technique

basic lesson:
....make a sheet of translucent clay (see above for diff's between brands)
.........and a sheet of a light cream-colored clay (using equal amounts of white and ecru clays, or an equivalent)
..... (sheets are usually created with a pasta machine --which is quicker and more even, though can be done by hand)
...the sheets are then stacked alternately
...the stack is rolled thinner ...then the long stack is cut in half crosswise and the two halves are restacked on each other.
.........(the rolling/cutting/stacking is repeated until the lines are very thin ...personal choice for how thin)
...finally, thick slices-slabs are cut from the *side* of the stack (the side with the stripes showing)
......the slices are laid on a surface side by side, striations showing ...and pressed together to make a thick sheet
This final sheet of "ivory" can then be cut to any shape desired, or stamped on, etc.

some close-up examples
...Dayle's faux ivory (flat piece + horn... wide irregular striations)... top one mine
fronts... stamped, some areas colored (maybe oil paint before baking?), some pin-cut, some w/ inlays...all antiqued photos show a finished sheet of ivory... created with 7? laid-together strips, cut from the side of a long stack
......original stack is on the right (top layer is white, all layers somewhat visible on left side)
......other misc. pieces of faux ivory (2 top row, one small square) are made from Sculpey III's translucent, which is pinker and less convincing)

Desiree's lesson on making faux ivory
... she also shows how to add inlays and impressed lines/shapes... and antiquing and buffing it (to make a pendant)
later ivory pendants of Desiree's. . . many with inlays, wire and brass escutcheon pins, and captured beads, etc.

Elizabeth's lessons on making faux ivory with Premo's translucent, white and ecru, and inlaying other fauxs into it for a pendant (requires Acrobat Reader)

Here is a simple lesson:
--Condition a quantity of translucent clay and press it into a flat sheet
--Use the same amount of ivory-colored clay,to make a second sheet the same size. Sculpey makes an ivory, or you can use a mix of half white and half champagne Fimo, or whatever mix you like for an ivory color.
--Lay one sheet on top of the other and cut in fourths.
--Stack the fourth-sheets.
You now have a block with alternating layers of ivory and translucent, a total of eight layers.
--Press and flatten the block with your hands, then cut it in fourths again and stack again; you now have 32 layers. Repeat this twice more.
......You end up with a block of finely layered clay.
....You probably won't be able to see the layers very well - the translucent will become clearer during firing and they'll become more obvious. Jeanne R.
(see Jean's examples below in Websites
.........and see this page if she gets around to a visual lesson: )

Emi's lesson (pictures are better here than in her second lesson below) on making ivory with a stack
....(her basic stack has 3 colors (making 4 layers) of very thin FimoSoft clay in this order: white, translucent, beige-Sahara, translucent (alternating the translucent with the white, then the beige)
...she then creates a large bead (impressed on both sides) by cutting a (long) slice from the ivory stack, wrapping it around most of a core of black clay log (short ends of ivory will butt), then placing the bead between two stamps and pressing down... after baking, she antiques the depresions
....the photo of her "alternative design" also shows an example of inlaid cane slices (face slices, etc.),1789,HGTV_3236_2251543,00.html

Emi's 2nd faux ivory lesson (on Carol Duvall) with 3 colors (making 3 layers) white Fimo, beige Fimo, translucent her lesson on making a box (on feet, with lid with slabs of the ivory)... slabs also stamped with thick stamp and onlys added
......baked, antiqued,1793,HGTV_3401_1370888,00.html

Donna Kato's lesson on making faux ivory (very even, visible striations)... pushing into a mold, baking, then antiquing

Victoria J's 3-D ivory leaves, on ivory background... back side stamped/textured...antiqued
....the oak-shape leaves appear to be a sheet of faux ivory pressed with a real leaf or in a mold, then draped over a pad of clay to create a bas relief onlay.. back side of pendant is impressed with texture sheet... after baking, all areas were antiqued (with burnt umber?) in the depressions (to see back side, click on the 2nd "Detail" button)

worthart's lesson on ivory and bone using Sculpey clays (translucent, ivory.... translucent, ivory...etc.).
........ (but she prefers the FimoClassic white and ecru mixed, plus a layer of Premo translucent )
....after making her ivory stack, she makes a horn by covering a core of clay with large slices of ivory (some slices were too thin... could see color of core underneath)
...she "distresses" after baking... also using Kiwi brown shoe polish (for finish?) after the brown paint

