Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Slip trailers

bulb syringe
This is the first slip trailer I ever used. The familiar bulb syringe, also known as an ear syringe, but known to parents throughout America as a required part of the arsenal of tools to save your baby's life should he or she accidentally aspirate whatever s/he may be in danger of aspirating while asleep. Don't ask me; I just bought one because it seemed like a good idea at the time. It does not, by the way, make for a very good slip trailer.
commercially available slip trailer from a ceramic supply catalog
This has been my trusty slip trailing companion for many years. I also tried wash bottles from a chemical supply house here in Portland, they have wonderful tiny little tips, but I ultimately lost track of the source. They were pretty good though.
slip trailer, lady clairol version
This became the slip trailer d'jour for many years as I seemed to have an unlimited supply (hello blonde!).
electric, air-powered slip trailer
Hand fatigue led  me to try this high tec slip trailer. I pretty much hated this one after an brief love affair with not having to squeeze the slip out all the time. It is easier on the hand, but it makes a noise and clogs quite a bit.
Meet Hector, whom I love with a mad passion. I came across a video of this while trying to find a tutorial on making a ball mill using a potter's wheel. It is a demonstration of slip trailing by Charan Sachar where he demonstrates how to make this very nifty tool. 
parchment paper version
I though I would be extra clever and make mine out of parchment because I found the mylar difficult to work with when forming the cones. These don't work, the paper is too porous and the slip dries out too much. They would be great for drying slip though, very effective.
mylar slip decorating cones
I was having a bit of trouble with the tips fraying in use. Mr. Cranky thought they might work better if the tips were dipped in wood glue. Here is a batch, post glue dipping, drying on a hanger.
single use only
It is not practical to reuse these, which feels wasteful but which I secretly like. Nothing like a fresh clean new slip trailer ready to go.
I can't describe how much I love these. They fit right in the palm of my hand and warm up to body temperature, feeling like an extension of my fingers. It's like having a little animate being resting in my hand, alive. I dream about it.

ama~ women of the sea.


  1. I remember seeing the tutorial on making the mylar ones. Have you ever seen or tried the Mary Wondruach trailers made from bicycle tire inter tubes? They are pretty cool, I've made them and used them with fairly good success (but I'm not a good trailer to begin with)

  2. I have seen those bicycle tire ones. I wanted to mention them in this post, but I couldn't remember where I had seen them. Was it you? Or maybe Hannah McAndrew?
    I'm sure Hector will ultimately disappoint me and then I will want to make the bicycle tire ones.

  3. I think I'm going to try Hector next time I need a slip trailer, thanks

  4. Yes, Hannah uses them, and she sent me one so I could see how they are made. Here's an old post that shows them.

  5. where did you find the mylar? i'm so glad you posted this, can't wait to try it.

  6. I have been using the commercial "needle" slip trailers which I like except that they clog up. I cover and/or keep a pin inside the needle, but sometimes this doesn't help. Does anyone know of a way to dissolve the dried slip out of the needle.

  7. Laurie,
    I have the same problem (slip drying out in the tips). I just keep spares in a little dish of water and swap them out as needed.
    As to where to find mylar, some types of gift wrap are made of it. Look for the metallic ones.


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