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Topic: What food-safe material can I use?  (Read 903 times)
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Boffcat
« on: December 02, 2006 03:04:16 AM »

I wonder if you can help me out with something: for Christmas I'm planning to make my dad swizzle sticks, their tops adorned with polymer clay replicas of historic football shirts (I know, but each to their own...). The thing is, the glass stems of the swizzle sticks need something a bit weightier at the bottom, too, to balance out the models on top. I'd originally planned to mould polymer clay footballs around the bottom ends of the sticks, but having read through some old threads here it seems that they wouldn't be food-safe. So, any ideas what I can use instead? Suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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Diane B.
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2006 08:37:59 AM »

Quote
with polymer clay replicas of historic football shirts (I know, but each to their own...).


Oh, I think that is a GREAT idea!!

Quote
The thing is, the glass stems of the swizzle sticks need something a bit weightier at the bottom, too, to balance out the models on top.


The only thing I can think of offhand is food-safe silicone molding material.  It wouldn't be as heavy as the clay, I think, but I do know that most (and maybe all) brands of that type of molding material are food safe. 
You wouldn't be able to get just any color you wanted though since it comes only in a few colors (pinkish, bluish, purplish-reddish, yellow, etc), but maybe that wouldn't be as important at the bottom of the stick (or maybe there is a way to color it that I just don't know).

While this is a material primarily for making molds (the putty comes in two parts that are mixed together), I don't see any reason you couldn't shape it or even mold it before it sets instead (and use it not as a mold as well).

There's info about using two-part silicone molding materials on this page at my site:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/molds.htm
(click on Silicone, under "Making Molds Yourself")
The one that mentions it's definitely food safe is Alley Goop (scroll down the the "Brands" subcategory):
". . . Alley Goop is also FDA approved for food ...in fact, confectionaries use it to make chocolate items for cakes (they pour liquid chocolate into the mold, put it in the freezer and then pop it out for cake decorations). . ."
http://www.clayalley.com/goop.htm
...though other silicone molding materials may be food safe as well. (Alley Goop tends to be a little thinner than some of the others before it sets, but is workable for 10 minutes or so and I guess it thickens during that time too... that would be important only if you wanted to sculpt it yourself, rather than putting it in a mold, etc).

Actually, I just thought of epoxy or polyester resins too.  I'm assuming those are food safe, but you'd need to find out for sure, and you could color and/or mold those as well. 
(I'm not sure about the side of the item made from polyester resin -- like Castin' Craft-- which has cured next to the air though, not next to the mold... that side sometimes has a slightly tacky surface, which can be removed, but don't know if that means it would be less food safe.  Epoxy resins don't have that problem on the air-drying side, but they can be poured only 1/8" at a time (though can be poured in layers).

Actually, I just thought of something better?  Use a baked polymer item, but coat it with resin --maybe a plain acrylic polyurethane finish would work fine too and be food safe.  Don't know if the alcohol present in the drinks would be a problem for either though.

There are probably other things that could be used, but not coming up with any at the moment. ...well-l-l hmmm, unless you could ask someone you know who does lampworked beads (or just pay someone who does) to put some kind of glass blob on the end of your sticks. 
You might also be able to glue on (or fuse with a bit of hot glass) a large glass bead (with a hole) or a glass marble or something instead?


Diane B.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2006 08:46:11 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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Kirrashi
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2006 07:02:37 PM »

if they're the swizzles with a glass ball at one end you could simply have that be the 'down' side to balance. Or you could use the new super-light clay that sculpey has. (I've never used it though so I don't know how well it sticks to surfaces.)
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msalowishus
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2006 07:28:13 PM »

i know i'm no help but could you please post these after you make them? i am intrigued!
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Boffcat
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2006 11:46:01 AM »

Heh, no problem! It might be a while though - my boyfriend's mother brought the glass rods up for me at the weekend, but fool that I am I left them in her car. D'oh!

Anyway, thanks for all the suggestions Smiley . When I eventually get those darned glass rods back, I'll let you all know how it goes...
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