For her ivory, Sara Jane uses 1 part white... 1 part translucent ... small amount golden yellow ...small amount brown-caramel
the brown and yellow amounts can vary widely, as can real ivory
....sometimes I go very heavy on the yellow for an aged ivory or bone look, or to simulate old Bakelite which was the precurser to our polymer was a phenol based acrylic, flammable, and ages to a golden tone, and is highly prized by collectors now
. . .translucent is a must for the illusion of bone (and other natural materials), and gives a depth and shine, especially when buffed. Sara Jane

Klew’s long striated- ivory beads with cane-slice onlays

Luann’s faux ivory horses use layers which aren't straight... have been curved or enlarged on parts of horse bodies
Linda's head has pieces which were cut at an angle across the grain of faux ivory (shaped pieces for "sculpted" head)

(see many types & degrees of striation in this swap: )

Most people use a pasta machine to create the layers (and a brayer to thin the stacks), but Jeanne R. feels that "using your hands will make the thickness a little irregular, which is desirable"...

Stamping, Molding, Onlay + Creating Lines, Texture or Images

Another method for simulating carving on the faux ivory (& scrimshaw) is to use a rubberstamp with raw clay. The stamp can be:
----pressed to a pigment ink pad (any color or gold/metallics), then pressed into the raw clay and baked (brown ink can look very realistic on ivory!!);
----or the bare stamp can be pressed into raw clay, baked, then antiqued (its depressions rubbed full of dark paint) or backfilled with soft clay of another color, then wet-sanded to remove excess from surface.
...Tonja's various stamped and antiqued faux ivory ... (+ cylindrical beads with gouged areas?) (thick striations) .....
...Grace Yen's stamped and antiqued kimono image on faux ivory pendant
Karen O's ivory stamped with texture sheet? (also antiqued) ...with lg. turquoise cabochon inset
...image on Altoid box made with thick-lined rubberstamp?, then antiqued with brown paint (gone?)

texturing, molding, stamping, and/or onlaying
cyn clay's small flat beads with stamped or molded patterns, or onlays... antiqued
Barbara Lang's various stamped, molded, and antiqued non-layered faux ivory

"carving" or faux carving may be accomplished before or after baking with a needle tool, pin, linoleum cutters, or anything else that works.
Violette's carved faux ivory bowls (after baking, with linoleum cutters)
Jane Zhao's scrimshaw scene "painting" on flat clay (thin lines, before baking, with pin)
Varda's carved-"drawn" with needletool, etc.(thicker lines, before baking) ...also stamped

Claude's carved "faux ivory" head in profile (or sculpted/carved before baking?)

.....(see much more on carving and scrimshaw in Carving)

"sculpting" & shaping can be done before or after baking ...these examples may be done that way or not (hard to tell)
...Donna's sculpted rabbit & skull, etc., like ojime beads... thickly striated layers ... also impressed and antiqued
(pictures too pink)
...Linda's head made from shaped pieces of striated ivory
... no antiquing

small ivory sculpts (unstriated, antiqued)
various unstriated (sculpted, molded, texured) faux ivory, used on small Bottles of Hope
Carolyn S's many small (probably) molded items (sculpted first?)...intended to for altered books, collage, etc.....heads, sealife, etc., many faux ivory (click on "Embellishments")
Kim Cavender's could-be-faux-ivory cuff, with many areas of sculpting & texturing

etching... etched clay created with the "ripped transfer" technique
.... if a photocopy is quickly ripped from raw clay, it will remove a tiny bit of (faux ivory) clay wherever it's black lines were, leaving a slightly incised or etched version of the photocopy image in the clay
... when the piece is antiqued, paint remains in the incised line... or the lines can be backfilled with softened clay
(for much more, see Transfers > Etched)

molding faux ivory creates heavier lines and shapes (upraised and depressed)
.......could use shallow molds ... or even deeper ones (tho striations may then become irregular)
.....texture sheets can also be used, which will create a molded or stamped look result can also be antiqued
Julie B's molded, antiqued faux ivory (click > arrow till see all photos... click to enlarge each)
Marty's molded faux ivory face on pendant (widely striated) (bottom of page) (gone)

Antiquing and Finishing

The crevices of dimensional faux ivory (stamped, molded, carved or etched) is usually "antiqued" to bring out its shapes-lines, and also to simulate dirt and aging effects acquired on the piece over time
........antiquing will also accentuate some of the tiny cracks created by the original layering (if using the layered method)
....can antique only off-white and/or translucent bits added as onlays too to simulate carved bits, etc.

dark brown acrylic paint (tube acrylic paints best because thicker) is usually used, but could use any color
........(Burnt Umber is popular... Marilyn uses a warm brown by Delta Ceramcoat called Autumn Brown)
....the paint is rubbed or toothbrushed into all the crevices of the baked clay, allowed to set a bit, then rubbed or rinsed offof just the higher parts of the dimensional item --use a dry (or damp?) flat cloth for removing
... the amount of paint allowed to stay in the crevices will depend on the length of waiting time, and degree of wiping the clay
…a bit of bar soap can be used if needed to remove any film left on the upper parts.
....let dry thoroughly before continuing; can use oven to expedite. (some people do just one section of the clay at a time.)
Desiree's lesson on making ivory includes a section on antiquing

...Desiree says that baking the antiquing paint on for about 10 min. will help adhere it
..Actually I think the more translucent stains created by oil paints, etc. are better for lighter colors like faux ivory (than acrylic paints). Sarajane H.

stamped, molded, and antiqued non-layered faux ivory pieces, by Barbara Lang

After antiquing, the piece will usually be given a sheen by wet-sanding (after paint is completely dry) with 400 and 600 grit sandpaper at least (or 0000 steel wool)... then buffing with a rotating muslin wheel (or even blue jeans).

(see more on antiquing and staining below in "Other Ways to Stain-Finish")
(see more info on "antiquing" in
Molds > Antiquing)

other ways to stain-finish

Barbara McGuire's lesson on stamping/ antiquing with gold iridescent acrylic paint over white clay (like "ivory"),1158,CRHO_project_9826,00.html

Jenny's lesson on stamping and antiquing (with different colors)

I always stain my finished pieces with a mixture of Varathane and Pearl-Ex powders (antique bronze or sunset gold are very nice) with a drop or two of black acrylic paint added. (dirt colors, to put it bluntly)
...then wipe off most with an old white tshirt (after a while, the dried stain on the tshirt turns it into a good buffing cloth--almost like emory cloth!)
This is a good alternative to the "grained" look you get with the stacked layers, which is very effective as well...but I like both! Sarajane Helm

If the clay is light in color, I have used high concentrations of tea (5 tea bags to 1 cup boiling water...let steep 10 minutes so tannin comes out) to stain my ivory
...then I just lay a paper towel gently over the clay and it absorbs the tea... no rubbing.

I have used Kiwi (wax?) shoe polish to "age" faux ivory and faux wood clay. It works great, and in conjunction with acrylic paints, provides some real nice depth..... the polish really buffs up nice (and I have had no problem with the color coming off). Tracy

Inlays ... chips, wire, etc.

Before baking the faux ivory clay, some people add pre-baked, colored polymer clay tiles/chips of different shapes which are pressed into the unbaked "ivory".
(see Mosaics & Inlay for more on making those kinds of chips and bits)
....Other inalys can be used as well, such as cane slices or small (real) stone chips (which can be bought in places where beads are sold ,even at Michaels? --many of those seem to be brown or turquoise colored)

Helen Ps' chip inlays
Desiree's lesson on impressing inlays into faux ivory
Suzanne's faux? turquoise (& faux wood) embedded in faux ivory lid (black framing for each?)

Tory Hughes’ carved ivory inlays of orange and blue triangle shapes (Vol.9)
Varda's square faux malachite inlays (piece also stamped, and raw-carved/impressed)
Dayle's inlaid cut-up cane slices?, inlaid on faux ivory minibook pendant... & other inlays
Emi's example of inlaid cane slices and face, etc....(+ lesson on faux ivory),1789,HGTV_3236_2251543,00.html

Helen P's inlaid chips of faux turquoise, coral, etc., pressed into faux ivory pieces
Julie B's turquoise chips embedded in molded ivory (click > arrow till see all photos... click to enlarge each)

Other things can be embedded into faux ivory too wire, brass escutcheon pins, beads and captured beads, etc.
Karen O's large turquoise cabachon set into ivory... she also embeds some metal beads

(....see more in Websites below?)

Miscellaneous... other effects

I was playing with Bunny's fake ivory recipe, and ended up using layers of FIMO Art Translucent, Premo translucent, FIMO White, Sculpey Ivory and FIMOSoft Beige
..Different thicknesses, stacked, cut, restacked, then marbled pretty well. It looks like a block of a solid eggshell color.
....However, if you bake it for 8-12 hours, it does wierd stuff (mostly the Sculpey??).
.......16 hours gave me "ebony," believe it or not.
.......but less time gave me really interesting color combinations --- all in the same piece! ... amber, a purplish color and very dark brown
(all from that off-white mixture, baked at the right temp, but for too many hours. Strange.)
... I'm going to carve and backfill a few of thes... it would be neat to combine with petroglyphs. Elizabeth

This is a faux something or other :)....the recipe for these was translucent premo, green/blue pearlex and some gold leaf stuff. Sera
...I think first of old ivory or perhaps a jade? Catherien the onyx on an antique clock that we have. ol' rebbie

For other canes and sheets of pattern made with a technique similar to this (i.e., cutting thin strips, rotating them 90 degrees, then recombining, see :
Canes--Gen. Info for making sheets from cane slices
Canes--Instructions for making Reduced Damascus Ladder and Ikat

Bone, Horn, Teeth, etc.

some kinds of bone (as well as the root area of ivory --where it was cut off) can also be simulated by using the end (or cross-section) of any of the final canes or stacks above for making faux ivory (rather than using their outer sides)...see above in Logs & Canes and in Layered

worthart's lesson on bone and/or ivory
...she uses stack of Sculpey III translucent and Ivory Brilliant layers (but
prefers the FimoClassic white and ecru mixed, plus a layer of Premo translucent )
....after making her basic stack, she makes a horn by covering a core of clay with large slices of ivory (some slices were too thin... could see color of core underneath)
......she "distresses" the surface after baking... also uses Kiwi brown shoe polish (for finish?) after the brown paint

Donna Worth's lesson on skulls and full skeletons
Desiree's lesson on making faux ivory, with inlays and impressed lines/shapes, then antiquing and buffing it (to make a pendant)
Desiree's lesson on making faux ivory horn, with inlays and impressed lines/shapes, then antiquing and buffing it
later ivory pendants of Desiree's. . . many with inlays, wire and brass escutcheon pins, and captured beads, etc.

Johnny's faux horn, etc., many with tiny eschutcheon-type nails, stamping/carving, etc.
Wendy M's cuff of forked faux antler, with heavy texturing and antiquing, at polymerclaydaily
Shelley Attwood's faux dark, bone/ivory/wood rock pendant with carving

Luann’s darker antler tip, with impressions

Tonja's faux bone-ivory mahjong tile bracelet (other side different)
Kellie's faux "bamboo"--ivory (website gone)
faux bone (for skulls & skeletons) (gone?)
Denise in Austin's faux bone mask, with lots of texturing/pitting and antiquing with black (near bottom)

....(see also Tory Hughes' video on creating faux bone and ivory in Websites below)

Jody's demon's yucky teeth ..could be bone too
....(for more on teeth of all kinds, see Sculpting-Body > Teeth .... and maybe Halloween for more nasty teeth)

(for more examples and lessons on making bone on this page, do a Ctrl + f search for the word bone )

(for faux scrimshaw, and other things that can look like bone or ivory, see also Carving)

(for skulls, skeletons, see also Halloween > Skulls & Skeletons and Dia de los Meurtos)

More WEBSITES for all ivories & bone

Tory Hughes’ ivory, carved and some inlaid, (see Vol. 9).. and video on creating ivory and bone
various looks of faux ivory (created by diff. people)... stamped or carved into

Cindy's woven vessel (strips of faux ivory woven around temp.armature... later antiqued)... also top

Jeanne’s faux ivory & turquoise (some chips, some impressed, etc.) (click on each for many more)
Luann’s carved faux ivory fish and horses ... and also antler tip
Paulo's faux ivory heishi spacer beads and long beads
Jenny Dowde's faux ivory and bone (plus other fauxs)

Celie Fago's polymer handles for tools
Dayle’s various faux ivory pieces
(and backgrounds??) (also 20x) (also 45)
Irene D. uses many fauxs as tiles --stamped/carved/distressed ivory tiles (& box lids?) (look under Older Work)

Christine Brasher's ivory? ---not antiqued
(White On White)
Karen O's tube beads with stamping or transfers over faux ivory

Klew’s long ivory beads with cane-slice onlays (striated)

Xtine's faux ivory frame for pendant... with leafy-flowery onlays, around cane slice of zebra

Debbie Jackson's faux ivory ethnic faces... features created with ivory onlays ...and antiqued

Gera's faux ivory boxes, stamped/carved then antiqued
Linda T's faux ivory with carving, impressions, paint and inlays (plaquing shows up) (website gone)

(very wide "stripes") (website gone)

Kat's round faux ivory boxes, distressed but not striated? or maybe stiff "cracked" clay?, with onlaid molded medallion or transferred dragon, antiqued
NOW AT? ....

Kat's faux ivory with turquoise and coral inlays
NOW AT? ....

Zkripke’s faux ivory with transfers necklace

Jenny's "old" ivory (website gone)

Barbara's sort-of faux ivory? (website gone)

Greg's ivory box, with inlaid shapes, carving, stamping/coloring (website gone)
Barbara's Nigerian masks (ivory, carved, and embellished) (website gone)
Ed's faux ivory and bone miscellany; postage stamp with ivories (gone)

Barbara's ivory box?

(see also Carving, Translucents, Stamping, Paints, Mosaics-Inlay...)